Live Blog: Thursday’s City Council Meetings (Aug. 9)

This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Aug. 9. It’s not the official minutes.

The workshop and regular meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. An archive of previous council meetings also is available on the site.

6:05 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started. Council members Jess Fields and Dave Ruesink are absent.

6:44 p.m.

Proposed City Budget

The council got its first look at the city’s proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget, which includes a reduced property tax rate and no rate increases for most utilities for the second straight year, including electric and water. The tax rate is the city’s lowest in 12 years. A public hearing will be Aug. 23, and the council is set to adopt the budget on Sept. 13. The council will review the proposed budget at a series of workshops scheduled for Aug. 16-17 and Aug. 20-21.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

6:58 p.m.

Proposed BVSWMA Budget

The council reviewed the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency’s proposed FY13 budget, which was approved by the BVSWMA Board of Directors in June.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

6:59 p.m.

The workshop meeting has been suspended. The regular meeting will start momentarily.

7:04 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:15 p.m.

Three citizens spoke during hear visitors to support salvaging the College Station Conference Center. One also spoke in support of the city’s water aerobics program.

7:16 p.m.

Consent Agenda

By a 5-0 vote, the council approved of the entire consent agenda:

  • Remove references to the Cemetery Committee and transfer its responsibilities to the city manager or his delegate.
  • Adoption of the Community Development PY 2012 (FY 2013) Action Plan and Budget.
  • A construction contract for $194,298.40 to Dudley Construction for the Wolf Pen Creek Erosion Control Project.
  • A public hearing on the city’s proposed budget for Thu., Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. at city hall.
  • A change order to a contract with Bleyl & Associates for the Southwood Utility Rehabilitation Project for a deduction of $51.271.54.
  • Renewal of a service contract not to exceed $60,000 with Cal’s Body Shop for annual automobile and truck paint, and body repairs.
  • Rejected a proposal for street sweeping services.

8:07 p.m.

Lick Creek Greenway Trail Project

By a 5-0 vote, the council approved the design of the Lick Creek Greenway Trail project using the consultant’s preferred alignment for Segment B (State Highway 6 to Fitch Parkway) and Segment C (Fitch to Lick Creek Park), and an on-street option for Segment A (Creek View Park to State Highway 6). The council also voted 5-0 to direct staff to explore the possibility of a greenway footpath along Lick Creek in the Springbrook area.

In the 2008 bond election, voters approved the project to include about 4 miles of multi-use paths along Lick Creek from Creek View-Westfield Park to Lick Creek Park. The trail will connect residential neighborhoods and College Station Independent School District property.

Last fall, Halff Associates, Inc. began a preliminary design and route analysis for the proposed trail, and meetings were conducted to gather public input. Halff’s based its recommendation for the preferred route on factors that include pedestrian and user safety, project development costs, environmental concerns, connections to major thoroughfares and trail systems, and feedback from the public and potential users. City staff and the design team conducted additional meetings to get public input on the trail alignment.

In April, a majority of the Springbrook Homeowners Association voted to allow its board to negotiate the dedication of about 18 acres of common area it owned to allow for the trail’s construction. Some homeowners expressed strong opposition to the land dedication, and in May, the council asked staff to allow the HOA 60 more days to explore the issue. Since the issues apparently remained, staff recommended that the project proceed using the on-street option for Segment A instead of the alignment through the common area.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:40 p.m.

Conference Center Evaluation

The council heard a presentation on the condition of the College Station Conference Center, which was closed in early July for safety reasons. In May, the city hired Hawkins Architecture to evaluate the facility and prepare a cost estimate for updates and corrections.  On July 5, the firm notified the city of that the facility had significant structural issues and recommended that it be closed. City staff estimates that the repairs and upgrades necessary to re-open the facility would cost between $1.43 million and $1.82 million. Staff will come back to council at a later date with options and recommendations.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:47 p.m.

November Election

By a 5-0 vote, the council ordered a general and special election for Nov. 6 to elect two city council members (places 4 and 6), and to submit proposed City Charter amendments to the voters. The ordinance also establishes early voting locations and polling places, and makes provisions for conducting the election. The city will have to pay proportionate expenses for the election.

9:13 p.m.

Park Land Dedication Fees

By a 5-0 vote, the council approved changes to the city’s Park Land Dedication and Development Fees.The philosophy of the fees are that new park demand should be paid for by the residents who create the demand, not by existing residents. The Community Park Development fees are derived from giving developers a 75 percent discount on the cost of single-family community park development. The multi-family development fee is calculated at 50 percent of the cost. The calculations reflect new neighborhood and community park standards in which neighborhood parks have less intense development and community parks support more intense activity. Overall fees will decrease, with single-family seeing the most significant decline.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

9:53 p.m.

Sidewalk Placement and Width Revisions

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-0 to revise city code regarding sidewalk placement and width. In the last year, city staff has had regular meetings with the local homebuilders association and other development interests to discuss standards and practices in the development process.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

9:54 p.m.

Public Utility Easement Abandonment on Redmond Terrace

By a 5-0 vote, the council approved an ordinance vacating and abandoning a 995.6-square foot, 5-foot wide public utility easement on Redmond Terrace to allow for development.

10:14 p.m.

Ad Hoc Committee for Compensation and Benefits

The council received a report from the Ad Hoc Committee for Compensation and Benefits, which was created in May to review the city’s compensation and benefit policies. Compensation costs make up the largest portion of the city’s operating budget, with total costs of more than $60 million in FY12.

Editor’s Note: Due to technical problems, we can’t add the PowerPoint presentation right now. We’ll insert it here when the problem has been resolved.

10:15 p.m.

The regular meeting has been adjourned. The council will now finish up the workshop agenda.

10:19 p.m.

After discussing the council calendar, future agenda items and receiving committee reports, the workshop was adjourned. The council’s next workshop and regular meeting will be Aug. 23.

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