City Council Preview (Feb. 23)

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. 23. 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 detailed 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.)

Economic Development Master Plan

The council will hear a presentation on the development of an economic development master plan. The preparation of the plan was included in the approved Fiscal Year 2012 budget and will assist the city’s efforts outlined in the adopted Council Strategic Plan.  Staff has identified a consultant team for the project, developed a scope and negotiated a contract amount.  The project will be led by the Planning & Development Services Department, which will be assisted by the City Manager’s Office and the consultant team.  This approach allows the city to secure a higher level of services from the consultant team and will do so at essentially the same cost as originally budgeted with the Comprehensive Plan. The contract is on the consent agenda in the regular meeting.

Wind Watts Rates

The council will receive a presentation on lowering the rates charged for wind power through the Wind Watts program. At its planning retreat in late January, the council asked staff to remove the premium portion of the Wind Watts wind energy rider that provided funds for green initiatives. The premium rate generated about $40,000 in Fiscal Year 2011, which was 75 percent of the total Wind Watts revenue. The proposed rate changes would be take effect March 1.  The council will consider the proposal as part of the consent agenda in the regular meeting.

Regular Meeting (7 p.m.)

Consent Agenda

This is not a complete list of consent agenda items. Refer to the regular meeting agenda for a list of all the consent items.

Medical District Resolution

The council will consider approving a resolution to support planning efforts for the Medical District and acknowledge the economic development initiatives of the planned infrastructure improvements in the area. This resolution is for work the city has already done and does not approve the draft Medical District Plan. A council-supported plan for the district and infrastructure improvements in the area could be beneficial to the highly-competitive application process regarding a federal grant the council approved in October for an affordable senior rental housing development. The grant must be approved by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

Contract Administration Procedures

The council will consider approving a resolution to improve the efficiency of contract administration procedures. In 2010, the council authorized the city manager to execute standard form contracts for construction and professional services. This resolution would further streamline the routing process for contracts that require council approval.

Criminal Justice Division Grant

The council will consider the acceptance of an Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division Grant, which will provide for the purchase of an all terrain vehicle to be used in the Northgate Entertainment District and at other special events where large groups gather. The addition of this equipment will allow officers better mobility and will provide them the ability to travel across large areas quickly when responding to calls. The grant will also provide for the purchase of digital cameras for patrol officers, who use them to gather evidence. The CJD grants have no local match requirements but are provided only for the initial equipment purchase. Associated costs such as maintenance, repair, or replacement will be the responsibility of the police department.

Impact Fees Semi-Annual Report

The council will consider accepting the city’s semi-annual report on impact fees. The City of  College Station has five impact fee areas where associated utility construction is complete. Since the council last updated the fees, the projected densities in several of the impact fee areas have changed. An update had been in progress but needed to consider the Water and Wastewater Master Plans that were under development, as well as a city-wide impact fee study that was underway. Both of those projects have been completed.

Economic Development Master Plan Contract

The council will consider approving a contract not to exceed $94,855 for professional services in preparing the city’s Economic Development Master Plan. The council will hear a detailed presentation about the plan and contract during its workshop.

Wind Watts Rate Decrease

The council will consider lowering the rates charged for wind power in the Wind Watts program. The council will receive a presentation on the proposed changes in its workshop.

Northgate Pedestrian Safety Improvements

The council will consider approving a second Advance Funding Agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the College Main Plaza and Patricia/Lodge Street Improvements. The project has been a corporative effort by the city, TxDOT, Texas A&M and Northgate merchants to improve pedestrian safety in the Northgate area. The project is expected to be completed this spring.

Rock Prairie Road Bridge

The council will consider approving an Advance Funding Agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the Rock Prairie Road Bridge Improvements. The agreement will cover environmental clearance, design and public engagement. The Bryan-College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization identified the Rock Prairie Bridge as the top priority in its Metropolitan Transportation Plan and received $4.6 million in state funds for the project.

Georgie K. Fitch Park Improvements

The council will consider a construction contract worth $95,625 with VOX Construction for improvements at Georgie K. Fitch Park, including sidewalks, area lights, trees, irrigation, signage and a drinking fountain. Built in 1983, the 11-acre park is located at 1000 Balcones. The project is expected to take 60 days. Funding is available through federal Community Development Block Grants.

Regular Agenda

Rock Prairie Road West Right-of-Way

After a public hearing, the council will consider approving a resolution determining the public necessity to acquire right-of-way and easements along Rock Prairie Road West between State Highway 6 and Normand Drive to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety and pedestrian mobility as the Medical District develops. Approved by voters in the 2008 bond election, the project will provide for additional travel lanes and will allow the city to proceed with design and construction of improvements to complement the new grade separation at State Highway 6 and Rock Prairie Road, which is in the design phase.

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