Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough spoke in an interview with Guidry News today regarding Thursday’s joint workshops with the Galveston County Commissioners Court and the Galveston Park Board of Trustees.
Thursday’s workshop with the commissioners court also included several representatives from the Port of Galveston, Yarbrough noted.
Yarbrough said that the city, county and port are working on what he said is a three-phase approach regarding the port. He said the first phase is to show the economic importance of the Port of Galveston to residents of Galveston.
“When I was a kid, you couldn’t drive down a block in Galveston that somebody didn’t work for the port or work for a company that did business with the port,” Yarbrough said. “The port had, literally, salesmen on every street.” Listen (26:02)
He noted that the situation has changed, and the port doesn’t have the advocates it once had.
He said that the second part of the study will move forward with a combination of a master plan for the port and market feasibility studies, particular for port resources such as Pelican Island. The third phase would be reviewing the governance structure of the port.
“We have governed ourselves generally the same way since the mid 1940s,” he said. “We’ve not really looked at the governance structure and operational structure as it relates to the City of Galveston.”
During the workshop with the Park Board of Trustees, the city discussed how to attract high value visitors to Galveston.
Yarbrough said the city currently attracts more “daytrip” visits as opposed to those who stay overnight in the city, which he said the city needs to reverse, with more visitors staying in Galveston hotels.
He again stressed the need to review the city’s ordinances related to the Park Board and the overall governance of the city.
“I view the city, the Park Board, and the Wharves Board, I view them as one public entity for the city of Galveston,” Yarbrough said, noting that the three agencies are independent, but that some common functions could be streamlined and shared.
“My goal is to streamline administrative function of the three entities,” he stated.
Yarbrough said that the process would have challenges, but that changes need to be considered.
“My instincts tell me when we really start quantifying and putting the processes under a real intense review we’re going to find some glaring inefficiencies that we can easily correct,” Yarbrough said.
Yarbrough ended his comments stating that the port, city and park board need to operate more from a strategic standpoint, rather than a reactionary process.
“We get where we deal the cards, instead of having them dealt to us,” he said.