Voters across Galveston County on Tuesday approved $80 million in bonds to fund road, drainage and facility improvements.
In three separate bond propositions, voters overwhelmingly approved $56 million for road projects and $6 million for flood control, according to complete but unofficial election results.
A proposition for an $18 million bond for county facilities, including renovations to the medical examiner’s office and a community center in Bacliff, more narrowly won approval from voters, according to election results.
County Judge Mark Henry and county commissioners reached by phone Tuesday night said the election was a step forward for the county, allowing the court to move forward on long-sought projects.
Getting the projects underway will be of great benefit as more and more people move to Galveston County, and with a bond, future residents will help pay for those projects, Henry said.
Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas in late August and flooded thousands of homes, highlighted some of the need for flood control projects, commissioners said.
“I think it’s a big victory for all of Galveston County and clearly in the wake of Hurricane Harvey flood control is a necessary project we’ve got to move forward on and I think people saw that,” Commissioner Darrell Apffel said.
Apffel was particularly happy to have a path for movement on projects in unincorporated parts of the county, including renovations to a community center building in Bacliff, he said.
Commissioner Stephen Holmes also highlighted the need for flood control, roads and associated drainage. For the most part, cities had selected road projects and the bond money will go a long way in fulfilling their needs, Holmes said.
“Now it’s incumbent on us to get the proper studies done and allocate the money properly,” Holmes said.
Turnout was low in the odd-numbered year election. In all, 10,750 Galveston County residents cast ballots during early voting and on election day, according to complete but unofficial returns.
“Thanks to the citizens who did vote,” Commissioner Joe Giusti said. “But for something so important, I would have liked to see a bigger turnout.”
The bond election was a step in the right direction, but now the onus is on the commissioners court to ensure the projects are completed properly and with good oversight, Giusti said.
“I’m glad the voters did approve the bonds, now it’s up to us to make sure we do the right thing with the bond money and get these projects done at reasonable costs,” Giusti said.
It was the first bond election since the Republicans took over leadership of the county in 2010.
“It’s a feeling of satisfaction knowing the voters made the right call on moving Galveston County forward,” Commissioner Ken Clark said. “There’s a lot of opportunity here and we’ll now have the ability to do these projects that have long been needed and will make a difference for the people of Galveston County.”
CITIES GET $40 MILLION
FOR ROAD PROJECTS
Cities across the county stand to receive $40 million total for local road projects, which city leaders identified in requests to the county.
According to the county, League City will receive about $10.48 million from the bond for improvements to Dickinson Avenue and state Highway 96, among others. Galveston stands to receive about $7.16 million for 23rd Street and Avenue S improvements. Texas City will receive about $6.29 million for improvements on Texas Avenue and Century Boulevard.
The $56 million road bond also includes $5 million for Pelican Island Bridge and various road projects in La Marque, Hitchcock, Santa Fe and bay communities, according to the county.
NEW AND RENOVATED
The $18 million bond for facilities improvements will go toward renovations to the medical examiner’s office, an updated Justice of the Peace and community center building in Bacliff and renovations at the League City annex building, according to the county.
The county also budgeted about $5.7 million for the road and bridge facility in Dickinson.
Voters approved $6 million for flood control projects, including $3 million for the Dickinson Bayou watershed and $3 million for the Highland Bayou watershed, according to the county.
The $3 million would likely be used to buy land and pay for the drainage district’s building of a detention pond in the upper part of Dickinson Bayou watershed, Clark said. Though Clark said the county may be able to leverage some of the $3 million with federal aid to build more than one detention pond.
With voters’ approval, the county will begin developing a timeline and plan for purchasing property and moving forward with building a detention pond, Clark said.
In the Highland Bayou watershed, voters approved spending $1.5 million on slope stability along the Highland Bayou Diversionary Canal and $1.5 million to bury pipelines deeper on Jay Road in Hitchcock.