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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (May 25)

Back (L-R): Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, James Benham, Barry Moore. Front (L-R): Blanche Brick, Mayor Karl Mooney, Julie Schultz.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, May 25. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD) and online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:08 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:12 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

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

  • Northgate Loading Zone and Bollards: The scope of the $297,250 contract is for construction along University Drive to close off the current loading area that is equipped with flexible bollards and to construct additional paved sidewalks and drainage structure. Removable bollards would be installed in four locations where the existing pneumatic bollards don’t function properly. The project would improve safety and aesthetics in the Northgate area and would occur is the area bordered by College Main, University Drive, Lodge Street and Church Street.

6:43 p.m.

Municipal Property Master Plan

The council heard a presentation about the city’s efforts since the late 1990s to plan for city-owned properties and facilities.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:56 p.m.

Gateway Marker on Highway 6 South

The consensus of the council was to wait until after the current state legislative session ends to decide on a location for the city’s second gateway marker on South Highway 6. The first sign has been completed near the northern city limit at Highway 6 and University Drive. The project budget is $175,000.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:07 p.m.

Statewide Telecommunications Franchises, Bandwidth

The council heard a presentation about legislative changes regarding statewide telecommunication and cable TV/Video franchises.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:07 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended. The regular meeting will begin after a short break.

7:16 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:21 p.m.

National Garden Week

Mayor Karl Mooney proclaimed June 4-10 as National Garden Week with a presentation to the A&M Garden Club.

7:25 p.m.

Arts Council College Scholarships

The Arts Council of Brazos Valley awarded its annual College Arts Scholarships to four College Station Independent School District seniors:

  • Yanichka Ariunbold will attend Stanford and pursue a degree in international studies/culture.
  • Isabela Cruz-Vespa will attend Bard College and will pursue a degree in musical performance.
  • Josey Meyer will attend Texas A&M and will pursue a degree in visualization.
  • Madeline Miller will attend Chapman University and will pursue a degree in dance.

The Arts Council, through the generous support of local donors, awards multiple scholarships each year to deserving young artists in the Brazos Valley. The College Arts Scholarship is open to graduating seniors in Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, and Washington counties who will attend an accredited college or university with a course of study in the arts, culture, or heritage fields.

7:29 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Ben Roper recognized Marine Lance Cpl. Ruben Valdez, Jr. as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 21-year-old San Diego, Texas native died April 17, 2004, from injuries suffered during enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

7:30 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A contract not to exceed $1,400 with Sungard Public Sector for services to move the Click2Gov online payment engine to a new server.
  • A contract not to exceed $418.256.26 with Computer Solutions for additional electronic storage and services to repurpose existing storage as a backup.
  • A resolution amending the bylaws of the Spring Creek Local Government Corporation.
  • A $1.8 million contract with Condie Construction for Phase 1 of the Northeast Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line.
  • A $196,515.88 change order to the contract with Larry Young Paving for the Rock Prairie Road Widening Project.
  • An interlocal agreement with the City of Bryan for maintenance of the Unity Plaza area.
  • A $297,250 contract with Dudley Construction for the University Drive Loading Zone & Northgate Bollards Project.
  • An annual contract not to exceed $100,000 with Larry Young Paving for the repaving of utility cuts.
  • A development agreement with CTX Land Investments to facilitate the extension of Dartmouth Drive at the Harvey Mitchell Parkway intersection.
  • A negotiated settlement between the Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Atmos Energy Corp., Mid-Tex Division, regarding the company’s 2017 rate review mechanism filings and a settlement agreement regarding rate tariffs and proof of revenues.

7:34 p.m.

Parks & Recreation Standard of Care

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved standards of care for the Parks and Recreation Department’s elementary age (5-13) youth recreation programs.

The Department of Family and Protective Services requires child care facilities to be licensed. Some programs offered by the Parks and Recreation Department fall within the definition of childcare facility requiring licensing but are exempt if municipalities annually hold a public hearing and adopt a standard of care ordinance.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:55 p.m.

Highway 30 Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to approve a request to change the zoning designation from Rural to General Commercial and Natural Areas Reserved for about three acres east of Copperfield Parkway and south of Harvey Road. Councilwoman Linda Harvell voted against the motion.

The change will allow for commercial development. Two people spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:59 p.m.

Margraves Tract Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a request to change the zoning designation from Rural to Restricted Suburban for about 369 acres located east of Greens Prairie Road West, west of Arrington Road, and to the south of Whites Creek Lane. 

Seven people spoke against the zoning change, which allows for a residential development.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

9:01 p.m.

Prairie View Heights Encroachment

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a resolution granting a license to encroach on a public utility easement located at 617 Banks St.

A southwest wall of the house at 617 Banks extends into a 10-foot wide public utility easement along the property line. The encroachment doesn’t conflict with the utilities in the easement and consent has been granted by all franchised utilities.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:03 p.m.

Historic Preservation Committee Appointment

The council voted unanimously to appoint Sherry Smith to the Historic Preservation Committee.

9:04 p.m.

Rock Prairie Management District Board

The council voted unanimously to appoint Jonathan Stark (Position No. 4) and Kamal Ariss (Position No. 5) to the Rock Prairie Management District Board. Their terms end June 1, 2021.

9:05 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

9:05 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the regular meeting. The workshop meeting will resume after a short break.

9:11 p.m.

The workshop has resumed.

9:33 p.m.

Standing Citizen Advisory Committee

The council discussed the creation of a standing citizen advisory committee to help keep residents updated about capital improvement projects planned or underway. Instead of appointing a new committee, the consensus was to actively promote attendance at council meetings where capital project updates are presented.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:37 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports.

The council meets again on Thursday, June 8.


About the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also been a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.



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This weekend’s tax holiday can save money — and water

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If your landscape needs a spruce-up, this weekend is the ideal time to upgrade your irrigation controller, install a rain sensor, and add mulch to your new drought-tolerant plants.

And it’s all tax-free.

The state comptroller’s office is offering a sales tax holiday Saturday through Monday on the purchase of certain water-efficient products. The tax holiday was made possible by legislation passed in 2015 that provides an incentive for Texans to conserve our limited water resources.

Eligible tax-exempt items can be used to conserve or retain groundwater, recharge water tables, or decrease ambient air temperature, which reduces evaporation. For example, mulch is tax exempt because it cools the soil and helps retain water.

Other tax-free items include:

  • WaterSense labeled products.
  • Soaker or drip-irrigation hose.
  • Moisture control for a sprinkler or irrigation system.
  • Rain barrel or an alternative rain and moisture collection system.
  • Permeable ground cover surface that allows water to reach underground basins, aquifers or water collection points.
  • Plants, trees, and grasses.
  • Soil and compost

WaterSense-labeled products go through an independent, third-party certification process and meet the EPA’s specifications for efficiency and performance. The beauty of WaterSense is having water-saving products in your home or business that deliver exceptional performance and savings on water bills for years to come.

In addition to tax savings, rebates for toilets and rain barrels are available for College Station water customers.

Take advantage of this opportunity to help conserve our water resources while saving yourself some cash. For more information visit the Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday page on the Texas Comptroller’s website.

 


About the Author

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after serving two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and received a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


Image Copyright: raywoo/123RF Stock Photo 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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. Municipal Property Master Plan: The council will hear a workshop presentation about the city’s efforts since the late 1990s to plan for municipal properties.
  2. Northeast Sewer Line: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $1.8 million contract for Phase I of the Northeast Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line, located south of Harvey Road and northwest of the Windwood and Horse Haven Estates subdivision.
  3. Rock Prairie Road Widening Project: The council will consider a $197,000 change order to the contract for the Rock Prairie Road West Widening Project to cover the relocation of water lines that conflict with new storm sewers.
  4. Northgate Loading Zone/Bollards: The council will consider a $297,000 contract to improve safety and aesthetics in Northgate by closing off the loading area on University Drive and adding sidewalks and drainage. Removable bollards would also be installed in four locations where existing pneumatic bollards don’t function properly.
  5. Margraves Property Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the zoning for about 369 acres east of Greens Prairie Road, west of Arrington Road, and south of Whites Creek Lane. The change will allow for residential development.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD), or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related links:                                                                 

 


About the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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Warmer weather means mosquito season has arrived

By Barbara Moore, Neighborhood Services Coordinator

The good news is that our days are becoming warmer.

The bad news is that mosquito season is here.

That means it’s time to remind you to take adequate precautions to prevent transmission of the dangerous viruses these pests can carry. For several years, West Nile virus dominated the headlines with several documented cases in Brazos County. In the last couple of the years, Zika has emerged as another threat.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 12 Zika cases have been reported across the state this year, including one in Brazos County. More than 300 cases were reported in Texas in 2015 and 2016.

State Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt recommends these measures to keep mosquitoes from breeding in and around your home:

  • At least once a week, empty or get rid of cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers, and other containers that hold water.
  • Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water.
  • Remove standing water around structures and on flat roofs.
  • Change water in pet dishes every day.
  • Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers each week.
  • Change the water in wading pools and birdbaths several times a week.
  • Maintain and keep backyard pools and hot tubs clean and free of debris.
  • Cover trash and recycling containers.
  • Water lawns and gardens carefully, making sure to not to over water.
  • Add screens to rain barrels and openings to water tanks and cisterns.
  • Treat front and back areas of your home with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are nearby.
  • Trim and prune overgrown vegetation and shrubs.
  • If mosquito problems persist, consider pesticide applications for vegetation around your home.
  • Consider treating standing water that can’t be drained or is present for more than a week with mosquito dunks to kill mosquito larvae before they breed or hatch.
  • Use mosquito dunks in ponds, creeks, drainage ditches and other areas with stagnant water.
  • Wear insect repellant and cover up with long-sleeve shirts and pants, when possible.
  • Make sure screens on windows are intact and not torn.
  • Limit outdoor activities at peak hours when mosquito activity increases.

Mosquito Abatement Program

The City of College Station’s Mosquito Abatement Program provides free mosquito dunks while supplies last. Please contact me at 979.764.6262 or bmoore@cstx.gov to check on availability.

For more information on Zika and West Nile prevention efforts in Brazos County, got to brazoshealth.org.

Related Links:

  


About the Blogger

Barbara Moore is in her ninth year as the city’s neighborhood services coordinator. She previously served as executive director of Family Outreach of Bryan/College Station and was director of faith-based relations for the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. Barbara is a 1992 graduate of Jackson State and earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington in 1996.


 

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In just 10 minutes, you could learn to save a life

By Greg Rodgers, CSFD Battalion Chief

If someone you love – or a complete stranger – were to go into sudden cardiac arrest, would you know what to do?

Would you stand by helplessly waiting for help to arrive as precious seconds tick away?

Several years ago, an older man was walking in the local mall one morning when he suddenly dropped to the ground.  He was having a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. With blood no longer flowing to the brain and other vital organs, SCA usually leads to death if not treated quickly.

Fortunately for him, someone nearby had been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), took quick action, and saved his life.

In my 34 years in the fire service, I’ve witnessed sudden cardiac arrest three times. Two had positive outcomes, thanks to the immediate application of CPR.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year and is a leading cause of death. According to the American Heart Association, survival rates can double or even triple if someone administers CPR until emergency medical services personnel arrive. Without CPR, about 90 percent of those who suffer SCA outside of a hospital don’t make it.

That’s made me a strong believer in proactive CPR training programs.

Learn Basic CPR on Thursday

If you’ve ever wanted to learn this life-saving technique but never seemed to find time, here’s your chance.

The College Station Fire Department will participate in the World CPR Challenge on Thursday from noon-6 p.m. at Fire Stations 2, 5 and 6. Perhaps the most extensive bystander CPR training event ever, the initiative is designed to teach compression-only CPR in 10 minutes to as many people as possible in a single afternoon. No registration is required.

Experienced College Station firefighters will conduct the short training sessions. Since compression is the most effective element of CPR, that’s the focus. No mouth-to-mouth techniques will be involved. Here’s the five-step process you’ll learn:

  1. Check for responsiveness.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
  4. Send someone for an automated external defibrillator (AED).
  5. Keep it up until help arrives.

Knowing effective CPR techniques can have a direct effect on your friends, family, and everyone around you. CPR training may not guarantee a positive outcome, but it dramatically increases the odds.

For more information, contact me at 979-229-6625 or grodgers@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Greg Rodgers is in his 30th year with the College Station Fire Department, where is a battalion chief and serves as the department’s public information officer. A native of San Antonio, Greg earned a bachelor’s degree in emergency management administration from West Texas A&M in 2008.


 

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Podcast: The future of Bush/Wellborn and why your opinion matters

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

In this edition of the College Station podcast, Texas A&M Transportation Institute Research Fellow Dr. Tim Lomax takes us through what will be one of the most impactful transportation projects ever planned for College Station: a proposed three-tier underpass at the intersection of George Bush Drive and Wellborn Road.

While the project is still a few years away, Lomax already is part of a team that’s genuinely seeking citizen feedback about things like construction schedules and duration of closures.

Lomax explains how citizens can express opinions and concerns that could ultimately influence Texas Department of Transportation designs and plans for the intersection.

  • 01:13 – Project might begin in 2022, after widening of FM2818
  • 02:58 – What can or should be done at Bush/Wellborn?
  • 05:29 – What the intersection could look like in the future
  • 09:08 – Digging three stories down? Sounds complicated…
  • 11:10 – What citizens are being asked to do right now. 24/7 construction? Phased work?
  • 15:00 – People seem to want it done FAST (duh)
  • 19:00 – What about traffic control and cut-throughs during construction?
  • 20:16 – Talks with Texas A&M about possible changes to worker hours, class hours, classroom locations, parking locations, etc.
  • 21:35 – Are special design elements possible?
  • 23:47 – Is the proposed design already in use in some other city?
  • 25:02 – Funding not yet identified. Estimated cost: $40 million+
  • 26:48 – What surprises lurk three stories below ground?
  • 28:00 – How can people voice opinions or concerns?
  • 31:13 – BONUS COMMENT: Lomax avoids left turns

Related Links:

Click below to listen. If Soundcloud doesn’t play in your older version of Internet Explorer, click here to hear to the audio file from your system.

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his eighth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.

 


 

Podcast Archive

 

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