Author Archive

10 ways to trim your household energy costs

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

With College Station residents sheltering in place during the COVID-19 outbreak, households are using substantially more electricity. 

Here are 10 ways you can trim your electric costs:

  1. The most essential step is raising your thermostat setting. Just two degrees above your usual setting can cut your cooling costs by five percent. 
  2. Use ceiling fans rather than air conditioning as much as possible. Fans use about as much energy as a light bulb.
  3. Turn off lights, fans, and electronics when a room is unoccupied.
  4. Replace incandescent and CFL lighting with low-wattage LEDs, which use 50-90 percent less energy.
  5. Do your laundry in the evening or at night when temperatures are cooler.
  6. Use cold water to wash your clothes.
  7. Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load.
  8. Check your air conditioning filter and replace it frequently. Dirty filters can increase costs by about 20 percent.
  9. Consider a Wi-Fi programmable thermostat, which allows precise control of your cooling system.
  10. 10. Take advantage of our Energy Back IIResidential LED Lighting, and Connected Thermostat rebates.

Report power outages, water line breaks, wastewater spills, and backups, and other electric, water, or wastewater problems to 855.528.4278 — and have your CSU account number ready. Our dispatch operates 24 hours a day. 

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our community, College Station Utilities remains committed to providing you with reliable electric power while taking the proper precautions to protect the health and safety of our staff.

For more information on how to reduce your electricity costs, contact me at pmcintyre@cstx.gov or 979-764-6343. For billing questions, contact Utility Customer Service at 979-764-3535. 

 


0000072EPAbout the Blogger

Patrick McIntyre is the energy coordinator for College Station Utilities and is responsible for energy conservation and key accounts programs. Pat joined CSU as a key accounts representative in 2009. He previously worked for 17 years in the manufacturing sector and eight years as a consultant with the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Pat graduated from Texas A&M in 1982 with B.S. in Industrial Distribution and has lived in the area since 1984.

 


 

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How you can help solid waste collections run smoothly

By Wally Urrutia, Solid Waste Manager 

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, the City of College Station’s Solid Waste Division continues to provide essential solid waste collection services to our residents.

Since Mayor Karl Mooney issued the shelter-in-place order last week, we’ve seen an increase in household garbage, recycling, and bulk waste. At the same time, we’ve temporarily reduced service days to one or two a week for our commercial business customers — mostly restaurants.

On average, each of our collection trucks collects waste from 1,300 homes a day. We ask for your patience and understanding as our solid waste workers do their best to take care of our community’s needs as safely and efficiently as we can.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Secure all household garbage bags in your bins. Don’t place loose items.
  • Place your residential carts at least three feet away from obstructions.
  • Don’t place household garbage out on your bulk day. It can create health risks for our workers.
  • Minimize your large bulk/brush items to minimize additional hours of work and help our crews get home to their families.

We also encourage you to download the College Station Curbside app to stay informed about solid waste and recycling collection.

For more information, go to cstx.gov or call the Solid Waste Division at 979-764-3690.

 


About the Blogger

Solid Waste Division Manager Wally Urrutia is in his 33rd year with the City of College Station. He was named Solid Waste Manager of the Year in 2016 by the Texas Public Works Association.


 

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City creates program to aid local small businesses

By Debbie Eller, Director of Community Development

While the COVID-19 outbreak has arrived with a high human cost, it’s increasingly evident that the economic impacts could be substantial as well. In response, the City of College Station has created an Economic Assistance Grant Program for our small businesses with low-to-moderate income employees.

The city council unanimously approved the program’s guidelines as part of a special Monday afternoon teleconference meeting.

Funded with almost $300,000 in CDBG Economic Development Funds, the program could help prevent job losses for employees with families in the low-to-moderate household income range, such as a family of four that earns under $54,800 a year. In the long term, the program could also contribute to job creation or enable businesses to reach their pre-disaster employment numbers.

Grants of up to $40,000 will be available, based on the number of employees. Businesses need to provide information regarding their business before and after implementation of the COVID-19 declarations, including financial documents, employee information, and their willingness to comply with local, state, and federal requirements. 

To apply, click the link below, register as a vendor, and download the required documents. After you log-in, click on Current Bids and the Eco Assistance Grant link, where you can upload the documents.

New applications are reviewed and funds awarded each week, and each entity may receive only one grant. We expect the requests to outpace the available funds.

Funds will be disbursed in four installments, with the first distributed after the agreement is executed. Subsequent payments will be made following the submission of payroll documentation showing that the funding has helped retained job funding. 

For more information, email me at deller@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Community Services Coordinator Debbie Eller is in her 21st year with the City of College Station. She has led the Community Services Department since 2010. A native of Fort Worth, Debbie earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M in 1984.


 

 

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City council Monday teleconference (March 30)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council will conduct a special teleconference meeting Monday to discuss issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The council’s executive session — which is closed to the public — will be at 3 p.m., followed by the public portion of the meeting. A live audio feed will be available on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online at cstx.gov/cstv19.

Items on the agenda include an emergency grant program for small businesses, a delay in the city’s run-off election, and the possible deferment of hotel occupancy tax collection.

Citizens who want to comment must register before the meeting starts by calling 979-764-3500 or emailing CSO@cstx.gov. Written comments also may be emailed to CSO@cstx.gov. To join the meeting online, go to zoom.us/j/6226605081, or call 888-475-4499 and enter meeting number 622-660-5081.

Related Links:                                                            

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also 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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Completing the census remains an essential civic duty

By Jade Broadnax, Staff Planner

A constructive and valuable way to serve our community during these uncertain times is to complete the 2020 U.S. Census — and remind others to do the same.

Lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use census data to make critical decisions in the next decade. The population count will show where our community needs improvements for schools, clinics, roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.

The census has never been easier to complete, even for historically hard-to-count populations. You can help by not only participating yourself, but by encouraging your family, friends, and neighbors to take part, too.

Reply Sooner, Not Later

If your household is like most, you have received a mailed invitation that includes a code to complete the census online. But even if you haven’t received the request, you can still complete the form online, by phone, or by mail.

The deadline for you to complete the census online has been extended to August 14. Census takers will begin visiting those who have not taken the census to gather the information. If you complete the form now, you can help reduce the number of census takers going door-to-door, which is essential during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We encourage you to help ensure the disabled or elderly you know have the tools to complete their census. A complete count helps identify services that can directly benefit them. Give your neighbors a phone call, shoot them a text, or ask (from a safe distance) if they’d like help checking the mail for their census invitation.

Your Information is Protected

The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. The Census Bureau cannot release identifiable information about you, your home, or your business — even to law enforcement agencies — and includes no citizenship question. Every census employee also takes an oath to protect your personal information for life.

The law ensures your private data is protected, and that your answers can’t be used against you by courts or government agencies. Violating that law is a federal crime punishable by prison time and a fine of up to $250,000.

Students: Follow the 3 C’s

With the recent closures of Texas A&M and Blinn College, we expect students to leave their off-campus housing and go “home” to another city. Under the Census Bureau’s residence criteria, in most cases, students living away from “home” at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re a college student, follow the 3 C’s:

  1. COMPLETE the Census: If you live in College Station most of the time while attending school, you should complete the census according to your physical address here. Even if you are on an extended spring break in Colorado or went “home” to Houston and don’t have access to your mailed census invitation, you can complete the census online, by phone, or by mail.
  2. COORDINATE with roommates: If you live with roommates in College Station, coordinate with them to ensure that one roommate completes the census for everyone at that address. 
  3. COMMUNICATE with families: Talk with your family to ensure you are counted at the address where you live most of the time. Your family has the option to include you in their census count but should answer “Yes, for college” when asked, “Does this person usually live or stay somewhere else?”

It only takes a few short minutes to complete the census, so why are you waiting?

For more information, go to 2020census.gov. The site also includes updated timelines due to COVID-19.

 


About the Blogger

Jade Broadnax is in her third year as a staff planner and project manager. A native of Chicago and Houston, Jade earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Development from Ball State in 2017.


 

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City council calls special Monday teleconference

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council will conduct a special teleconference meeting Monday to consider extending the city’s Declaration of Disaster in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The council will conduct an executive session — which is closed to the public — at 3 p.m., followed by the public portion of the meeting. A live audio feed will be available on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online at cstx.gov/cstv19.

Citizens who want to comment must register before the meeting starts by calling 979-764-3500 or emailing CSO@cstx.gov. Written comments also may be emailed to CSO@cstx.gov. To join the meeting online, go to zoom.us/j/6226605081, or call 888-475-4499 and enter meeting number 622-660-5081.

On Tuesday, Mayor Karl Mooney issued a proclamation declaring the state of disaster to enable the city to respond to the pandemic and seek state and federal assistance. Under Texas law, the declaration can’t extend beyond seven days without the city council’s consent. The Extension of Disaster ordinance would continue the existing state of disaster until the council terminates it.

The mayor amended the proclamation Wednesday to include an order closing bars and limiting restaurants to only take-out, drive-through, or delivery services. The amendment also limited gatherings to fewer than 10 people.

Related Links:                                                           

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also 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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