City Council Meeting Summary (Jan. 27, 2011)

This blog is a short summary of the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Jan. 27. This blog is not the official minutes. Changes made to specific items will be recorded in the minutes, which will be available in approximately two weeks.

Workshop Meeting Highlights

Animal Shelter —–
Chief of Police Jeff Capps discussed the animal shelter contract and future operations. He provided an overview on the current contract, the City of Bryan’s plans, staff concerns and options being explored. The City of Bryan will be terminating the agreement for shelter services on June 30, 2011, when the lease agreement for the facility will also expire. They sent out an RFP seeking any parties interested in providing shelter services beginning July 1, 2011. Their timeline for the RFP includes: Jan. 14: Proposal submission deadline; Jan. 31-Feb. 18: Contract evaluation and negotiations; March 22: Earliest date to award; July 1: Contracted services will start.

Staff has several concerns and noted it is important there is no break in service. Staff wants to know if the city will be able to contract for animal shelter services for the FY2011 budgeted amount, regardless of whether that is through the Brazos Animal Shelter or the City of Bryan. There are three options for Council to consider: (1) continue to contract with the Brazos Animal Shelter at their new location; (2) seek to contract with Bryan or a third-party shelter service; or (3) seek a location and facility for our own shelter services. Council directed staff to research the feasibility of a long term contract, a mutually-agreed upon cost arrangement, a College Station license tag and allowing the city’s internal auditor to conduct an audit as needed.

Convention & Visitors Bureau Reward Program —–
Director of Economic Development David Gwin presented the proposed Bryan-College Station CVB Reward Program. This is a new initiative to bring business into town and increase hotel occupancy, making the hospitality community more dynamic. The program incentivizes new events in the community, increasing the number of “heads in beds.” It’s similar to the seed program for sporting events. The average expenditure for visitors is more than $200 per day, and they stay an average of 2 ½ days. The planner must register the event with the CVB, it must be booked during 2011 and may take place within five years of booking. They must consume a minimum of 100 room nights. After the occurrence, the event is entitled to receive a cash reward based on the number of room nights. The incentives would be funded from the Hotel Occupancy Tax fund. The amount would be held by the city until the actual reward is paid. An initial budget of $50,000 is proposed, and each funding entity would be expected to commit their pro rata share of HOT funding.
VOTE: The council voted 6-1 to approve the CVB reward program, contingent upon City of Bryan and Brazos County agreeing to the pro rata share. Voting against was Jess Fields.

Regular Meeting Highlights

Consent Agenda —–
The council voted unanimously on all consent agenda items except one. Council voted 5-2 to approve one month’s funding to the Arts Council of Brazos Valley with changes made to the contract to reflect that. Voting against was Jess Fields and Jana McMillan.

Among the consent agenda items that were passed was an ordinance to change the posted speed limit on the section of Greens Prairie Trail from the Western city limits to approximately 1,000 feet west of the Greens Prairie Road/Woodlake Intersection from 60 mph to 45 mph.  

Budget Amendment No. 1 —–
The item was pulled from the agenda.

Unified Development Ordinance Amendment —–
A citizen said during the public hearing that he is interested in opening a microwinery in College Station.
VOTE: The council unanimously voted (7-0), to adopt an ordinance to amending the Unified Development Ordinance specifically related to micro-industrial uses.

Hawthorne Street Parking —–
VOTE: The council voted unanimously (7-0) at adopt an ordinance amending the traffic code to remove parking along the west and south sides of Hawthorn Street and allow parking on the north and east sides.

Longmire Street Parking —–
The council discussed an ordinance amending the traffic code to remove parking along the east side of Longmire Drive between FM 2818 and Valley View Drive.
VOTE: Council tabled the item, directing staff to explore other options, giving ample time for the businesses to find alternative parking to replace the spaces that would be lost. Staff will present the item again at a future council meeting.

Wellborn Service Plan, Public Hearings —–
Assistant Director of Planning and Development Lance Simms said the dates for two public hearings regarding the possible annexation of the Wellborn area have been scheduled for March 22 at the Wellborn Community Center and at the regular council meeting on March 24. The service plan must be made available to the public before the first public hearing.
VOTE: The council voted 5-2 to adopt an ordinance directing staff to prepare a service plan and set public hearing dates for the annexation of approximately 681 acres on the southwest side of College Station generally known as the Wellborn area. Voting against were Jess Fields and Jana McMillan.

Recall Petition Certification
City Secretary Sherry Mashburn reported her findings to the council and certified the three recall petitions as sufficient and compliant with the city charter.
VOTE: The council voted unanimously to accept the city secretary’s report and directed her to prepare the resolution to call the special election for the next council meeting.

Links

Regular Meeting Agenda Snapshot
Video Archive of Council Meetings
Council Agendas and Minutes
(official minutes from Thursday’s meetings will be available in two weeks)

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