City Council Preview (Nov. 21)

Here’s a quick look at some of the items the College Station City Council will be considering Monday, Nov. 21, at its workshop and regular meetings. This blog is not intended as a complete and official agenda. Click here to see the entire agenda packets.

Workshop Meeting (3 p.m.)

Local Preference for Bids/Contracts

The council will consider a local preference policy in bid/contract awards on a case-by-case basis. The city can legally give preference to a bidder whose principal place of business is in College Station if the bid is within 3 percent of the lowest bid price. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t also Bryan for inclusion as local. The council must determine that the local bidder offers the best combination of price and additional economic development opportunities.

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.

Recycling Grant

The Brazos Valley Council of Governments has $51,672 in funding from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for FY 2012 solid waste implementation project grants. The city’s Public Works Department has completed the grant application and is requesting $10,700 to purchase a smart phone application called My-waste and Brazos Valley Earth Day advertising.

The smart phone application, produced by Municipal Media Corp. Recycle Calendars, can be customized to any municipal solid waste program. It would provide local information such as recycling guides and directories, bulk garbage, composting and collection schedules tailored to each household. Residents could download the free application and set it up to include personalized schedules. Brazos Valley Earth Day educates residents about the importance of waste reduction and recycling efforts along with other important environmental issues such as water and energy conservation. Local businesses and groups offer residents a wide variety of information and display their information and materials at no cost. Funding will allow the City of College Station to continue participating as a Hosting Entity with the City of Bryan, Texas A&M, Brazos Valley Council of Governments, Keep Brazos Beautiful and Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency, Inc.

If the grant is awarded, the Public Works Department will provide $1,000 in matching funds. Staff will evaluate My-waste in 2012 and make recommendations for 2013 based on the program’s effectiveness. If the service is successful, staff will apply for annual grants to continue the service. The application costs about $2,200 per year.

University Drive Sidewalk Improvements

The council will consider a professional services contract of $75,595 to Gattis Engineering, LLC for the University Drive Sidewalk Improvements Project. Funds from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) have been identified for the design of new sidewalks along University Drive between Texas Avenue and Fire Station No. 6, which will open in late 2012.  Additional CDBG funds are expected to be used for construction of the sidewalks in 2013 if sufficient funds are available.

Wellborn Road Sidewalk Improvements

The council will consider a professional services contract of $98,229 to Gattis Engineering, LLC for the Wellborn Road (FM 2154) Sidewalk Improvements Project. Funds from Community Development Block Grants have been identified for the design of sidewalks along Wellborn Road between Southwest Parkway and Luther Street. CDBG funds are expected to be used for construction of the sidewalks in 2013 if sufficient funds are available.

Barron Road Widening Project

The council will consider a change order to the construction contract for $36,460.94 with Brazos Paving for the Barron Road Widening Phase 2 Project. The change order will add a short concrete retaining wall to reduce maintenance, and school zone signs and flashing beacons. The steep slope between the privacy fences and the edge of the sidewalk creates maintenance challenges and can promote erosion. The retaining wall would allow the contractor to grade a flatter slope. The original traffic signing and striping plans did not include the school zone signs and flashing beacons. The Barron Road Widening Phase 2 project has been underway since December 2010 and is on track to be completed next spring.

Fire Equipment Purchases

The council will consider authorizing $70,478.15 for the purchase of fire equipment and supplies from Casco Industries Inc., including self-contained breathing apparatus equipment and one thermal-imaging camera. Casco Industries Inc. is the sole source for these items. The authorization also will include fire engine equipment such as nozzles, adapters, monitors, valves, wrenches, straps and cones. The equipment would add another engine to the College Station Fire Department’s fleet for Fire Station No. 6, which will open in late 2012.

Regular Agenda

Bond Payment on University Drive Property

In 2009, the City of College Station issued $31.3 million in Certificates of Obligation, including $2.6 million to acquire about 7.2 acres of land at 701 University Drive East as the site for a convention center. In July, the city council halted plans to build a convention center on the property. As a result, the council must take remedial action to maintain the tax-exempt status of the Certificates of Obligation. The City’s Bond Counsel and City Attorney have determined that the best course of action is to pay off the part of the bond associated with the property, which would remove the federal tax limitations on its use. Since the bonds are not callable until 2019, an escrow account will need to be established.

The amount of bonds to be paid off is $2.3 million, and the amount needed to fund the escrow account is $2.7 million. Funding sources include a $2.3 million principal payment from the Hotel Tax Fund and a $410,367 interest payment from the Chimney Hill Fund. When the property is eventually sold, the proceeds will go back to the Hotel Tax Fund. A budget amendment will be prepared for the Dec. 8 council meeting to appropriate the funds.

November Election Returns

The council will canvass returns and declare the result of the Nov. 8 special election on Proposition No. 1: Shall the Charter of the City of College Station be amended to provide for the regular election of the Mayor and City Council to be held in May of odd-numbered years with the Mayor and City Council serving four (4) year term lengths for no more than eight (8) consecutive years? The official canvass of the election would reflect that 2,204 votes were received for the proposition and 3,369 votes were cast against it. The result is that Proposition No. 1 failed and that the city’s charter will not be amended.

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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