FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2005
Austin, TX--I think Rep. Goolsby's bill has merit. In fact, I am considering filing a companion bill in the Senate.
The prosperity of Port Isabel and South Padre Island are forever interdependent. Port Isabel schools benefit from South Padre Island's property taxes and from the tourist traffic that boosts local businesses. South Padre benefits from the infrastructure and shops that are on the mainland side. I would feel exactly the same if it were South Padre Island that was trying to annex parts of the mainland or the shrimp basin. I can only imagine the outcry if the roles were reversed and Port Isabel was the one having its growth areas annexed. In fact, several years ago there was some talk of South Padre annexing a golf course on the mainland. I opposed that idea then and I oppose annexing across the bay now.
I have friends on both sides of this issue and it is a shame that this has not been resolved before Port Isabel hastily annexed part of the island. I will work to resolve this issue with both parties, BUT this just isn't the way to go about solving it. I believe Rep. Goolsby's bill (regardless of the outcome of the current trial) will prevent this sort of annexation war from starting up and down the Gulf Coast.
I have a long history of dealing with annexation issues. In fact in 1991, the first bill I ever passed in the Senate (SB764 with Rep. Stiles) was to resolve annexation fights. Later, I was very involved in the major annexation reforms of 1999. What Port Isabel has done is simply bad policy. It was never intended that cities should be able to cross eight miles of water, with no contiguous borders, to annex areas next to other cities. It's common sense; Port Isabel cannot even provide services to the island without going through the city of South Padre Island or landing by boat.
I will commit to work with Port Isabel, Padre Island and the Valley delegation to resolve Port Isabel's concerns, BUT I think this bill is needed. We will have to find another way to make sure Port Isabel AND South Padre Island will continue to prosper.
By Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.
Note: Legislative Director Ian Randolph handles this issue for Sen. Lucio and can be reached at 512-463-0127.