Previewing Thursday’s City Council Meetings (May 24)

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, May 24. 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 also can be accessed through the city’s Facebook page.

Workshop Meeting (5:30 p.m.)

Research Valley Partnership/Arts Council of Brazos Valley

The council will receive separate reports about the activities of the Research Valley Partnership and the Arts Council of Brazos Valley.

Community Emergency Operations Center

The council will discuss the Inter-local Agreement for the Community Emergency Operations Center, a collaborative effort among the cities of College Station and Bryan, Brazos County and Texas A&M. The CEOC has been in operation in downtown Bryan since April 2008. The agreement will be on the consent agenda during 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.

Residential Utility Deposits/Commercial Delinquent Fees

The council will consider increasing utility deposits for residential customers and raising the delinquent fee amount for commercial customers. Increasing the deposit will help offset the amount of write offs. Last year, College Station Utilities had to write-off more than $623,000 and already has written off more than $554,000 this year. Unfortunately, CSU’s good-paying customers eventually pay for these write-offs.

If the increase is approved, customers would be required at the time of connection to make a deposit of 1 ½ times the estimated average monthly utility bill, unless these exemptions are met:

  • Homeowners with a credit history of no more than two late payments in a 12-month period;
  • Renters enroll in Auto Pay, an automatic that electronically pays the bill each month.

The average deposit for a residential account receiving all services would be $350. The delinquent service fee for commercial customers would be $150 when services are disconnected for nonpayment and a reconnect has been requested. The increased amount is in line with the cost to provide this service, which the current charge of $25.00 does not cover.

University Drive Pedestrian Improvements

The council will consider approving a contract worth $235,619.85 with HDR Engineering, Inc., for the Phase 2 Preliminary Engineering Report for the University Drive Pedestrian Improvements. Phase 2 of the project will begin when the Texas Department of Transportation completes Phase 1. The report will take into consideration the high-density developments proposed in the Northgate area.

Proposed Atmos Rate Increase

The council will consider a resolution denying a rate increase proposed by the Mid-Tex Division of the Atmos Energy Corp. In January, Atmos filed a statement of intent seeking to increase the system-wide base rate (which excludes the cost of gas) by about 11.94 percent, including an increase of 13.6 percent for its residential customers. Adoption of this resolution prevents Atmos’ proposed increase from automatically going into effect June 11. The denial could be appealed to the Railroad Commission of Texas, but Atmos has expressed a desire to reach a settlement during this appeal.

Fire Station Alerting System

The council will consider approving the acceptance of a $210,168 grant from the 2011 Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The funds would be used to update the alerting system in all six fire stations to improve response times and to meet new firefighter health and safety standards.

Veterans Park Athletic Complex Field Expansion

The council will consider approving a professional services contract for $205,000 with PBK Sports for the design of the Veteran’s Park Synthetic Turf Fields Project, which includes the construction of two synthetic turf fields as well as parking and lighting.  A budget of $280,000 for the contract and related expenses from the Hotel Tax Fund is included on the budget amendment on the regular agenda.

Naming Policy for City Facilities

The council will consider approving revisions to the Naming Policy for City Facilities and Sub-facilities to more accurately detail the criteria and procedures. The changes include definitions of facilities and sub-facilities, naming criteria and guidelines, restrictions on the naming of facilities, procedures for the naming process and guidelines for the renaming process. The revisions also address plaques, markers and memorials.

Neighborhood Sidewalk Projects

The council will consider approving construction contracts of $117,219.25 to Vox Construction for sidewalks on Holleman Drive, Lassie Lane, and Pedernales Drive, and of $55,414 to Brazos Paving, Inc., for neighborhood sidewalks on Manuel Drive. The projects are being paid for with Community Development Block Grant-Recovery funds.

Regular Agenda

Lick Creek Greenway Trail

The council will hear a presentation about the Lick Creek Greenway Trail Project.  In 2008, voters approved the project to build about 4 miles of multi-use paths along Lick Creek from Creek View-Westfield Park to Lick Creek Park to connect residential neighborhoods and CSISD property. The project is also part of the city’s Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Master Plan.

In September, a preliminary design and route analysis was conducted and several public meetings were held to gather input. The preferred route is based on such factors as pedestrian and user safety, project development costs, environmental concerns and connections to major thoroughfares and trail systems, along with feedback from the public and potential users.  Public meetings were conducted to get input on the trail alignment.

In April, a majority of the Springbrook Homeowners Association voted to allow its board to negotiate with the city to dedicate about 18 acres of common area owned by the HOA for the trail. More than $4.4 million is budgeted from the Streets Capital Projects Fund.

Reinvestment Zone No. 17

After a public hearing, the council will consider approving the creation of Reinvestment Zone # No. 17 for commercial tax abatement in the Business Center at College Station. The Research Valley Partnership has agreed to purchase 10 acres in the Business Center for a $7 million office building. The prospect has agreed to lease the building and hire 330 full-time employees with a gross payroll of $12 million. College Station was selected as the sole finalist among three locations, with the others being out-of-state.

Budget Amendment No. 2

After a public hearing, the council will consider a $1,537,208 amendment to the 2011-2012 budget. For a complete list of items in the amendment, see pages 106-107 in the regular meeting packet.

TCEQ Public Meeting Request

The council will consider approving a request for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to schedule a public meeting to receive stakeholder comments about a proposed permit to operate a private landfill northwest of the intersection of Stewarts Meadow and Raymond Stotzer Parkway. The proposed private landfill will contain about 4.2 million cubic yards of material and will reach its capacity in 7.4 years. The scale of the proposed facility could significantly affect the quality of life for residents and property owners in College Station and its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

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