Five Things to Watch at Thursday’s City Council Meetings

The College Station City Council will meet on Thursday at city hall for its workshop (3 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings.  With so many key items on this week’s agenda, the council will start its workshop at 3 p.m., and after breaking for the executive session at 5, will resume the workshop at 6. The regular meeting will start at 7 p.m., as usual.

Here are five things to watch on Thursday:

1.      FY13 Proposed Budget and Tax Rate: After reviewing the $253.1 million budget proposal and making final changes during the workshop, the council will adopt the budget and new tax rate in the regular meeting.  The proposed budget reduces the property tax rate for the second straight year and focuses on providing efficient core services with an emphasis on public safety and infrastructure. The city’s FY12 tax rate already was the fifth lowest in the state among similar-sized cities. A 5 percent increase is proposed for wastewater rates, but the budget includes no other utility rate increases.

2.      College Station Conference Center: In early July, the College Station Conference Center was closed because of safety concerns. In late August, the council received a report about the overall condition of the building. During Thursday’s workshop, staff will provide a brief history of the facility, an overview of its operations and discuss options for its future. In August, staff estimated that necessary repairs and upgrades would cost between $1.43 million and $1.82 million.

3.      Lick Creek Nature Trail: In August, the council approved an on-street option for the Lick Creek Greenway Trail that will run through the Springbrook Estates subdivision. At the same time, council asked staff to explore the possibility of building a nature trail or footpath in the area along Lick Creek. The Springbrook Homeowners Association has thanked the council for the idea but rejected the concept. The council will now decide what to do next.

4.      Lick Creek Nature Center: The Lick Creek Park Nature Center Advisory Committee has recommended a plan for the Lick Creek Nature Center that includes a main building, a small storage and maintenance building and an outdoor classroom. The main building includes restrooms, offices, storage, a display area, workroom, information station and a meeting room. About $2.5 million is budgeted for the project in the Parks Capital Improvement Project Fund. The nature center was approved by voters as part of the 2008 bond election.

5.      Cancellation of General Election: Since, John Nichols and James Benham are running unopposed for two city council seats, the council will consider cancelling the city’s general election in November, effectively declaring both candidates elected. Nichols would fill Katy-Maries Lyles’ Place 4 seat and Benham would replace Dave Ruesink in Place 6. The action would not affect the special election for the city’s nine proposed charter amendments.

The 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.

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