SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — From travel bans and quarantine requirements to staff layoffs and furloughs, the past fiscal year was tough for many cities throughout the country.
As a tourism-dependent community, South Padre Island City officials say COVID-19 placed them in an unforeseeable future with new obstacles they never faced before.
Although the 2019-2020 fiscal year came with many challenges, and this year had a shaky start due to the winter storm that brought unbearable weather conditions, the community is thankful to have still been able to have several successes.
On Thursday, the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce hosted its quarterly Public Affairs Luncheon where Mayor Patrick McNulty gave a State of the Island Address.
In the address, McNulty reflected on the 2019-2020 fiscal year and talked about the city’s latest projects.
“During these hardships, we have been able to have many positive accomplishments by the combined efforts of the city council, city manager and staff,” McNulty said. “The city continues to be fiscally prudent, and the 2019-2020 fiscal year reflects our strong financial position with a double A plus general obligation bond rating.”
According to SPI City Manager Randy Smith, the city remained financially sound throughout 2020 because revenues outpaced expenditures.
He said favorable economic conditions reflected in effective budgetary management practices that resulted in the replenishment of reserves, including a $1.8 million balance in general fund excess reserves.
He added that the city has also received more than $2 million in grants toward renourishing its shoreline, as well as half a million in funds to complete Phase II of John L. Tompkins Park.
The city’s latest project that will soon be complete is its skatepark. The new attraction will have its grand opening on Saturday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m. at John L. Tompkins Park.
McNulty said he’s also looking forward to completing the Padre Boulevard Medians, Sidewalk and Boardwalk Project and finalizing a design concept for the reconstruction of Laguna Boulevard.
According to McNulty, throughout the many emergencies the Island has faced, the impact of the coronavirus has been the most severe and felt by all.
He said 2020 forced the city to view life through a different lens and confront challenges never tackled before while balancing the needs of the community.
“Our elected officials, professional staff and leadership team carried a heavy burden this past year professionally and personally, but they persevered, showed their resiliency and their true dedication to our community,” McNulty said. “Moving forward to 2021, I feel confident that we’ll have the right people committed in the right places to emerge stronger than ever and always protect to safeguard and serve.”