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PN names new board; Special district to manage waterfront property

PORT NECHES — The formation of a special district to deal with Port Neches’ riverfront development is now underway.

Earlier this week city council approved several items needed for the creation of Port Neches Improvement District including naming seven residents to a board of directors. The board members include David LeJeune, Leslie Symmonds, Olin Clotiaux and Doug Savant, who will serve a one-year term then a two-year term, and Lance Bradley, Kathy Levingston and Aspen Hebert, for a two-year term.

The initial terms of the first four members will expire in 2018 and then in subsequent even numbered years. Bradley, Levingston and Hebert’s initial tem will expire in 2019 and then in subsequent odd numbered years.

In addition to creating the board, city councilmembers also approved a piece of legislation to formally allow for the formation of the special district as well as approving a resolution supporting the special district, which are required by law for the issue to go any further.

“The resolution is requested by local legislators to show that city council supports this and the only property included is owned by the city,” City Manager Andrè Wimer said.

The resolution states the special district is being created to bring needed infrastructure to develop the riverfront property, including public water, sewer, drainage, roads, bulkheads and other needed infrastructure.

The city previously acquired and remediated the property with the intent of development as a means of tax diversification.

The next step is for the issue to get the seal of approval of the Texas legislature.

Richard Morrison, an attorney Smith, Murdaugh, Little and Bonham LLP. who was hired to handle the issue, said he will now send the information to Texas Rep. Dade Phelan, Texas Rep. Joe Deshotel, and Texas Sen. Brandon Creighton.

Early steps toward the creation of the district happened during the Feb. 2 council meeting where councilmembers approved the hiring of the law firm. The firm is working on behalf of the city to facilitate the process.

In Texas, hundreds of local governments called special purpose districts provide a variety of services including water conservation, toll roads, hospitals, libraries, utilities and fire control efforts, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website.