City and Community Initiatives
The community is proud of its industrial heritage and the many opportunities a strong industrial base provides. City officials, citizen groups, business and industry have a similar vision; to make this community a better place to live, work and raise our children. Some of those efforts include:
- On May 5, 2001, in the general election, the citizens of the City of Baytown approved six bond propositions that include $20 million in street improvement and rehabilitation projects, $3.2 million in drainage improvements and $2.2 million in fire fighting facilities and equipment.
- On May 5, 2001, in the general election, the citizens of the City of Baytown also voted to authorize the creation of the Baytown Municipal Development District (MDD) and the collection of a ½ cent sales and use tax for the purpose of financing economic development projects that provide economic benefit and diversify the economic base of the community. The MDD will fund additional economic and public improvements in the amount of $27 million dollars over the next 10 years. Phase one projects, which are planned for the first five years, include the areas of economic development initiatives; streets, drainage, sidewalks and signalization improvements; utilities improvements; and parks improvements. Projects planned for the sixth year total approximately $3 million.
- The voters approved a street maintenance sales tax in the amount of ¼ of 1% on May 15, 2004. The funds generated by the sales tax are limited to the maintenance of existing residential streets as of May 15, 2004. Three types of maintenance are performed: concrete street repair, asphalt milling/overlay and crack sealing.
- On May 13, 2006 the citizens voted to create the Baytown Crime Control and Prevention District dedicated to crime reduction programs and the adoption of a proposed local sales and use tax at a rate of one-eighth of one percent (1/8%).
- On May 13, 2006 the citizens voted to the Baytown Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District dedicated to fire safety and emergency medical services and the adoption of a proposed local sales and use tax at a rate of one-eighth of one percent (1/8%).
- With the support of the community, numerous amenities continue to be developed including (1) the Goose Creek Greenbelt Project, which creates a linear park through the heart of the community; (2) The Baytown Nature Center, a 450 acre preserve within the city limits developed from what was known as the Brownwood subdivision that was destroyed by subsidence and Hurricane Alicia. The Nature Center is on the The Great Texas Birding Trail and is host to over 300 different species of birds along with numerous varieties of flora and fauna and (3) The Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Education and Recreation Center, a cooperative effort of the School District, Lee College and the City to provide an opportunity for young and old to learn more about fisheries, wildlife, ecology, etc.
- Quality of life continues to be a focus for City departments. Projects such as the new walking trail, renovated parking facilities and a new Sprayground at Roseland Park are examples of efforts to make Baytown a better place.
- The civil plan review and building permit application process has been improved so that the turnaround period once again meets our target of 20 days for commercial plans, improving our service to citizens and developers.
- The creation of a Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) was approved in a previous budget as a joint venture between the City and the Municipal Development District. This project will consolidate and organize all codes from the existing codification as well as proposing new zoning regulations into a new document that is easier to use and more “developer friendly”. The ULDC will assist in the preparation and review of plans for development.
- The “Downtown Redevelopment Program” is in its fifth year of funding. Years 1 and 2 were funded from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) budget and included a Downtown Redevelopment Coordinator and development of a Downtown Redevelopment Master Plan. Reductions in CDBG allocations eliminated the resources to continue CDBG support of the downtown redevelopment efforts. The General Fund in 2004-05 and 2005-06 included an allocation of one-for-one match funds to continue the support of the Baytown Downtown Association. Projects consistent with elements of the Downtown Master Plan will be eligible for a 100% match of outside/private funding sources. An increased funding level is proposed for 2006-07.
- The City is building a new 4.0 million gallons per day (MGD) sewer treatment plant in the northeast part of the community. Estimated cost of the plant is $17,500,000. Construction is to begin in 2006, with completion expected in 2008. The plant’s design will allow it to be expanded up to 16 MGD to accommodate future growth of Baytown. The plant is being built through a contract between the City and CSA Construction, Inc. Money to build the plant is through a contribution from Municipal Development District, a loan from the Texas Water Development Board and from the sale of certificates of obligation.
- Phase I of the expansion of the Baytown Area Water Authority (BAWA) plant is complete. Phase II is on hold pending the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) study to develop new recommendations pertaining to disinfection programs (Ozone). A two year raw water monitoring will begin in January of 2007 and will be used to determine if ozone should be implemented at the BAWA surface water plant. The effect of the new rules regarding the BAWA Plant and recommendations for implementation will follow the review. Phase III is nearing completion. This includes the replacement of equipment that has reached its useful life; pumping improvement to achieve a firm capacity of 26 MGD; and safety improvements. Phase III began in the summer of 2002 and is scheduled to be completed in 2006. These expansions are required due to growth in and around Baytown.
- The City has established Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number One (TIRZ) in the Garth Road/San Jacinto Mall area. Two 300-home subdivisions are under construction and plans include improving the mall and re-establishing it as a regional retail amenity. The mall plan includes public attractions such as public plazas, fountains and landscaping. Areas within the zone adjacent to the mall will be developed with commercial retail and additional residential areas. Two nationally recognized restaurants have developed mall pad sites.
- The City has established a tax abatement program to encourage economic development. In order to be considered for tax abatement, a project must meet several criteria pertaining to job creation and property value enhancement. Abatement shall be granted effective with the January 1 valuation date immediately following the date of execution of the agreement. 100% of the value of new eligible properties shall be abated for the first 3 years, followed by 80% abatement for the fourth year, and 60% abatement for the fifth year. In no case shall the period of abatement exceed 5 years.
- The Grand Parkway is a 170-mile outer loop planned to serve the regional mobility needs of Houston and seven surrounding counties. It is being developed through a partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation, private landowners, local governments and public interest groups. The Grand Parkway (SH 99) has been divided into nine segments (A-I2), each of which is a complete and independently justifiable project. Segment I-2, from SH 146 to IH 10 near Baytown will be the second leg of SH 99 constructed. The project was begun in 1991. A DEIS, schematics, and FEIS were prepared. The Record of Decision was signed in August 1998. Currently, the Grand Parkway Association is coordinating the 404 permit with the Corps of Engineers, and working with a title company to finalize R.O.W. donations. TxDOT is designing SH 99 from Spur 55 at FM 1405 east and north to IH 10.
- The Baytown City Council approved ordinance number 9854 on August 26, 2004, which establishes impact fees to ensure the provision of adequate facilities to serve new development in the service area by requiring each such development to pay its pro rated share of the cost of water and wastewater capital improvements necessitated by and attributable to such new development.
- Baytown has been recognized by several organizations and agencies by being the recipient of the following:
- Chevron Conservation Award
- 2002 Gulf of Mexico Program Award
- Environmental Excellence Award
- 2003 Government Program First Place Award, 2006 Government Program and Project First Place Awards by Keep Texas Beautiful
The City of Baytown and its citizens share a vision of what this community can be. The decision was made several years ago to improve our quality of life and the information above is an example of the commitment that has been made.