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Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Sept. 22)

gavel[1]By Colin Killian, Public Communications Office

This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Sept. 22. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:31 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started.

5:52 p.m.

Council Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. These items were pulled for workshop discussion:

  1. Police Tasers and Body Cameras: This item would provide bicycle and motorcycle police officers with body cameras and deploying additional Tasers on patrol.
  2. Game Day Traffic Control: This item is a $54,389 bid for traffic control equipment for the final four Texas A&M home football games.
  3. Bridgewood Water Line ImprovementsThis item is a $282,353 city participation agreement with the developer for roadway and water line improvements in the Bridgewood Subdivision, including the new Spring Creek Elementary School.
  4. University Drive Improvements: This item is an advanced funding agreement with TxDOT for the design of raised medians and pedestrian improvements on University Drive from Texas Avenue to Tarrow Street.

6:08 p.m. 

City Facilities Risk Assessment

The council heard a presentation from Internal Auditor Ty Elliott on his risk assessment of city facilities. Of the city’s 36 facilities, city hall poses the most risks, according to Elliott. He recommended that significant investment be made regarding city hall to mitigate risks associated with safety, security, efficiency and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

6:23 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, the workshop meeting was adjourned. The regular meeting will start at 7 p.m.

7:02 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:09 p.m.

Proclamations

Mayor Nancy Berry presented a proclamation recognizing Sept. 21 as Alzheimer’s Awareness Day, when Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrated their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia. Accepting the proclamation from Mayor Nancy Berry (below) were three members of the Alzheimer Association’s Houston & Southwest Texas Chapter: volunteer Susan Pennington, Outreach Coordinator Julie Kutac, and volunteer Melody Adams.

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Mayor Berry also recognized Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 5-11, 2014). On Oct. 7, the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Brazos Valley will host its Celebration of Hope and Discovery event and invites the public to attend and support efforts aimed at improving lives of persons and families affected by mental illness. Accepting the proclamation from Mayor Nancy Berry (below) were board member Janice McBride and Executive Director Jody Shultz.

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7:09 p.m.

Hear Visitors

No one signed up to speak during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

7:10 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • Rejected of all proposals received for the Electric Substation Automation and Enhancement Project.
  • A master agreement not to exceed $150,000 with The Reynolds Company for Rockwell Automation products and services.
  • A city participation agreement for $282,353 for the roadway and water line improvements in the Bridgewood Subdivision.
  • FY15 funds for items exempt from competitive bidding and other expenditures for interlocal contracts or fees mandated by state law that are greater than $50,000.
  • An increase in Emergency Medical Services fees.
  • An amendment to the letter agreement with Ingram, Wallis & Co. for professional auditing services for FY14.
  • Second renewal of a $230,000 contract with Xpedient Mail for printing and mailing of utility bills, final notices and inserts.
  • An award bid not to exceed $136,992 to Cleveland Asphalt Products to provide emulsified asphalt products for street maintenance.
  • Second renewal of a $57,931 contract with JNA Painting and Contracting for interior and exterior painting of city buildings.
  • An increase of $330,000 in solid waste disposal fees to the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency.
  • A consultant contract for $232,350 with Kimley-Horn and Associates for a preliminary engineering report on the Eastgate Utility Rehabilitation Phase IV Project.
  • An advance funding agreement with the State of Texas, acting through the Texas Department of Transportation, for the design of raised medians and pedestrian improvements on University Drive.
  • A $219,516 contract with Gattis Engineering for the detailed design of the University Drive Raised Median Project.
  • Rejection of a bid for traffic control for the first two Texas A&M home football games, and the award of a $54,389 bid to N-Line Traffic Control for traffic control equipment rental for the last four A&M home football games.
  • Three contracts with TASER International for Tasers and body cameras for the College Station Police Department.
  • The city’s liability and workers’ compensation insurance, property/boiler & machinery, commercial crime, EMT liability, and auto property damage policies for FY14. Premiums for all lines of coverage for FY15 are $454,832.86.
  • A real estate agreement for the purchase of right-of-way along Rock Prairie Road between State Highway 6 and Normand Drive.

7:13 p.m.

Change of Zoning Boundaries

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to change the zoning district boundaries from Rural to General Commercial and Overlay for a .48-acre tract at 960 William D. Fitch Pkwy. to allow for development.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

7:18 p.m.

FY14 Budget Amendment No. 5

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a $7.66 million amendment to the FY14 budget, most of which comes from the Electric Utility Fund to cover higher-than-expected purchased power and wheeling charges. Wheeling is the transfer of electrical power from another utility’s service area.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

7:58 p.m.

Temporary Parking Removal on First Street

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to postpone a decision to temporarily remove parking along the 300 block of First Street. The closure would be from Nov. 10-July 1, and would accommodate nearby construction and ensure access for emergency vehicles.

Council asked staff to work with the developer and the Northgate District Association to replace the 10 lost parking spaces with additional spaces elsewhere in the area, bringing back a workable solution to the Oct. 9 council meeting.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:31 p.m.

Comp Plan Evaluation & Appraisal

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to accept the Comprehensive Plan Five-Year Evaluation and Appraisal Report, which includes about 65 recommended modifications. Public outreach included an online survey, a public open house meeting, focus groups, and a public review.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:38 p.m.

FY15 Budget Adoption

The council voted unanimously to adopt the city’s $253.1 million FY15 budget and also voted unanimously to ratify the property tax increase. A public hearing on the proposed budget was held Sept. 11.

During a series of budget workshops in August, the council increased the proposed budget by $47,018. Specific changes are outlined in the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:43 p.m.

FY15 Tax Rate Adoption

The council voted unanimously to adopt a new property tax rate of 45.25 cents per $100 assessed valuation. The 2.6-cent increase will generate about $1.6 million in additional revenue that will be used for public safety and transportation-related infrastructure. Property taxes are used to fund the city’s general debt service and part of the operations and maintenance costs of the General Fund.

Public hearings on the tax rate were conducted Sept. 3 and Sept. 11.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:51 p.m.

Commercial Sanitation Rate

The council unanimously approved a 15 percent rate increase for commercial sanitation collection services to cover rising fuel costs. The rate increase is expected to generate about $389,261 in revenue.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:51 p.m.

Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Committee  

The council unanimously approved the appointment of Brandon Boatcallie and Jon Denton to the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Committee.

8:51 p.m.

The regular meeting has been adjourned. The next regular meeting is Oct. 9.

Five things to watch at Monday’s city council meetings

gavel[1]By Colin Killian, Public Communications Office

The College Station City Council gathers Monday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:  

  1. Proclamations: The mayor will present proclamations in recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Day and Mental Illness Week.
  2. Police Tasers and Body Cameras: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider providing bicycle and motorcycle police officers with body cameras and deploying additional Tasers on patrol.
  3. FY14 Budget Amendment: After a public hearing, the council will consider a $7.66 million amendment to the FY14 budget, most of which would come from the Electric Utility Fund to cover higher-than-expected purchased power and wheeling charges. Wheeling is the transfer of electrical power from another utility’s service area. For complete details on the budget amendment, see pages 201-202 in the regular meeting packet.
  4. Comp Plan Evaluation: After a public hearing, the council will consider the Comprehensive Plan Five-Year Evaluation and Appraisal Report, which includes recommended modifications. Public outreach included an online survey, a public open house meeting, focus groups, and a public review.
  5. FY15 Budget and Tax Rate: The council will consider adopting the city’s $253.1 million FY15 budget and a 6-cent increase in the property tax rate. Public hearings were held on Sept. 3 and Sept. 11. The new tax rate would be 45.25 cents per $100 valuation.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. Previous council meetings are archived on the website. A detailed live blog from the meetings will be posted on this site and also can be accessed through the city’s Facebook page.

Related links:                                                                 

 

CS cited as nation’s second-fastest growing city

8077436819_f298c5ce37_h[1]By Colin Killian, Public Communications Office

Everyone knows College Station has been growing faster than Speedy Noil on a kick return, especially after our population surpassed the 100,000 mark in January.

But until today, that growth hadn’t been fully quantified.

NerdWallet, a financial literacy website, crunched the latest latest U.S. Census data and determined that College Station is the nation’s second-fastest growing city – of any size – since 2009.

The research included more than 500 of the largest American cities and ranked the top 20 based on growth in the working-age population, growth in the percentage of residents in the workforce, and growth in median income for workers.

Apparently, the only city in the country growing faster than College Station is Boulder, Colo. We’re the only Texas city in the top 10, but congrats to Bryan for ranking No. 17.

The only other Texas cities in the top 20 are Midland (No. 12), and McKinney (No. 20).

Here’s the NerdWallet write-up about College Station:

  1. College Station, Texas
    The hometown of Texas A&M University has seen rapid growth in its population since 2009. While College Station’s population grew at a rate of almost 18%, the average income also saw a substantial increase, rising by more than 25%.
    The Research Valley Partnership, a program affiliated with Texas A&M, helps businesses expand and also attracts new companies to the College Station area.

Click here to see the entire list and the methodology used.

 

About the Author

Colin Killian has been the City of College Station’s communications/marketing specialist since 2010. Prior to joining the city, he served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletic Department, worked for the United States Olympic Committee, and was a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewsiville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a degree in journalism.

National Preparedness Month: Preparing for disaster is everyone’s job

By Brian Hilton, College Station Emergency Management Coordinator

All sectors of society – businesses, civic groups, industry associations, neighborhood associations and individual citizens – should plan ahead for natural and man-made disasters. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.

In the first few hours or days following a disaster, essential services may not be available and people must be ready to act on their own. With September being National Preparedness Month, it’s the perfect time to review the emergency plans for your family or business.

NPM_logo_RGB_LOCALWith the theme “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare,” National Preparedness Month establishes four universal building blocks of preparedness. Click each of these for useful tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

  1. Be informed.
  2. Make a plan.
  3. Build a kit.
  4. Get involved.

Preparation makes a difference

When Americans prepare and practice for an emergency in advance, it makes a real difference in their ability to take immediate and informed action, and recover faster. The College Station Division of Emergency Management provides the following disaster guides to help you be prepared for whatever comes our way:

The blog I posted in April outlines the best ways to get information during emergency situations in the Brazos Valley, including some useful apps for your smartphone or other mobile device. This video featuring Dave South – the Voice of the Aggies ­– has much of the same information.

 

Additional resources

Being prepared for disasters is a shared responsibility that takes the entire community working together to effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from the destructive forces of nature and other emergencies and disasters.

If you have any questions about how to prepare for an emergency or disaster situation, contact me at bhilton@cstx.gov.

About the Author

Brian Hilton has been the City of College Station’s emergency management coordinator since 2003, when he retired as sergeant first class after 20 years in the United States Army. He also serves on the Homeland Security Advisory Committee for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments. Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., Hilton attended Columbia College in Columbia, Mo.

 

Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

gavel[1]By Colin Killian, Public Communications Office

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Updated Parks Master Plan: The council will hear a workshop presentation on the updated master plan for Southeast Community Park, Lick Creek Greenway and use of the Rock Prairie Landfill property, which has potential for park development.
  2. All-Way Stop at Cross and Dogwood: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider implementing an all-way stop control at the intersection of Cross and Dogwood streets to improve pedestrian safety and mobility.
  3. Hearing on FY15 Budget, Tax Rate: The council will conduct public hearings on the city’s FY15 budget and a proposed 2.6-cent increase in the property tax rate. The budget and tax rate are scheduled for adoption Sept. 22.
  4. Halcon Energy Mineral Lease: After a public hearing, the council will consider entering into a mineral lease with Halcon Energy for oil, gas and related hydrocarbons on about 26 tracts of land generally located near Wellborn Road and FM2818.
  5. E-Cigarette Ordinance: The council will consider an ordinance prohibiting the purchase, possession and use of e-cigarettes by minors, but will not be considering restrictions on where e-cigarettes can be used. If approved, the ordinance will become effective in 20 10 days.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. Previous council meetings are archived on the website. A detailed live blog from the meetings will be posted on this site and also can be accessed through the city’s Facebook page.

Related links:                                                                 

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