On the front page of the Pilot dated Dec. 8, I read where the Fulton Town Council voted to approve the planned development for the intersection of Mesquite Street and Fulton Beach Road. A “standing room only” crowd of concerned Fulton residents attended the meeting, with seven individuals speaking against the approval of the planned development. Alderwoman Mary Ann Pahmiyer cast the only dissenting vote (so the motion passed with two aldermen voting for it.)
Then I see, also on the front page of your paper, that vandals destroyed the manger scene of Mary Ann Pahmiyer and her husband.
Coincidence??? I don’t think so.
We live in a wonderful community and Hurricane Harvey proved it. The City of Rockport, Town of Fulton, County of Aransas and Aransas County ISD all rolled up their sleeves and got down to business putting us back together. We were and continue to be in good hands. There is one exception and that is the Aransas County Navigation District (ACND). That public entity seems to be doing its best to cause controversy and to be controversial, perhaps even being illegal. And it has a long history of that type of behavior.
Not long ago, the ACND sued two individuals over ownership of certain waterfront properties. One of the defendants was a sitting commissioner. That’s correct. The ACND sued one of its own and they lost. Multiple times they lost. They spent $.75 million dollars – taxpayer dollars suing a sitting Commissioner. Did I mention that they lost?
They also sued a Fulton resident over property he owned located in the town of Fulton on the water. They lost that one also – again multiple times. They spent the better part of $2 million taxpayer dollars suing two local people over property ownership. Yes, that was years ago, but the trend continues.
The ACND gave up the Beach Park to the City because they couldn’t or wouldn’t maintain it and then years later demanded they get it back because they claimed the City wasn’t taking care of it. Their first action was to dramatically increase the annual pass fee to the public. Why the sudden interest in taking back the Beach Park? The immediate past mayor of Rockport told me, “They think it will qualify them to receive Hotel Occupancy Tax money.”
The corporate body of the ACND appears to check their collective brains at the door upon being elected. For example, a sitting commissioner verbally threatens to whip the ^*! out of a local media representative and then finds a creative way to say he was later assaulted by that representative.
Their latest self-made disaster is refusal to let the City complete much needed drainage improvements to the downtown area that would limit or eliminate future flooding. The city has plans to increase significantly the drainage into Rockport Harbor. A drainage pipe already is in place and the City’s plan is to upgrade it. Doesn’t that mean that the necessary easement already exists in spite of the ACND’s refusal to cooperate?
Here is my opinion. The ACND has tried and failed in its multiple attempts to get its hands on Hotel Occupancy Tax money that the City of Rockport, Town of Fulton, and County of Aransas receive by the virtue of the hotels being in the confines of the city, county etc. There aren’t any hotels on ACND property. The ACND’s refusal to let the City complete the drainage improvements is nothing more than extortion to get their hands on HOT money. The City could give the ACND money if it met the law’s specific use definition but they have no use that is applicable under the law. And, there is not an example in the entire State of Texas where a taxing authority is also given HOT money to use on its own designs – zip, zero, nada. That is what their taxing authority is for. The ACND has run off most of the nonprofits that have used the festival grounds for years due to massive increases in rent. And the reason can only be described as greed. It is, after all, nothing more than a dirt and grass field with no infrastructure.
When the town of Fulton denied a recent request from the ACND for HOT money, the District raised the Paws & Taws lease rate while the building was being rebuilt. The sitting commissioner behind these extortion attempts told the mayor of Fulton he would get his HOT money one way or another. Honestly folks, where is the public good?
Bullying, threats, revenge, extortion; isn’t it time this organization and its commissioners are brought to the woodshed over their heavy-handed tactics? In this case, the woodshed is the voting booth. The taxpaying public deserves better from its elected representatives and it is high time they are held accountable.