Hello Baytown, I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and Happiest of Holidays celebrated with family and friends. As 2019 comes to an end, I wanted to take an opportunity to highlight a few topics from this past year and provide you an outlook for 2020.
We recently completed San Jacinto Boulevard and Hunt Road to help relieve the congestion on Garth Rd. These two new roadways will also bring new commercial and residential development to the area and provide choices on where to travel in the area. This level of beautification and upgraded infrastructure will set the standard for corridors in our City moving forward. The mall demolition is almost complete, making way for new, modern construction.
The rain events we experienced throughout the year, including Tropical Storm Imelda provided us the opportunity to focus on some very specific areas, discover causes of flooding, and develop action plans to mitigate or possibly resolve future risks. Councilmembers in each impacted district are working closely with City staff to address these areas; and the storm water system will continue to be improved for future rain events. We plan on updating our comprehensive plan in 2020 which includes drainage, streets, sidewalks, sewer infrastructure, and mobility issues.
The City of Baytown and Enterprise Products signed an economic development agreement that will allow the City to construct a new public safety building that will be occupied by Baytown Police Department and Baytown Fire Administration. The current facilities have grown beyond their capacity and functionality required for today’s firefighting and law enforcement operations. The construction of this public building will not affect the tax rate or require bonds to be sold and we believe this public-private partnership agreement is a true win-win for the taxpayers of Baytown. We hope to break ground on this much needed facility in late 2020.
Baytown City Council adopted a 2019-2020 budget that meets the service needs of our citizens, provides funding for citizen based strategic initiatives, and improves our ability to encourage economic development. This budget included a 0.01 tax rate reduction, that although is incrementally small, keeps some of your hard earned tax dollars in your pocketbook. This marks the second year in a row that the City of Baytown tax rate has been reduced. As next year’s budget is developed, City Council will explore options that will meet the needs of our citizens, address long-term needed initiatives and remain fiscally responsible.
In August, the city manager and I traveled to Washington, D.C. to discuss the most important issues concerning Baytown with our federal elected officials. The first topic on our list was the widening of the San Jacinto River Bridge. Within days of our visit, the bridge was once again damaged by a barge, and this portion of Interstate 10 was reduced to two lanes each direction. This is a huge traffic pinch point and negatively impacts the entire Baytown Region. Although the repairs will be completed soon, I will work with all area officials to develop the needed outcome of a newly constructed San Jacinto River bridge that will have more capacity and be designed to avoid future waterway incidents.
It is certainly my honor and privilege to serve as your mayor, and I continue to search for ways to engage our citizens and make the connection between each citizen and local government. Each of your respective council members work very hard in representing your concerns and expressing those issues to city administration. We’re all in this together and must work hand-in-hand, making a better Baytown. Let’s focus on the positive and how we tackle the challenges of our city.
I believe in recognizing special occasions of our citizens, if you or a loved one are celebrating a 100-year birthday or 50-year wedding anniversary, please contact me at email@example.com so that I can recognize this special milestone. Also, if you know of a citizen doing extraordinary activities to improve our community please contact me as well.
We have made great progress in 2019, but I look forward to an even more exciting and prosperous 2020 for the citizens of the Baytown region. I wish you a very happy and safe New Year; the best is yet to come!
Brandon Capetillo is the mayor of Baytown.