City Council Preview (Feb. 9)

 

Here’s a quick overview of some of the items the College Station City Council will be discussing at its workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Feb. 9. This blog is not a complete and official agenda.

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

Workshop Meeting (3 p.m.)

Police Department Update

Police Chief Jeff Capps will update the council on the state of the College Station Police Department, including a review of 2011 crime statistics.

Recycling Program Update

The council will receive an update on the city’s recycling program and will review previous internal studies along with possible options for the program.

Christmas at the Creek Report

The council will hear a post-event report on Christmas at the Creek, which changed locations and activities from previous years. The Parks and Recreation Department welcomed participation from many non-profit groups, businesses, the Arts Center and numerous churches. Wolf Pen Creek Park was heavily decorated and was a focal point for visitors beginning Thanksgiving weekend and continuing through New Year’s Day. The major activity nights were located at the Wolf Pen Creek Park complex on Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 10-11. Participation was estimated at 20,000 people over the four days, compared to 7,000 who attended the 2010 event at Central Park. The primary costs are part of Parks and Recreation’s operating budget, but sponsors were solicited and secured to help offset expenses.

Ad Hoc Committee for Arts Council Relations

The council will discuss the creation of an ad hoc committee to consider topics concerning the Arts Council of Brazos Valley, including the lease agreement for the Arts Council building, and the construction and use of the Wolf Pen Creek Festival Grounds. The subcommittee would consist of three council members and three members of the Arts Council Board of Directors. The subcommittee would be dissolved after completing its report.

Regular Meeting (7 p.m.)

Consent Agenda

This is not a complete list of consent agenda items. Click here to view all the consent items.

Chimney Hill Lease Renewal

The council will consider a one-year lease extension for Gambro Healthcare of Texas in the Chimney Hill Shopping Center. In August, the minimum monthly rent will increase from $21,531.61 to $22,177.09. Gambro Healthcare signed a 10-year lease agreement for the space in 1997, and in 2007 exercised a five-year renewal option, which expires in August. The lease will provide $261,600 in revenue to the city in 2012.

Rock Prairie Road East Project

The council will consider approving a real estate contract for $216,601 to purchase the right-of-way and a public utility easement for the Rock Prairie Road East Widening Design and Right-of-Way Project, which was approved by voters in the 2003 bond election. The property is along Rock Prairie Road between the State Highway 6 frontage road and Bird Pond Road.

Interlocal Contract for Use of Hensel Park

The council will consider renewing a five-year inter local contract agreement with Texas A&M to allow the city to repair and maintain the playground equipment it owns at Hensel Park.  In 1986, the city entered into an agreement with the university to install the park’s original playground. The city has owned and maintained the playground since 2004.

Funding for Texas Institute for Preclinical Studies

The council will consider authorizing the third of five payments of $250,000 to Texas A&M University’s Texas Institute for Preclinical Studies (TIPS) for its performance in 2010-2011. In 2006, the city council unanimously approved a five-year, $1.25 million incentive for the development of TIPS as part of a larger economic development agreement with the Research Valley Partnership. In return for the city’s investment, TIPS has invested more than $40 million in real and personal property and constructed a 112,000-square foot facility on Raymond Stotzer Parkway. TIPS also committed to create new jobs each year for the term of the agreement, and in Fiscal Year 2011 hired eight new employees and maintained 29 total employees, not including student workers. The City of Bryan and Brazos County also provide incentives.

Regular Agenda

Rezoning for 13500 Rock Prairie Road

The council will consider a request to rezone about 65 acres at 13500 Rock Prairie Road, generally located west of Lick Creek Park, to allow for a residential development similar to others in the area.

Rental Rehabilitation Program

The council will consider approving guidelines for the Rental Rehabilitation Program, which consists of a mixed repayable/forgivable loan to owners for the purpose of upgrading their aging rental properties to be more energy efficient and more closely meet current building codes and standards. Funding of about $50,000 would be available in Fiscal Year 2013 through federal grants. Staff believes the program would help provide more decent, safe, affordable and energy efficient housing options to low and moderate income families while enhancing the city’s tax base.

In 2010, several city departments joined to collect information about the physical condition of buildings in College Station. The survey revealed that the multifamily units in the oldest segment of the city’s housing stock — used primarily by renters — are the ones most in need of repair. Few market incentives exist for owners of these units to upgrade their aging product while maintaining their affordability. Council directed staff to engage stakeholders and develop these guidelines for review. The target population for these federal grant funds is residents whose income is less than 80 percent of the area’s median income, which generally is less than $35,000 a year. This group consists almost entirely of renters. Participants would be required to maintain these assisted units and keep them affordable for a specified length of time.

Since the mid 1970’s the City of College Station has partnered with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address quality of life, neighborhood stability and safe and decent housing for low and moderate-income residents. The city has received more than $43 million in grants, which has assisted 133 families through homebuyer assistance, 651 families through security deposit assistance, 202 families through rehabilitation assistance, 120 families through new construction/reconstruction assistance, and five families through minor repair assistance. In addition, more than $8.5 million has been used for various park, street, façade, infrastructure and public facility improvements in low-income areas.

Strong & Sustainable Neighborhood Grant Program

The council will consider revisions to the Strong and Sustainable Neighborhood Grant Program Guidelines to make projects identified in various neighborhood plans eligible for funding, which is budgeted at $15,000 per year. Under the proposed guidelines, Neighborhood and Homeowner Associations would continue to contribute a 50 percent match to receive funds, but projects identified in the city’s neighborhood plans would be given priority and would be 100 percent funded. However, program funds would no longer be used for landscaping projects located outside public property or rights of way.

For several years, the city has operated a small grants program to strengthen neighborhoods. It originally was called the Gateway Grant Program and focused on establishing and improving neighborhood entrance monuments. In 2009, after a series of meetings with neighborhood interests and others about neighborhood integrity, the council made the program more comprehensive and changed its name.

BVSWMA Board Appointment

The council will discuss making an appointment to the BVSWMA Board of Directors to replace Stephen Beachy, who has submitted his letter of resignation.

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