Freeport City Hall

FREEPORT — It was smooth sailing for most of the night for the short-handed Freeport City Council.

In addition to the omission of Ward D’s representative until the February special election, Mayor Brooks Bass missed Monday’s meeting with one of the other members indicating he was recovering from a case of COVID.

That left just enough for a quorum with Mayor Pro tem Jerry Cain stepping up to lead the meeting. A short agenda by the city’s standards was highlighted by an amendment to Freeport’s agreement with Brazoria County to receive funds from the federal government under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.

That grant project is the rehabilitation and replacement of the Avenue G and H sewer lines, for which the city has received funding through Community Development Block Grants. The project is rapidly approaching its completion.

City Manager Tim Kelty explained the city’s deadline to use the grant’s is rapidly approaching, and the grant coordinator requested the city amend the agreement to push it for another 60 days though Feb. 28.

“The original timeline was for Dec. 31. It’s being moved to Feb. 28,” Finance Director Cathy Ezell said. “I talked to Freese and Nichols today. They did the final walkthrough last Friday and gave them a punch list, so it will be completed Feb. 28.”

The grant fund was matched by the city and Ezell estimated between $10,000 and $20,000 is left after the project was finished because the scope of the project could not be changed. The city also paid for the engineering on the project by Freese and Nichols.

When asked by resident Manning Rollerson whether the grant went toward residential areas, Kelty indicated the line improvements were “100 percent” servicing homes.

The extension and all other votes were approved unanimously by the three members present.

In other business, the council discussed multiple subjects in a lengthy closed session, including the proposed land swap with Brazoria ISD, possible litigation involving Motel 6 and an economic development project. No action was taken on these items with Councilman Jeff Peña leaving before regular session was restored, automatically adjourning the meeting due to a then-lack of quorum.

During the open session, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided an update to the county on the Coastal Spine project that has been brewing for years and is still in the planning stages, with ground not expected to be broken until 2025. It was the latest in a tour the Corps is giving on the matter to affected Brazoria County communities. The public is invited to attend a presentation on the matter at the Lake Jackson Civic Center on Feb. 2.

As part of the consent agenda, it was decided to change the date for the Feb. 20 meeting to Feb. 21 due to the observation of Presidents Day.

Kent Holle is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0154.

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