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

2014 Council

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Sept. 22. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

Today’s meetings are earlier than usual so that council members can attend The Arts Council’s Celebrate the Arts event at the Brazos County Expo.

2:00 p.m.

The council has gone into executive session and will return at 3 p.m. for the workshop.

3:04 p.m.

The workshop has started. Councilwoman Blanche Brick announced that the council authorized City Manager Kelly Templin to settle the lawsuit entitled Conrad Edward Juliao v. City of College Station in an amount not to exceed $251,000. Note (9/27): The correct amount is $215,000, not $251,000.

3:18 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

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

  • Financial Advisor Services: In October 2013, council approved a contract with First Southwest Company for a one-year term with up to four one-year options for renewal. This renewal is the third renewal option, and the renewal amount is not to exceed $150,000.
  • Greens Prairie Trail Widening Project: The $4.9 million contract with Hassell Construction is for the widening of Greens Prairie Trail from Wellborn Road to Royder Road. The project includes changing the two-lane asphalt road to a four-lane concrete road with raised medians.
  • Greens Prairie Trail Speed Limit: The speed limit along Greens Prairie Trail from Wellborn Road to Royder Road would be reduced to 25 mph for the duration of the Greens Prairie Trail Widening Project.
  • City-Branded Uniforms: The purchases will be made as needed during the term of the agreement. About 70 percent ($84,000) of the total expenditure will be used by the Parks and Recreation Department for sports leagues. The cost of the shirts will be reimbursed by registration fees charged to program participants. The other 30 percent ($36,000) will be used for employee uniforms for Fire, Public Works, Electric, etc.
  • Four-way Stop at Market-Cottage: The ordinance codifies a 4-way stop at the intersection of Market Street with Cottage Lane due to driver confusion and increasing traffic volume.
  • U-Turn Prohibition at Holleman-Market: The ordinance prohibits U-turns for vehicles traveling southeast on Holleman Drive South at the intersection with Market Street. The intersection lacks sufficient pavement width to complete a U-Turn movement without going over the curb or backing up and making a multi-point turn.
  • No Parking on Cottage, Market and Junction Boys: The ordinance removes parking along Market Street, Cottage Lane, and Junction Boys Road. As part of the traffic mitigation plan, a traffic signal was designed and is being installed at the intersection of Market Street with Holleman Drive. The removal of parking will provide safe and efficient signal operations.

3:30 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items, and committee reports. 

3:30 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

3:34 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda. Ben Roper recognized Army Spc. Israel Garza as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 25-year-old Lubbock native died April 4, 2004 when his unit was attacked in Baghdad.

3:34 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • Renewal of a contract not to exceed $60,000 with Cal’s Body Shop for automobile and truck paint and body repairs.
  • A $256,384 contract with Utility Restoration Services for pad mount equipment repair and restoration.
  • A $53,045 contract with Elliott Construction for emergency sewer line repairs in Woodson Village.
  • The purchase of up to $60,000 of bulk chlorine from Brenntag.
  • Bids totaling $126,000 for city-branded uniforms for parks athletic programs and other city departments from CC Creations ($46,000), Monograms and More ($40,000), and Promotional Designs ($40,000).
  • A financial advisory services consultant contract not to exceed $150,000 with Hilltop Securities, Inc.
  • The expenditure of FY17 funds for items exempt from competitive bidding as described in the Texas Local Government Code and other expenditures for inter-local contracts or fees mandated by state law that are more than $50,000.
  • Premiums of $464,350 for Excess Liability and Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Property/Boiler & Machinery, Commercial Crime, EMT Liability, and Auto Property Damage policies. 
  • A $3 million contract with Brazos Paving for Type D hot mix asphalt and emulsion.
  • A $20,000 increase in the blanket order with Chastang Ford for parts and repair services for FY16.
  • A $427,000 contract with Jones & Carter for engineering services related to the design of the Cain/Deacon Rail Road Crossing Switch Project.
  • A $4.92 million contract with Hassell Construction for the Greens Prairie Trail Widening Project.
  • Temporarily changed the speed limit to 25 mph on Greens Prairie Trail between FM 2154 to Royder Road during the Greens Prairie Trail Widening Project.
  • An advance funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for signal improvements at the intersection of Harvey Road and George Bush Drive East. The city’s portion of the project is estimated at $75,000.
  • An advance funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for signal improvements at the intersection of FM 2818 and Longmire Drive. The city’s portion of the project is estimated at $75,000.
  • All-way stop control at the intersection of Market Street and Cottage Lane.
  • No U-turns for southeast-bound Holleman Drive South at the intersection of Holleman and Market Street.
  • Removed parking along Market Street, Cottage Lane, and Junction Boys Road.
  • A contract not to exceed $230,000 with Xpedient Mail for printing and mailing utility bills, late notices, and inserts.
  • Scheduled a public hearing about possible roadway impact fees for Nov. 10.
  • A $389,313 bid award for the annual blanket purchase of three phase pad-mounted transformers.
  • Termination of a contract with N-LINE Traffic Maintenance for Texas A&M football postgame traffic control.
  • A contract not to exceed $62,000 with Buyers Barricades Houston for Texas A&M football postgame traffic control.

3:39 p.m.

FY16 Budget Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a $2.4 million transfer from the Community Development Fund to a new Special Revenue Fund that satisfies federal requirements for Community Development Block Grant funds.  

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

4:01 p.m.

FY17 City Budget Adoption

The council voted 6-1 to adopt the city’s FY17 budget and voted unanimously to ratify an increase in property tax revenue. Councilman James Benham voted against the budget motion.

The $341 million budget includes $232.8 million for city operations and $108.2 million for capital projects.  The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

4:08 p.m.

FY17 Property Tax Rate

The council voted unanimously to adopt a two-cent increase in the city’s property tax rate to 47.25 cents per $100 of assessed value effective Oct. 1. The tax rate will generate about $37 million to fund general debt service and part of the city’s operations and maintenance costs.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

4:09 p.m.

City Manager Templin thanked the council and city staff, especially the Fiscal Services Department, for their work on the budget.

4:12 p.m.

Electric Rate Reduction

The council voted unanimously to approve a one percent decrease in the electric rate effective Oct. 1. The reduction will save customers an estimated $951,464 in FY17.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

4:20 p.m.

Wastewater Rate Increase

The council voted unanimously to approve an eight percent increase in the rates for wastewater services effective Oct. 1. The motion also clarified service connection responsibilities and established a fire flow test fee. 

The rate increase was needed to keep up with the demands of the city’s rapid growth and is expected to generate about $1.2 million a year.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

4:22 p.m.

Public Utility Easement Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to vacate part of a public utility easement in the Spring Creek Commons near Fitch Parkway and Highway 6. The abandonment will allow for development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

5:16 p.m.

Water/Wastewater Impact Fees

After a public hearing, the council voted 4-3 to approve system-wide impact fees for water and wastewater services. Councilmen Benham, Councilman Karl Mooney, and Councilwoman Julie Schultz voted against the motion. Note (9/26): Mooney has clarified that he voted for the motion, not against it, making the official tally 5-2.

An earlier motion to phase in the fees over three years failed, 5-2. Schultz and Benham voted for the motion.

The one-time fees will be assessed on new development to pay part of the costs of providing infrastructure in high-growth areas and will generate about $32.4 million in the next 10 years. The fees will be phased in over two years and will help reduce future rate increases for all customers.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

5:16 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, Oct. 13.


Colin KillianAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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