Victoria could begin selling city flags to resdients

Mayor Paul Polasek discusses Victoria’s city flag. The city’s original flag was adopted in 1972, and features the city seal (shown behind Polasek) on a white background.

A Victoria councilman asked whether the city could develop a design for a city flag, only to discover Victoria already has one.

Victoria’s original city flag – the city’s seal on top of a white background – hasn’t been used in recent memory, but was adopted in 1972, city spokesman O.C. Garza told City Council at a meeting Tuesday. Garza began researching the city flag after Councilman Andrew Young asked about the possibility of creating a flag at an earlier meeting.

Council members agreed Tuesday they would gauge interest from the public about whether residents would want to purchase flags to display on flagpoles. The city could possibly begin ordering and selling flags to the public.

City Secretary April Hilbrich researched the flag’s history and found an old photo negative of the flag in the basement of City Hall, Garza said. The flag, adopted in August 1972, was described as the city’s original seal on a white background with a fringe.

If the city moves forward with ordering flags, they would likely develop them without fringe because the addition isn’t advisable for outdoor flags, Garza said.

Young said he first asked about a city flag after a neighbor asked him about it, and said he thought it would be a good way to increase community pride.

“He had just asked about the city’s flag, if there was one, because he would proudly fly it on his historic home,” Young said.

Lots of Texas cities have their own flags, including Corpus Christi.

Council members also received an update on the city’s debt capacity from finance director Gilbert Reyna. Like many municipalities, Victoria borrows money to pay for big projects, particularly when it comes to replacing or improving the city’s aging streets and utilities, Reyna said. Relying on cash alone to fund expensive projects like these would take much longer to replace old infrastructure.

“Could we use cash? Absolutely,” Reyna said. “Is it responsible? Maybe not.”

Because several tax break agreements are expiring, at least $109 million of appraised value will become available for the city to tax between 2021 and 2024. With this soon-to-be available taxable income, the city’s principal-debt balance will drop by $29 million, or about 45 percent, over the next four years, according to Reyna’s projections.

Reyna gave the presentation at the request of Councilman Jeff Bauknight, who asked for an update on the city’s debt in advance of the May election, while it is being discussed during campaigns.

Candidate Mark Loffgren in particular has advocated for cutting the city’s debt in his bid to represent Super District 6.

Also Tuesday, council members voted to reject all construction bids to rebuild Crestwood Drive because of a mistake in one of the bid line items in the initial request for bids, said Donald Reese, the city’s public works director. It was too late to send out an addendum by the time the mistake was noticed. The mistaken quantity in the request for bids was supplied by the city’s engineering firm.

“We decided that it would be fair to everybody...to just reject all bids, correct the quantity and go back out for bid,” Reese said.

He estimated that opening back up for bids would delay the project one month at the most. After some discussion, the council voted to reject all the bids, with Council member Josephine Soliz voting against the resolution.

“I’d rather see this project move forward; I think we’re already a little behind, but at the same time I want to be open and transparent with the contractors and I don’t want them to feel like one got the shaft,” Council member Jeff Bauknight said.

The city will spend about 18 months rebuilding Crestwood Drive between Laurent and Ben Jordan streets, including adding sidewalks to the side of the road.

Council members also met in private to discuss hiring a new city manager and economic development.

Ciara McCarthy covers local government for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at cmccarthy@vicad.com or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara.

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Ciara McCarthy covers local government for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can contact her by emailing cmccarthy@vicad.com.

(2) comments

ascott Staff
Ashley Scott

Who designed and/or implemented the original city flag?

Ciara McCarthy Staff
Ciara McCarthy

Hi Ashley, Thanks for reading! I'd have to check our archives for who designed it (I'll look into that) but City Council implemented it in August 1972. I'll get back to you on who designed it.

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