By Mary Alys Cherry
A successful year and a year to remember – that was the story for League City this past year, Mayor Pat Hallisey told the sellout crowd attending the State of the City Luncheon Jan. 31 at the Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center.
Among the successes for the fast-growing municipality was passage of the $145 million bond referendum that will improve both drainage and mobility across the city, and an agreement with the City of Houston, through the Gulf Coast Water Authority, that will secure a reliable and safe water supply for the future buildout of League City, as well as replace an aging water line that supplies 70 percent of League City’s water supply. “It’s fantastic,” he said, taking time to thank the League City Chamber and its businesses for their support of the bond.
“Money generated from the sales tax will go specifically towards drainage and traffic projects,” he explained. Already engineering design work is underway on 13 or the 21 projects in the 2019 bond, he said, going on to praise City Manager John Baumgartner for his efforts to unite cities for the Regional Drainage Study of Clear Creek and Dickinson Bayou.
Passage of the bond referendum, which called for $73 million for drainage and $72 million for mobility, was the first general obligation bond voters had OK’d in 27 years, and brought a huge sigh of relief to the mayor, as well as many residents who likely had given up on ever getting a bond passed after so many tries and failures. And it comes as the city’s population zooms past the 110,000 mark – an increase of about 80,000 since the last general obligation bond was passed.
The city manager, who also addressed the crowd, pointed out some of the city’s priorities for 2020 including various traffic and mobility projects, additions and improvements to the city’s parks and trails, and continued efforts to bring more commercial development to League City. Both talked of commercial development and their efforts to diversifying the city’s tax base and creating jobs with a sustainable income. One attention getter was the mayor’s announcement that Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is coming to the city.
“The Austin-based company has picked League City as the next spot to open its state-of-the-art movie theatre that also features award-winning cuisine, cocktails and craft beer delivered right to your seat,” he said, bringing smiles to faces around the room. The family-friendly entertainment facility will be located in the Victory Lakes Center on the northeast corner of I-45 and FM 646.
Copies of the city’s 2018 annual report were available for each luncheon guest. “This is the first printed annual report we have ever created,” Hallisey told the audience that also included City Councilors Chad Tressler, Larry Millican, Greg Gripon and Hank Dugie. “We did it so our residents and businesses can see how hard the city is working for them. League City has some of the most dedicated and committed employees you will ever meet,” he said, noting several at the luncheon – Public Works Director Jody Hooks, Budget Director Angie Steelman, Public Works Utility Manager Tommy Arredondo, Director of Engineering Chris Sims, Communications Director Sarah Greer Osborne, Economic Development Director Scott Livingston and City Manager Baumgartner.