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The $30 million project will be funded with revenue from hotel taxes, Pinkerton said after the meeting, and won't require a tax increase for completion, but the project was scarcely discussed during the meeting.
"It sounds really good, but that isn't what has transpired," he said.
But County Judge Carlos Cascos pushed the discussion back to what he viewed as an isolationist approach to governing by the city.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Sofia Benavides spoke first, expressing her wholehearted support for the convention center work before citing a list of concerns with South Padre Island's relationship with the county.
As for the project approval, which was tabled until the next meeting to allow commissioners to review the RFQ, Pinkerton remained Michael Kors Quilted Purse hopeful the project would proceed.
The conversation nearly escalated again when Pinkerton noted that the RFQ already had been drafted.
Following Pinkerton's presentation, various commissioners voiced their support for the project while, at the same time, decrying what they viewed as the city opposing or undermining the county on issues concerning legislation and zoning.
back to the convention center agenda item up for action.
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Benavides then listed projects it appeared the county and city did not see eye to eye on, including changes to the birding boardwalk, legislative lobbying in Austin and shared recognition for the construction of the city's new fire station, which the county backed financially.
agenda," he said, noting that the county could bring it up, officially, if it wanted. "I don't mind speaking in public, but it needs to be on the agenda in my opinion. I'm not one for airing dirty laundry. There are some misunderstandings. I don't think we lobbied against them on anything."
Speaking Thursday afternoon, Pinkerton said he didn't want to comment about the county's allegations that the city had not played fair, but said he welcomed an opportunity, in public or private, to discuss the issues with the commissioners.
"I don't want to hold this project hostage," Cascos said. "I'd like to see this move forward, but over the last 24 or 18 months the island has given the county headaches."
"The island may be an island, but it's not an island," Cascos said, turning a phrase.
Discussion of the agenda item then gave way to a grilling of the mayor about several decisions the SPI City Council made that commissioners felt didn't serve the county's best interests, with Precinct 3 Commissioner David Garza reiterating Benavides' sentiments.
Frustrations about need for cooperation
Pinkerton said he was asking for the county's blessing on the project and on the city's efforts to gauge interest from hotels.
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SPI Mayor Robert Pinkerton Jr. and Gilbert Gallegos, a consultant for the convention center project, presented master plan renderings showing the scope of proposed expansions that would increase exhibit hall space by 18,000 square feet, install a new concourse and add a 15,000 square foot ballroom with lecture hall seating for 1,300 people.
Cascos still seemed skeptical.
Cascos said local changes with zoning and signage in the north portion of the Island along with legislation expanding the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction had flown in the face of agreements with the county to develop land ahead of the city's annexation.
The master plan also shows a nearby hotel officials hope to attract, a 300 car parking garage and an expanding parking lot.
"I'm all for this," she said. "But in an effort to move forward, I would like to see more cooperation between Cameron County and South Padre Island."
He reopened the discussion about county city cooperation, questioning the "posturing of island leadership" concerning dune protection, zoning and signage on the Island.
"What do you need us for, then?" Cascos asked.
"I concur with everything she said," Garza said, reminding Pinkerton that the Island did not stand alone.
He said the convention center project wasn't in danger of being held up due to the discord between the two entities, but continued to rail against what was described as activity that obstructed the county's wishes.
said he didn't think the city had lobbied against the county's wishes in Austin. He also said the city was not trying to pre empt the county with its own regulations, but noted that the land the county currently regulates north of town at some point will fall under the city's jurisdiction.
As commissioners asked whether the convention center renovation and the hotel RFQs should be viewed as separate projects, Pinkerton, with the assistance of county legal counsel Bruce Hodge, explained that the hotel proposal was purely exploratory at this point in the project, calling the RFQ process "very preliminary."
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He admitted it was difficult to balance city and county interests on the Island without conflict and vowed that he would be available to discuss any of the issues mentioned, in public or in private, whenever the commissioners wanted.
"When you all opened it, you gave no credit to Cameron County," Benavides said.
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