GALVESTON — County commissioners preliminarily agreed to spend $260,000 to help the city pave Seawall Boulevard.
In a unanimous vote Thursday, the commissioners approved a lump-sum payment to the city that would be used to help repave the section of Seawall Boulevard between 39th Street and Ferry Road.
The approval came with conditions, however, which the Galveston City Council will have to agree to before work can begin. Among those conditions could be a stipulation that the city take responsibility of all future maintenance of the roadway.
In a draft interlocal agreement passed out to commissioners, the two sides would clarify whose job it is to pay for maintenance of the roadway.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Ryan Dennard said he would not vote for an agreement if the city did not take responsibility for the job.
“I would support spending the money pursuant to an interlocal agreement that made clear that it was going to be a city responsibility going forward,” Dennard said. “I wouldn’t support spending without that interlocal agreement being signed.”
The city and county have negotiated for months over maintenance of the road. City officials say that the road is the county’s responsibility, because the pavement acts as a protective barrier to the seawall structure.
County officials countered, saying the seawall structure is sound for now, and refusing to agree to a new cap until it is told to do so by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In January, the council decided to use a $1.7 million federal grant and other sources to pay for the project, as well as to ask the county to contribute $260,000 toward overall improvements on the seawall.
The stipulation that the city agree to doing all future maintenance is a new wrinkle in situation.
Interim City Manager Brian Maxwell, who attended the meeting, said the city would have to review the proposed interlocal agreement before anything was decided.
Mayor Lewis Rosen, who has called repaving the street a top priority for the city, said he was pleased to hear the commissioners agreed to contribute money, but had no comment about any added stipulations to that money.
After the meeting, Dennard said Tuesday’s vote was only the beginning of a process that will require more approvals before being finalized. Among the things to be decided is where, exactly, the county would take the money from to give to the city.
“I think commissioners were wanting to take the temperature of the court before everybody invested time into identifying where we’re going to transfer the money from,” Dennard said.