Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (July 24)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, July 24. 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.

5:35 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started. Councilmembers James Benham and John Nichols are absent. Benham is joining the meeting through a remote internet connection.

5:51 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

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

  • AQHA Youth World Cup: This item is a resolution ratifying an event support contract with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Brazos County Expo and the American Quarter Horse Association, and a joinder agreement with the CVB, for the 2014 AQHA Youth World Cup event earlier this month. The estimated incremental increase in tax revenue to the state from the event is $71,048, and the local match required to establish the Event Trust Fund is $11,368. The B/CS CVB will pay all expenses, including the local match for the trust fund, and will not approach the city for reimbursement of those funds.

6:29 p.m. 

Kyle Field Game Day Study

The council discussed recommendations to handle the game day increase in Texas A&M football attendance, including clearing traffic congestion faster, providing timely information to motorists, and increasing awareness of local dining, hotel and entertainment options.

In January, The Texas A&M University System contracted with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to conduct a study to develop a traffic management plan for game day football operations, including improvements in transit operations, signalization, traffic flow, pedestrian paths, and game day parking options.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


6:46 p.m.

Wildfire Assessment

The council was updated about areas of the city that are vulnerable to wildfires. The College Station Fire Department worked closely with the Texas A&M Forest Service to conduct the wildfire threat assessment.

The complete 201-page assessment starts on page 7 in tonight’s workshop agenda packet.

7:15 p.m.

2015 Bond Citizen Advisory Committee

The council discussed the creation and appointment of a citizen advisory committee for the 2015 bond election. Staff recommends the establishment of subcommittees covering parks, facilities and transportation. Other recommendations include limiting the committee’s size to no more than 23 people.

The council will come back with a resolution at a future meeting.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


7:15 p.m.

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

7:23 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:29 p.m.

Keep Brazos Beautiful Presentation

Representatives of Keep Brazos Beautiful announced to the council and Mayor Nancy Berry (center below) that Keep Texas Beautiful recently recognized KBB with the Governor’s Community Achievement Award of Excellence. The award was given for KBB’s work to preserve a clean and beautiful environment to be enjoyed now and by future generations. Also recognized for individual outstanding achievement was College Station Recycling Coordinator Heather Woolwine (third from left).


7:33 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Two 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.

 7:34 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • An annual agreement for $54,820 with Texas A&M University for the Fitlife testing of College Station firefighters.
  • An exception to policy to allow Mrs. Joanna Butenko to construct sewer infrastructure necessary to connect her home to the city sewer system.
  • A bid award of $52,998 for the purchase of electrical substation equipment to Wesco Distribution ($23,898), and ratification of a purchase order issued to Alstom Grid for ($29,100).
  • An annual blanket purchase order of $60,000 with Heil of Texas for parts and repair services for city refuse trucks.
  • An interlocal agreement with the City of Bryan for landscape maintenance services on Health Science Center (HSC) Parkway between Turkey Creek Road and State Highway 47.
  • A change order of $8,550 to the contract with Gattis Engineering for the Nimitz Street Rehabilitation.
  • The proposed Community Development FY 2015 (PY 2014) Action Plan and Budget.
  • The semi-annual report on impact fees.
  • An annual price agreement not to exceed $783,000 with Brazos Paving for the purchase of cement stabilized base rock and Type D grade recycled crushed concrete base.
  • An amendment to the city’s traffic code on to remove parking along sections of Davidson Drive, Haverford Road, Kenyon Drive, Los Portales Drive and Claremont Drive in the University Heights development.
  • A $596,871 contract with JaCody, Inc., for an addition to the East District Maintenance Shop, and the rejection of a bid for the same project.
  • An event support contract with the CVB, Brazos County Expo and the American Quarter Horse Association, and a joinder agreement with the CVB, for the 2014 AQHA Youth World Cup event.
  • A real estate contract to authorize the purchase of an easement needed for the FM 2154 Sidewalk Improvements Project and public utilities.
  • Renewal of an annual award of $66,530.46 with Greenville Transformer Company for transformer repair and rebuild services.

7:49 p.m.

Sign Ordinance Changes

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved amendments to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to allow for larger fuel signs and address regulations for electronic reader boards.

The ordinance expands the area of fuel signage from 16 square feet to 24 square feet. It also allows the message on an electronic reader board to change every 15 minutes. The former ordinance allowed it to change every 24 hours. A new section was also created to provide standards for brightness, method for changing the message, ambient controls, and malfunctions.

A local businessman requested the changes, and other citizens voiced support at a May council meeting. Staff also held a stakeholder’s meeting in June to present the proposed changes and worked closely with representatives from the sign industry to assure the requirements were consistent with industry standards. The language for sign brightness and ambient lighting for reader boards was recommended by the International Sign Association and is used by a number of Texas cities.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


8:05 p.m.

Budget Amendment Enhances Code Enforcement

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a $224,489 amendment to the city’s FY14 budget that includes the addition of a staff assistant to Code Enforcement and elevates a part-time code enforcement officer to full-time. The staff assistant will provide administrative support that allows code enforcement officers to spend more time in the field enforcing city codes.

The largest part of the budget amendment is a $180,974 reimbursement to the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 2012, the council approved a funding agreement with EMBRACE Brazos Valley to provide $198,607.50 in federal HOME Investment Partnership Funds to construct two new single‐family homes that would be available for income eligible homebuyers.

EMBRACE was reimbursed $180,973.90 for lot acquisition and construction costs. However, staff identified a misuse of funds when EMBRACE used a reimbursement on another project outside of the city limits instead of repaying a line of credit at the bank. HUD will be repaid from the city’s general fund. City Manager Kelly Templin stressed that city staff was not at fault and is pursuing corrective action to resolve the issue. If the funds are reimbursed by EMBRACE, the money will go back into the general fund.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


 8:31 p.m. 

Certificate of Obligation  

The council unanimously authorized the issuance of up to $40.5 million in Texas Certificates of Obligation, Series 2014 to fund street, information technology, electric, debt issuance costs, and water and wastewater improvements. The issue will not affect the property tax rate or utility rates.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


8:31 p.m.

General Obligation Improvement and Re-funding Bonds 

The council unanimously authorized the issuance of up to $38 million in Texas General Obligation Improvement and Re-funding Bonds, Series 2014, to take advantage of lower interest rates. Refunding is issuing new debt to replace and pay off existing debt. The re-funding will save the city almost 10 percent – about $2.6 million — over the remaining life of the issues.

Approved by voters in the 2008 bond election, the debt issue will provide resources for street and transportation projects, traffic signals, pedestrian improvements, hike and bike trails, parks and park facilities improvements and the library expansion.

The bonds that will be re-funded are Utility System Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2005A ($3,425,000), Certificates of Obligation, Series 2006 ($4,225,000), General Obligation Bonds, Series 2006 ($4,285,000), and Utility System Revenue Bonds, Series 2006 ($10,750,000). The re-funding will not affect the property tax rate.

Related Link:

Moody’s Assigns AA2 Rating to City of College Station’s Bonds (July 24, 2014)

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:


8:31 p.m.

The regular meeting was adjourned. The council will resume the workshop agenda.

8:40 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, the workshop meeting was adjourned. The council meets again Aug. 14.

What items caught your attention tonight? 



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