Magnolia City Council hesitant to green-light public works projects during pandemic

City Council members were hesitant to approve schedules for public works projects as the future remains uncertain with surrounding development due to the coronavirus. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
City Council members were hesitant to approve schedules for public works projects as the future remains uncertain with surrounding development due to the coronavirus. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)

City Council members were hesitant to approve schedules for public works projects as the future remains uncertain with surrounding development due to the coronavirus. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)

Magnolia City Council took no action when presented with agenda items to approve task orders and a schedule for water and wastewater development plans during a teleconference meeting May 12.



The two projects the council passed on are for a new wastewater treatment plant near Mill Creek and a water plant near Spur 149, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported, slated to meet the needs of coming development.



Mayor Todd Kana said he was concerned at committing to a schedule as the future is uncertain at this time.



“My concern is all the unknown at this time,” Kana said during the meeting. “I’m not sure if we are ready to commit $700,000 to [the project].”



Kana referenced Magnolia Place and H-E-B’s development being put on hold at Spur 149 and FM 1488 as a reason to be cautious.



Kelly Hajek, a representative with Strand Associates—engineering consultants for the city—said both the water and wastewater plants need to be completed by 2021, based on promised water and wastewater connections to developers and what is under construction right now.



Hajek said these connections are necessary for the developments planned for Magnolia, such as Audubon Magnolia bringing homes along FM 1488.



“However the water plant is for all the development not just Audubon,” Hajek said.



When asked by the council if postponing a decision by a month would affect developers, Hajek said it would not have a negative impact.



Council member Johnny Williams said putting faith in developers right now is not easy.



“I think there is no reason we shouldn’t wait another 30 days to make any major decisions,” he said.



Kana said the city has been moving forward with its projects during the pandemic but little is happening with developments.



“It feels like we are moving forward, but the entire state isn’t moving with us,” Kana said.