Previewing Thursday’s City Council Meetings (August 11)

Here’s a quick look at some of the items the College Station City Council will be considering at its workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, August 11. This blog is not intended as a complete and official agenda. Click here to see the entire agenda packets.

Workshop Meeting (3 p.m.)

Proposed FY2012 City Budget
The council will receive the proposed 2012 city budget. The budget process includes a public hearing on Sept. 8, with final adoption set for Sept. 22. Workshop meetings are scheduled for August 15-18 for the council to review the proposed budget. Several areas will be discussed, including fiscal and budgetary policies, a review of all funds, the proposed pay plan, tax rate options, outside agency funding, capital projects, utility rates and other issues.

Carters and Burton Creek Bacteria
The council will hear a workshop presentation on state and local plans to restore and maintain Carters and Burton creeks, which have elevated bacteria levels. The two creeks run through most of Brazos County and are among 271 waterways in Texas that do not meet quality standards. The cities of College Station and Bryan, along with Brazos County, Texas A&M and the Texas Department of Transportation, are working with AgriLIFE and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to formulate a proactive implementation plan.

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.

Carter Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Laboratory and SCADA Building
The council will consider approving a construction contract of not more than $1,066,051.13 with G.W. Williams, Inc., for the Carter Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Laboratory and SCADA Building, and will also consider approving transfers of $20,077 from the Water Capital Improvement Projects Fund contingency and $101,913 from the Wastewater Capital Improvements Projects Fund contingency.

The project includes a 2,994-sq. ft. laboratory and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) building, a 1,372 linear foot 8-inch water line, and associated site improvements. SCADA is the electronic and monitoring system the Water Services Department uses to control its wells, lift stations, pump stations, elevated storage tanks and wastewater treatment plants. The Water Services Department environmental laboratory and the SCADA server room are currently housed in buildings that do not meet general industry standards. Since both systems require a clean, climate-controlled environment, staff sought the solution of combining both in a single building. In addition to the building, this project includes the construction of an offsite water line. The water line will provide the necessary fire flow needed based on the size and materials of the proposed building.

More than $1.16 million is budgeted in the Wastewater Capital Improvement Projects Fund and more than $106,000 is budgeted in the Water Capital Improvement Projects Fund for this project. More than $278,000 in Wastewater and Water Capital funds have already been used. Based on the construction bids received, additional funds will be needed for these projects through transfers from the Wastewater and Water Capital Improvement funds.

Chimney Hill Clean-out and Asbestos Abatement
The council will consider a resolution for asbestos abatement and debris removal from unoccupied areas in the Chimney Hill Retail Plaza at a cost of $49,961. The plaza has asbestos-containing material, trash and debris in some areas of the unoccupied portion of the building. In late May, Mustang Remediation cleaned a section of the building at a cost of $9,539 so the city could lease the space. Mustang’s quote of $49,961 for the remainder plus work already performed brings the final cost of the project to $59,500. Funds are available from lease revenues that have been collected from property tenants.

Sale and Official Statements Regarding GOBs and COs
The council will consider a resolution approving the Notices of Sale and Preliminary Official Statements regarding the city’s general obligation bonds and certificates of obligation. This is the next step in the process of issuing long term debt for the city’s capital projects. The bond sales will occur on August 25, when the city council will consider ordinances authorizing the issuance of the General Obligation Bonds and Certificates of Obligation.

The City of College Station typically issues debt to fund various capital projects identified and approved as a part of the annual budget. The city primarily uses two types of debt instruments to fulfill those requirements:

  1. General Obligation Bonds (GOBs) are based on the full faith and credit of the City and are paid primarily through the debt service portion of the property tax rate. GOBs are authorized by voters and the notice is provided in the election process.
  2. Certificates of Obligation (COs) normally include at least one additional revenue stream such as utility revenues, but are considered to be much like GOBs and usually receive a similar rating. The city’s policy for issuing COs allows more flexibility than GOBs, especially when other revenues are expected to assist in debt service.

The General Obligation debt issue will provide resources for street and park improvements totaling more than $1.9 million. The Certificates of Obligation debt issue will provide resources for electric and wastewater improvements and debt issuance costs totaling more than $7.9 million. Staff reviewed the impact of these debt issues on the city’s ability to meet debt service requirements and the effect they may have on property tax or utility rates.

BCS Mobility Initiative FY 2011 Funding
The council will consider approving an Inter Local Agreement with the Bryan-College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization for the funding of the BCS Mobility Initiative (BCSMI) for FY 2011. To get ahead of the congestion curve that is closing in on Bryan/College Station, area leaders came together in 2006 to develop a regional concept for transportation operations in the Brazos Valley. Leaders, staff and transportation stakeholders at the cities of Bryan and College Station, the Bryan/College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization, Brazos County, the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas A&M and the Texas Transportation Institute formed a working group that established priorities to move the mobility initiative forward.

The B/CS Mobility Initiative was implemented with $1 million of federal funding to improve mobility, develop safer roadways, achieve greater fuel economy, increase air quality, ease traffic frustrations for citizens, and to become a model for small city regional transportation management. To continue the initiative, funding from each local partner is needed. The total cost for FY 2011 to support the BCSMI Traffic Management Center is $150,000. Based on an agreed funding formula, the City of College Station’s funding portion is $40,215. College Station’s portion is slightly higher than Bryan’s $38,190 because it has more traffic signals to coordinate.

The BCSMI has a published web site that provides current traffic conditions (speeds on major roads), construction activities, lane closures or crashes on area roadways, camera views observing traffic (traffic detection cameras and pan-tilt-zoom cameras), and traffic-related tweets from the partners. The BCSMI provides these tools to improve motorists’ information about the roads so they can better plan their activities. With the implementation of planned infrastructure and equipment, agencies will have limited access to control partner agencies’ cameras to better address crash responses and improve traffic management. This organization also puts in place a basic agreement to coordinate traffic signal progression across governmental boundaries.

Public Hearing on FY 2012 Proposed Budget
The council will consider calling a public hearing on the city’s proposed 2011-2012 budget for Thursday, Sept. 8. State law requires notice of the public hearing on the budget to be made no fewer than 10 days before the hearing. After the public hearing, the council may insert or delete items or may increase or decrease items as long as the total of any increases or insertions do not increase the budget by 3 percent or more.

Regular Agenda

Citizen Appointments to Boards and Commissions
The council will discuss appointments to various city boards and commissions. From April through July, the City Secretary’s Office received 83 applications for the council’s consideration. The City Secretary’s Office is planning to conduct mandatory orientations for all boards, committees and commissions later this month.

Special Charter Amendment Election
The council will consider an ordinance calling a Special Election for Nov. 8, 2011 to amend the City Charter. If approved, voters would decide if city elections would be in May in odd-numbered years, which would require council members’ terms being extended from three to four years. Term limits would be increased from six to eight years. If the proposed charter amendment is defeated, the elections would move to November and terms would remain at three years with six-year term limits.

The proposed amendment is in response to a recently-enacted state law that brings Texas into compliance with the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. The act requires that ballots be provided to military and overseas voters 45 days before the election date, which leads to conflicts with the existing May election schedule. The election could cost the county as much as $70,000 dollars, and the city will have to pay a proportionate share of the expenses if the charter amendment is on the ballot.

Watch Live on Ch. 19
The workshop and regular meetings can be seen live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. Previous council meetings are archived on the site.

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