City Marshals

City of Galveston Chief Deputy Marshal James Pope walks back to his patrol vehicle after removing illegal signage in Galveston on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. Galveston is considering quadrupling the number of marshals to allow for stricter enforcement of short-term rental regulations.

Galveston City council is considering adding a weekend-only cadre of code enforcement officers focused on policing complaints commonly associated with vacation rentals. But the cost of new city marshals, which would quadruple the force, could carry a hefty price tag of up to $2.3 million.

The Question of the Week is: Are problems associated with short-term rentals severe enough to warrant Galveston spending $2.3 million to hire more city marshals to crack down on violations?

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(9) comments

John Merritt

We live in the middle of Galveston, near 45th street. We deal with noise, code violations, and trash from the local tourists and nearby stores. The City Marshalls are very responsive and help us all the time. I don't think it makes any sense for the Marshalls to drive up and down the Seawall writing parking tickets. That responsibility should be returned to GPD, who should use Parking only employees to police the parking on the Seawall. They do not need to be licensed police officers.

Brian Maxwell

John, the Marshal’s enforcing parking are civilians and a different division than those handling code. Just as you suggested of PD.

Curtiss Brown

Absolutely. Short-term rentals are an economic positive to individual homeowners who wish to sell their homes and an economic disaster for their neighborhoods. Galveston's housing stock is very difficult to sell to young families looking for kitchens with islands and closet space and central air conditioning. The houses were not originally built for the enmities that families are looking for. But, they are perfect for short-term rentals. The customers are living out of a suitcase anyway and they intend to go out to eat. The value of your home is now not what an individual family buyer would pay but instead the amount multiple speculative bidders from out of town will pay. The increase in sales prices for homes will translate into higher appraised values for the remaining neighborhood homes. This is the free market in action. And while everyone loves the free market neighborhoods need to be protected and HOT taxes properly collected.

Charlotte O'rourke

Spend as much as it takes to curb neighborhood problems from STRs, but make it HOT tax money .... not using general funds.

Bill Sterchi

Hire more Police Officers and Radar Guns. They would make several fortunes sitting by ORiley's and nabbing those idiots coming onto the island at mach 7 instead of 35 - it changes from 50 to 35 in front of the Church just down from Taco Bell. By the way, they could also make several fortunes on those who fail to understand that a YIELD sign is not a MERGE sign where 61st comes into Broadway. The traffic being heavy going south on 61st, some like to avoid it by going south on 57th. Of course, another winning opportunity to write some more tickets because it's a city street, not a race track. Suppose someone would have to die before action will be forthcoming.

I have to hand it to the City Street Department, after I wrote them an email about the deplorable condition of 56th heading north to N 1/2 (it Tees there) they sent out a truck the next day with asphalt. Of course, that's gone now and it's as bad as it ever was now.

David Schuler

We live in a town where code enforcement and traffic enforcement is a joke. Case in point is the new golf cart ordinance. Just like the useless bicycle light ordinance a few years ago, no one will ever be cited. But the council gets to 'high-five' each other and feel like they've done something. Times Square was a disaster in the 1980s until they started focusing on petty crime and found that fixing the little things changed the attitude of the people and the big things fixed themselves. Start enforcing the traffic laws on Broadway. Clean up the neighborhoods, Make it known that Galveston will not tolerate lawbreaking. I know some of you will say, "Oh, no one will come back!". I don't know how long I heard that about Parking on the Seawall and oh gosh, look, it's at a record level. In so many ways, Galveston has an inferiority complex a kilometer wide. Lets please get past that and start acting proud of our city and becoming less tolerant of those who do not.

Elizabeth Kelly

Exactly.

Brian Maxwell

This is a misleading poll. You make it sound like the general tax payers would fund the marshal’s.

The exercise done for council had any new positions funded solely through fees assessed to STR’s and those would be established by working with the owners and their associations.

Charlotte O'rourke

I’ve always been supportive of tourism, short term rentals, and property rights. The problem is you can have too much of anything. In the east end historic district, we are saturated with STRs and it is continuing to grow and will grow faster because of decisions made focusing solely on tourism.

STRs come with the trifecta- party noise, trash, and parking. And if surrounded by STRs it occurs EVERY single day. The city must address this issue SOON and that costs money. Paying for enforcement needs to be fines, fees, and HOT tax funds. If the issue is not addressed residents will continue to be forced out of historic neighborhoods and out of Galveston.

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