Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (May 22)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, May 22. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:05 p.m.

The workshop has started.

 6:15 p.m.

Council Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. These items were pulled for workshop discussion:

  1. Tax Abatement Guidelines: State law requires that cities adopt guidelines every two years regarding tax abatements for economic development. The proposed guidelines are unchanged from those adopted in 2012.
  2. Bee Creek Trunk Line Change OrderThe construction contract approved in 2013 included  a line item of 7,302 linear feet of aggregate grade 4 crushed stone embedment that was bid at a unit cost of $34 per linear foot. The total cost of $248,268 was not included in the contract total of $2,269,045. Due to groundwater encountered during the installation of the sewer line, 7,046 linear feet of crushed stone embedment was used. This change order adds this line item cost for a total addition of $239,564 to the contract.
  3. Verizon Long DistanceThe city was notified in April by Verizon that its existing Verizon long distance plan was being discontinued on June 15 and that the city needed to transition to a new plan to avoid a loss or disruption in long distance service. The only competitively bid contract available for Verizon service is offered through MiCTA, a purchasing group serving public sector and non-profit entities. Two years of service is estimated at no more than $70,000.

 6:47 p.m.

Automated Utility Meters

The council discussed the benefits, challenges and costs of implementing automated electric and water meters for College Station Utilities’ customers.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


7:01 p.m.

Games of Texas

The council was updated on preparations for the Games of Texas, an Olympic-style amateur sports festival scheduled for July 31-August 4 and again in 2015. Hosted by College Station, Bryan and Texas A&M, the event is funded by hotel occupancy taxes. Corpus Christi reported an economic impact of more than $15 million from the event in 2012-13.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


7:01 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:11 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:17 p.m.

National Public Works Week

Mayor Nancy Berry (center below) proclaimed May 18-24 as National Public Works Week. Accepting the proclamation were (l-r): Fleet Services Superintendent Troy Pemberton, Sanitation Superintendent Wally Urrutia, Public Works Assistant Director Emily Fisher, Public Works Assistant Director Pete Caler, Public Works Director Donald Harmon, and Senior Assistant City Engineer Troy Rother.

7:23 p.m.

Three people signed up to speak during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda:

  • As part of the Fallen Heroes program, Ben Roper recognized Army CWO Johnny Villareal Mata of Pecos, Texas, who was killed in Iraq in 2003. Roper also offered thanks to the men and women serving in the armed forces.
  • Shannon Overby of the BCS Convention and Visitors Bureau recognized Mayor Berry and Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski for participating in the recent Tourism Showdown.
  • Zachary Schertz asked about the funding for the Lincoln Recreation Center Expansion project.

7:30 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • Tax abatement guidelines.
  • A $1.26 million contract renewal with Grid Utility for electric system construction and maintenance labor.
  • A $45,000 economic development agreement payment to Reynolds & Reynolds for performance in 2013.
  • An $85,000 contract with Kimley-Horn Associates to update a transportation model of College Station’s roadway network and develop a priority list for future projects.
  • A temporary change of the speed limit on State Highway 6 to 60 mph between the north city limit and Barron Road until the Rock Prairie Bridge Expansion project is completed.
  • Authorized city staff to negotiate the purchase of right-of-way for the Nimitz Street Rehabilitation Project.
  • A $239,564 change order to the contract with Elliott Construction for the Bee Creek Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line Rehabilitation project.
  • An application for a $13,700 grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Brazos Valley Council of Governments.
  • A special warranty deed to convey 16.7 acres near the Rock Prairie Road Landfill to the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency.
  • A $98,004.57 change order to the contract with G.W. Williams, Inc. for the Hike and Bike Phase II project.
  • Reimbursements of $2,645.12 for the State Highway 40 project and $216,025.20 for the FM 2154 Widening project to the Texas Department of Transportation.
  • A $238,700 contract with Hawkins Architecture for the Lincoln Recreation Center project.
  • The transfer of $49,600 from Water Operating Fund contingency for emergency repairs to a 30-inch water main.
  • Additional grant funding of $46,327 to the Brazos Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau for FY14. The amended FY14 funding agreement is $174,327.
  • A $94,431 contract with Dudley Construction for the Southwest Park Phase II Improvements project.
  • The amended budget and a funding amendment of $46,313 with the Brazos Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau for expenses related to the relocation of CVB offices.
  • A depository pledge agreement with Branch Banking and Trust Company that authorizes the mayor to execute a new collateral agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank and BB&T.
  • An interlocal agreement with Brazos County and the City of Bryan for the application and acceptance of a 2014 Justice Assistance Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Denied a rate increase requested by Atmos Energy.
  • A contract not to exceed $10,775 with Sungard Public Sector for the purchase of an IVR interface for the SPS Customer Information System module.
  • A bid and annual price agreement for $89,659 with BWI Companies for the purchase of athletic field maintenance materials including fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, winter over-seed, infield material, grass seed and turf amendments.
  • A two-year contract for $70,000 with Verizon Business Network Services for long distance phone services.

7:37 p.m. 

Monograms & More Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved the rezoning of about two acres at 1806 Welsh Ave. from General Commercial to Commercial Industrial to allow for the expansion of Monograms & More.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


7:45 p.m.

Standard of Care for Youth Programs

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a standard of care ordinance for the city’s youth programs as required by the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. The standards apply to city recreation programs for children between 5-13 years old.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


7:45 p.m.

The regular meeting has been adjourned, and the workshop will resume.

7:55 p.m.

Lick Creek Hike & Bike Trail

The council was updated on the $4.4 million Lick Creek Hike and Bike Trail project, which was approved by voters in the 2008 bond election. The four-mile trail of multi-use paths runs along Lick Creek from Creek View Park to Lick Creek Park, connecting residential neighborhoods to school district property. The final design of the project has been completed and bid packages will soon be available.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


8:13 p.m.

Lick Creek Nature Center

The council was updated on the $2.5 million Lick Creek Nature Center project, an educational facility that was approved by voters in the 2008 bond election. The final design of the projects have been completed and bid packages will soon be available.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


8:28 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, the workshop meeting was adjourned. The council meets again June 12.

What do you think about tonight’s discussions and actions?