By Michael Sudhalter
During the holiday season, many people are winding down to plan vacations and family trips.
That wasn’t the case for Anthony Snipes, who started as City Manager in Missouri City on Dec. 1.
“I hit the ground running,” said Snipes, the former Assistant City Manager in Austin who said he’s met with every single municipal employee in Missouri City and as many Missouri City citizens as possible to listen to feedback and ideas.
Snipes sees a lot of great things in Missouri City’s future and is currently working with city council and city staff on the City’s Strategic Plan.
He’s in the process of relocating his family from Austin to Missouri City and would like to make the community his full-time home.
Snipes said he’s not a “yes man” and won’t be the type of City Manager who will simply tell the council what they want to hear.
“The council has the final decision, but my job is to come up with the best professional plans and solutions to present them,” Snipes said.
Last December, Snipes became the fourth person to serve in a City Manager position for Missouri City in Calendar Year 2015, but his vision in 2016 adds some much-needed stability for the City.
Ed Broussard, who had served as City Manager since 2012, resigned in late 2014 to accept the same position in Tyler. He stayed until early 2015, and then both Bill Eisen and Bill Atkinson served as interim city manager until Snipes arrived.
Atkinson remains on staff as Assistant City Manager, a position he’d held since 2007.
Snipes said that many of the issues that affect large cities – such as his previous assignments in Austin, Fort Worth and Dayton, Ohio – also affect medium-sized cities like Missouri City.
But Snipes said even though he’s worked in large cities, he’s a small town guy at heart who hails from Americus, Ga. – home of Habitat for Humanity.
One of Snipes’ immediate goals is to work with interim directors of Parks & Recreation, Planning & Zoning and Finance, while searching for permanent candidates to fill those positions.
Snipes said the city must look closely over its new facilities plan and decide what it can and cannot build. Some have suggested that new or expanded public safety headquarters should be considered, and Snipes said that is one of the things he’ll examine.
Missouri City recently received a large public safety grant from the U.S. Justice Department, and last year, the city council approved department-wide raises for its police officers.
When it comes to the Quail Valley City Centre, Snipes respects that Missouri City voters passed the public revitalization of two golf courses with a 70 percent vote and that the council views City Centre as “an amenity” with walking trails and opportunities for bird-watching.
He understands the challenges of making a public golf course profitable, but said he’ll work hard to make sure that the City Centre, golf course and related facilities can break even or turn a small profit.
The revitalization of Texas Parkway is an important issue for Missouri City, and Snipes is confident that the new Houston Community College (HCC) campus will play an important role after it opens next year.
Snipes said the educational aspect of the college will also be beneficial, because when new businesses open in Missouri City, they will already have a well-trained workforce courtesy of HCC.
He’s also optimistic about new small businesses along Texas Parkway, including a potential entertainment center at the old movie theater.
On the other side of town, Snipes sees potential in the eventual annexation of Sienna Plantation homes but said that probably won’t happen until 2030.
Currently, businesses in Sienna Plantation are within the Missouri City limits.
Snipes said Missouri City must continue its strong partnership with Sienna Plantation to ensure a smooth transition when residential annexation eventually takes place.
The street signs in the community have Missouri City’s “Red, White & Blue”, and last summer, a Missouri City Fire Station opened in Sienna that was financed by Sienna’s Municipal Utility District but staffed by Missouri City.
Because of the proximity, some Missouri Citians often make comparisons to Sugar Land.
But Snipes was clear that Missouri City is trying to be the best city it can be, irrespective of Sugar Land.
“We’re not Sugar Land, and Sugar Land’s not us,” Snipes said. “We have our own niche and own brand that we’re continuing to develop.”