Community Services

$1.8 million in federal funds available for COVID-19 aid

By Debbie Eller, Director of Community Development

The City of College Station will make about $1.8 million in federal funds available for two grant programs aimed at helping College Station’s low-to-moderate income residents pay their rent and their employers keep them on the payroll.

Sources for the funding are the CARES Act, Community Development Block Grants, and the HOME Investment Partnership Program. Some of the funds are being re-purposed from previously planned programs. 

The City of College Station Community Development Division will process applications for assistance to residents and businesses affected by the outbreak. 

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance

The Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program uses $475,000 in HOME funds to provide rent assistance to qualifying households for up to three months. The households are eligible for up to $1,000 each month, including payment of unpaid rent for May.

Payments will be made directly to the landlord indicated on the lease, which must have started on or before March 1.  After completing an online eligibility application, grant recipients will be selected by a random drawing. If selected, recipients have one week to provide the necessary documentation. 

Applications will be available on cstx.gov, starting at 12:01 a.m. on June 1 and closing at 11:59 p.m. on June 7.

For more information, email us at RentAssistance@cstx.gov.

Economic Assistance Grant Program

The Economic Assistance Grant Program for small businesses opens the second round of applications today with about $500,000 in CDBG funds. The application deadline is noon on Friday, June 5. Up to $40,000 in community development grant funds will be available for small College Station businesses that will retain or create jobs for mostly low-to-moderate income residents.

The amount granted will be determined by the number of full-time equivalent employees who work each week (FTE=total number of hours worked during the week divided by 40). Businesses must provide proof they were impacted financially by COVID-19. They will also need to report for 60 days to demonstrate they meet the job retention or creation requirements.

For more information, email us at EconomicAssistance@cstx.gov.

Additional Assistance

Additional assistance will be provided to local agencies working to meet the needs of College Station residents. Previously, $30,000 in CDBG funds was provided to Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul to assist residents with rent and utility payments.

An additional $500,000 in CDBG Public Service Agency funding will be available to programs that address needs caused by COVID-19, including medical, food, rent, utilities, and other basic needs. A request for proposal will be released on Monday for agencies interested in addressing these coronavirus-caused needs. Specific Information will be released when programs have been selected for funding.

Community Development staff are available to provide technical assistance to residents or businesses interested in applying for aid. If you need help, call us at 979-764-3778. Similar programs are available for Bryan residents. For more information, go to bryantx.gov

We understand the community’s needs are high, and these resources will not be able to help everyone. Residents are encouraged to contact 2-1-1 for information regarding other available assistance.

  


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 seeks public input this week on COVID-19 relief

By Raney Whitwell, Community Development Analyst

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of College Station seeks citizen input this week on five potential Substantial Amendments to the city’s 2015-19 Consolidated Plan. The changes would allow the Community Services Department to more quickly and efficiently address local needs. 

The Substantial Amendments adhere to federal regulations related to citizen participation in community planning and development programs, along with applicable waivers through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).

A virtual public hearing will be Thursday at 5 p.m. You can join the meeting online at zoom.us/i/2800371990 or by calling 1-888-475-4499 and entering number 280-037-1990. 

You can mail written comments (postmarked no later than Friday) to City of College Station Community Services, P. O. Box 9960, College Station, TX  77842, or email them to rwhitwell@cstx.gov. You can also call 979-764-3778 and leave a comment.                      

The amendments to the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan, Citizen Participation Plan, and 2019 Action Plan for federal funds are available for a five-day public review and comment period that ends Friday. Here’s the text for each amendment:

Substantial Amendments

SA No. 1: Revises the Citizen Participation Plan to include the use of virtual public meetings, clarifies the description of public hearings for the Consolidated Plan, and adds a section to address citizen participation during a disaster declaration.

SA No. 2: Revises the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan to include as a goal statement in the Disaster Response Plan, including policies and procedures to address local impacts of these disasters as allowed by HUD guidance, waivers, and streamlined regulations and the addition of Tenant-Based Rental Assistance as a project.

SA No. 3: Revises the 2019 Action Plan to enable the city to receive and administer $697,507 in Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funding from HUD, including $500,000 of CDBG-CV funds to public service agencies and $197,507 to economic development.

Eligible CDBG activities include assisting low- and moderate-income households with rental and utility assistance for up to three months, food assistance programs, business assistance to retain employees, and support of other COVID-19 response services, such as medical and health-related services. 

Those funds and additional CDBG funding that may be available through the CARES Act will be used for the same purposes of the initial allocations, which were intended to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.                       

SA No. 4: Reprograms $312,479 of FY 2019 CDBG funds from acquisition to economic development.

SA No. 5: Reprograms FY 2019 HOME funds from owner-occupied rehabilitation ($46,575), homebuyer assistance ($301,246), and from new construction ($152,677 ) to tenant-based rental assistance ($475,000) and tenant-based rental assistance security deposits ($25,498) in response to COVID-19 and though HOME waivers.

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

 


About the Blogger

Community Development Analyst Raney Whitwell is in her fifth year with the city. She’s also served in code enforcement and in the City Secretary’s Office. A native of Bremond, Raney earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Sam Houston State.


 

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Grant funds to help residents with household bills

By David Brower, Community Development Analyst

The City of College Station has selected Catholic Charities of Central Texas and the St. Vincent De Paul Society of B/CS to each receive $15,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to help College Station residents with their rent and utility bills.

The funds are estimated to help more than 140 income-eligible households.

If you need information and referrals to area resources, dial 2-1-1 for free assistance. Trained specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and services are available in more than 90 languages.

 


About the Blogger

David Brower has been a community development analyst for the City of College Station since he graduated from Texas A&M in 2008.


 


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Small business program helps retain 121 local jobs

By Debbie Eller, Director of Community Development

The City of College Station’s Economic Assistance Grant Program distributed $282,802 to 16 small businesses, 188 individuals, and 101 families (households of two or more people).

It also helped businesses retain 121 full-time equivalent positions.

Using CDBG Economic Development funds, the program was intended to help prevent job losses for employees with families in the low-to-moderate household income range. In the long term, the program may also contribute to job creation or enable businesses to reach their pre-disaster employment numbers.

Additional funding will be available in mid-May.

 


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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Know your COVID-19 rent and mortgage options

By Debbie Eller, Director of Community Services

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused many College Station residents to lose their jobs or have their work hours reduced. For some, paying their rent or making mortgage payments may be a problem.

If the crisis continues for months, late fees and months of back payments could create additional burdens.

However, a delicate balance exists when considering tenant protections. Landlords have expenses that must be paid, and the lack of rent revenue severely affects their ability to stay in business. 

The situation calls for everyone to work together to find mutually beneficial solutions.

If you are unable to pay rent during the existing orders, talk to your landlord to find a reasonable solution. We also encourage you to call 2-1-1 to locate local assistance in addition to programs offered statewide.

Rent and utility assistance programs are available through local non-profit agencies such as The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and St. Vincent de Paul. Still, funds are running low due to the extreme need. The City of College Station is working to allocate additional funding through its Community Development Block Grant to programs that provide rent and utility assistance. 

If you are unable to pay your monthly mortgage, contact your mortgage holder. Options are available for distressed borrowers impacted by COVID-19, including short- and long-term forbearance options, mortgage modifications, and other mortgage payment relief options based on your circumstances.

The Supreme Court of Texas has banned evictions through June 1, and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has placed a moratorium on evictions for residents of government-assisted housing until July 24. The Federal Housing Administration has also implemented a foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages through May. 

Evictions are still allowed for posing an imminent threat of physical harm or engaging in criminal activity.

For more information, go to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs website at  tdhca.state.tx.us/covid19.htm.

 


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 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 seeks public input on uses for federal grants

By Raney Whitwell, Community Development Analyst

Each year, the City of College Station receives about $1.5 million in federal grants that benefit low- and moderate-income residents through nonprofit programs, economic development, and improved housing and infrastructure.

We need your help in determining how to use these funds in the best way to address our local needs. You can either take a short survey or attend a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, at the Lincoln Recreation Center.

The public hearing will include presentations about fair housing and the requirements for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Grant (HOME).

Public input will play an essential role in the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan we’ll submit in August to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Consolidated Plan is a comprehensive planning and evaluation tool that guides priorities, goals, and strategies for the next five years.

You can also submit your feedback to the Community Services Department at 979-764-3778 or by emailing Community Services Director Debbie Eller at deller@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Community Development Analyst Raney Whitwell is in her fifth year with the city. She’s also served in code enforcement and in the City Secretary’s Office. A native of Bremond, Raney earned a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Sam Houston State.


 

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Online options for reporting non-emergency issues

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

The City of College Station offers two online options for citizens to report non-emergency issues. The Police Department monitors one, and Code Enforcement handles the other.

Let’s take a look at how each platform works and what issues you may report to each. These tools don’t apply when health, life, property or the environment is at risk. For emergencies, always call 9-1-1.

Non-Emergency Police Issues

The Police Department’s Citizen’s Online Police Report System is for reporting seven types of non-urgent offenses:

  • Vehicle burglary
  • Credit/debit card abuse
  • Criminal mischief
  • Identity theft
  • Harassment
  • Lost property
  • Property theft

If the crime you need to report isn’t listed, call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 979-764-3600.

When completing your online report, fill out the form completely and accurately with as much detailed information as possible. If you can, include serial numbers and the value of stolen or damaged property. CSPD may not assign an investigator to every case, and they may contact you for additional information.

The system confirms your submission is complete by displaying the message “Your online police report has been submitted.” Keep the temporary report number until a permanent number is assigned. Your report is also printable.

For financial crimes, the police won’t investigate until you submit a completed Financial Crime Packet at the police station at 2611 Texas Ave.

Code Enforcement Issues

Code Enforcement’s online work order reporting system is SeeClickFix, a website and app for reporting public works issues or code violations you want the city to address. Examples include trimming trees that block traffic signs or signals, faulty water fountains in parks, accumulated trash or garbage cans left out, and illegally parked or junk vehicles.

If the reported issue isn’t code-related, our staff forwards the report to the appropriate city department. Through SeeClickFix, we’ll let you know which department is addressing the problem along with a phone number to call with questions or updates.

When submitting an online report, remember a few basic rules:

  1. SeeClickFix isn’t a social media platform for discussion and debate.
  2. Don’t post personal information about yourself or your property.
  3. Don’t post derogatory nor profane language or verbally attack others. We’ll immediately remove such posts.

If you have questions about SeeClickFix, call Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363.

Remember: These systems are not interchangeable; they are designed to report specific issues. Don’t report lost or stolen items on SeeClickFix, and don’t submit code violations to the police.

 


0000018EPAbout the Blogger

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for almost two decades.


 

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Discussion about short-term rentals set for Nov. 18

By Brian Piscacek, Assistant to the City Manager

The City of College Station invites residents to join city staff on Monday, Nov. 18, for a discussion about short-term housing rentals.

The informal gathering will be at 6:30 p.m. at the CSU Meeting and Training Facility at 1603 Graham Road. We’ll also serve light refreshments.

The idea of homeowners renting out their homes has evolved through online platforms such as Airbnb and expanded in College Station with the demand created by Aggie football weekends. The recent growth of short-term rentals across the nation has been dramatic, with Airbnb alone logging a half-million transactions last year in Texas.

Our discussion includes an overview of the short-term rental model and its impact on our community. We’ll address current conditions, solutions adopted by other municipalities, and elements of a prospective ordinance.

We’d like to hear not only from residents, but also real estate professionals, lodging operators, and short-term rental hosts. Elected and appointed city officials may be in attendance, but city staff will lead the activities, including small group discussions.

For more information, contact me at bpiscacek@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Brian Piscacek has been with the City of College Station since 2012 and has served as assistant to the city manager for special projects since early 2019. He was previously a community development analyst. Before coming to College Station, Brian worked for Texas Tech and the North & East Lubbock Community Development Corporation. He earned bachelor’s (2007, Political Science/History) and master’s (2009, Public Administration) degrees from Tech.


 

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City engages new tactic to control Northgate birds

By Gus Roman, Assistant Community Services Director

At certain times and places in College Station, it’s understandable if you may think you’ve been hired as an extra in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

 

Most of us like birds. Most birds, anyway.

The great-tailed grackles and starlings that gather around certain intersections and parking lots around town are a glaring exception.  Austin-based author James Brush even wrote a book about the Central Text pests titled “Birds Nobody Loves: A Book of Vultures and Grackles.”

Annoying motorists and supermarket shoppers is one thing, but the feathered pests have even infested Northgate. When you start messing with Aggie traditions, you’ve probably gone too far.

A biologist estimated as many as 10,000 birds roost in the trees at dusk. The massive volume of bird droppings they produce cause significant damage to city-owned property in the area and create unsanitary and unsightly conditions. It smells pretty awful, too.

Our janitorial service power washes the area every day, scrubbing benches and sidewalks to keep the place presentable and inhabitable. The daily service costs about $76,000 a year.

Unfortunately, the issue has become even more severe this year, and complaints from merchants and their patrons have intensified.

City staff has used various methods over the years to encourage the birds to leave, including trimming trees, adding lights, and using sonic repellers, decoys, and noisemakers. Each of those schemes seems to work until the clever birds catch on to the ruse.

Earlier this week, we began a different tactic that just might work.

OverWatch Bird Control is employing a variety of non-lethal methods such as lasers and drones to discourage the birds from roosting in the trees in and around the Northgate promenade. The contractor then plans to use birds of prey, or raptors, to threaten and intimidate the wild birds into roosting elsewhere.

The service costs about $6,000 and is expected to take about a week.

We hope our fine feathered friends get the message and move along peacefully, which no doubt would greatly disappoint the late Mr. Hitchcock.

 


About the Blogger

Assistant Community Services Director Gus Roman is in his fifth year with the City of College Station. He has also worked at the City of San Marcos and the City of Bryan and previously served with the City of College Station from 1995-03. A native of Nicaragua, Gus earned bachelor’s (building science 1989) and master’s (agriculture, land economics and real estate 2006) degrees from Texas A&M.


 

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8 easy ways for students to thrive in College Station

By Lacey Lively, Marketing Manager

As a former Texas A&M student and now a permanent resident, I love the hustle and bustle that fall brings. Autumn also means football and pumpkin spice latte season. Whoop!

Watching the students move in and gear up for classes brings back fond memories, and it’s also a perfect opportunity to offer some friendly advice for our new residents.

A common misconception about College Station is that it’s just a college town filled with students. While Texas A&M is the heart and soul of College Station, our community is filled with more than 122,000 residents of all ages, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

College Station has been nationally recognized as one of the best college towns, the best places to raise a family, start a career, and to retire. As a student living in a neighborhood, you might have a retired couple on one side, a young professional on the other, or a family with little ones. That’s why it’s so important to be a good neighbor so you can avoid citations and enjoy your college years to the fullest.

1. Say howdy

Don’t be shy! Meet your neighbors and exchange contact information so they can call you in case of emergencies or other issues. It’s also a good idea to let them know about any big gatherings you’re planning and ask them to contact you if there are any noise or parking problems. Wouldn’t you rather hear from your neighbor than a police officer?

2. Turn it down a notch

It’s unlawful for anyone to willfully make or allow continued loud noise – including barking dogs – especially from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. As a general rule, if you can hear the noise at the end of your property line, it’s too loud. If you are bothered by noise and can’t resolve the issue on your own, report it to the College Station Police Department at 979-764-3600.

3. Tend to your pets

When not on their owner’s property, dogs must be on a leash, and owners must clean up after them. College Station also has four, off-leash dog parks. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to be licensed, tagged, and vaccinated in Brazos County. Even if your pet is licensed elsewhere, you’ll still need to tag them here. You can purchase registration tags through your veterinarian or the Aggieland Humane Society. Learn more at cstx.gov/animalcontrol or call 979-775-5755.

4. Talk trash (and recycling)

The process of moving in and out can result in a mountain of unwanted items and trash. Consider donating lightly used furniture, clothing, and other household items to local organizations instead of placing them at the curb for solid waste collection.

Some things to remember:

  • Trash containers must be placed at the curb in front of your residence before 8 a.m. on your designated collection day.
  • Don’t place your container closer than four feet from fixed objects, mailboxes, cars, or trees.
  • Garbage should be bagged, tied, and securely stored in your container with the lid closed at all times.
  • Don’t pile bags or trash on top of or around your container, or the sanitation truck’s automated arm won’t be able to empty it.
  • Items too large to fit in your container should be placed neatly on the curb for bulk collection.
  • Brush should be cut into 8-foot lengths or shorter and put in a separate pile.
  • You must remove your garbage and recycling containers from the curb within 12 hours of collection.

If you have a blue, single-stream recycling container, it’s collected by Brazos Valley Recycling. We encourage you to review the list of acceptable items printed on top of each container. Place only clean items in your recycling container, and anything not on the list should be put in the garbage. Shredded paper is the only recyclable that should be placed in a clear plastic bag. Bagging other items isn’t necessary and could cause significant and costly damage to the sorting equipment.

For more information about solid waste or recycling, visit cstx.gov/solidwaste or contact Solid Waste Services at pubworks@cstx.gov or 979-764-3690.

5. Know where to park

If you park where you’re not supposed to, you can be stuck with a costly citation. Avoid that headache by remembering our 10 most common parking violations:

  1. Parking within 30 feet of a traffic control device such as a stop sign, yield sign or flashing light.
  2. Parking facing traffic – your car must always be parked in the direction of traffic flow.
  3. Parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
  4. Parking within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  5. Parking in a handicap space without a handicap placard.
  6. Parking on a yard – if more than half of the vehicle is parked in the grass, it’s a violation.
  7. Parking at expired meters.
  8. Overstaying allotted periods in time-limited parking.
  9. Parking in loading zones.
  10. Blocking driveways so residents can’t get in or out.

6. Know the code

Many people don’t think about city codes until it’s too late. These are our most common code violations, which can also result in hefty fines:

  • Open Storage: Don’t store anything in your yard or patio that’s not intended for outdoor use, like a couch.
  • Yard Maintenance: Weeds and grass shouldn’t be higher than 12 inches.
  • Flyers/Signs: Nothing should be placed on utility poles, street signs, or in the public right-of-way.
  • Selling Parking Spaces: It’s illegal to operate a business in a residential neighborhood in College Station. Selling parking spaces on your property is a business.

You can review a complete list of code violations at cstx.gov/codeenforcement.

7. Get out and vote

Since you are affected by these codes and ordinances, it might be a good idea to participate in your local government by voting. To register to vote in Brazos County, go to brazosvotes.org.

The next city election is Nov. 5.

8. Take advantage of job opportunities

The City of College Station has part-time and seasonal jobs available throughout the year. Go to cstx.gov to see the latest listings and to apply.

Good luck this year!

Note to Permanent Residents: You can help College Station keep its reputation as one of the nation’s friendliest cities by helping your new neighbors out through understanding, education, and kindness. My office, Public Communications, has welcome bags available for free that includes information from this blog and more. For more information, email me at llively@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Lacey Lively serves as the chief information officer for the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board. She has been with the City of College Station’s Public Communications Office since 2011. Lacey previously worked as an internet marketing consultant for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and as a web designer. A native of Beaumont, Lacey earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and communications from Texas A&M in 2009.


 

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How yellow bikes turned out to be a community asset

By Debbie Eller, Community Services Director

When Texas A&M ended its bike share contract with ofo in December, you probably thought you’d seen the last of those yellow bicycles.

Not quite. And contrary to what you may be thinking, that’s a good thing. (more…)


Northgate Parking Garage goes cashless Friday

By Eric Chapman, Northgate District Supervisor

In recent years, the City of College Station has noticed a steady decline in cash transactions at the Northgate College Main Parking Garage. More than 80 percent of garage patrons now pay with debit or credit cards. 

The entire parking garage industry is rapidly going cashless, and several local garages have already transitioned to this type of system.

Consequently, the Northgate garage will be cashless — and more user-friendly — starting Friday. Going cashless means the garage will operate more efficiently, and Northgate staff can focus on more productive duties. (more…)


SeeClickFix remains a valuable reporting tool

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

See. Click. Fix.

It’s as easy as that for citizens to report code enforcement, public works, and other non-emergency issues to the City of College Station.

The online application allows anyone with internet access to report and easily track updates to their concerns.  It empowers you and your local government to take care of and improve our neighborhoods in a tangible and meaningful way.

SeeClickFix can be accessed through desktop computers, smartphones or other mobile devices. Better yet, it’s simple to use and creates a higher level of accountability through timely communication between you and your city.

How do you use it?

The most popular way to use SeeClickFix is with a smartphone or tablet. Mobile devices make it easy to take and submit photos, which help city staff quickly identify problems and determine how to resolve them as efficiently as possible. Go to your device’s app store for a free download. The system can also be accessed through the city’s mobile-friendly website.

Pinning or entering an exact address will help staff locate and resolve the issue in a timelier manner.  Remember, pictures say a thousand words so whenever possible, please provide a picture of your concern.  If you have specific questions, call Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

In addition, problems phoned into Code Enforcement are entered into SeeClickFix, which allows us to count the numbers and types of reported cases accurately.

How does it work?

SeeClickFix incorporates code enforcement, public works, parks and even outside agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation to address the issues you report. While code enforcement is the clearinghouse for SeeClickFix, we ensure the proper agency addresses your specific issue.

Sometimes we receive updates, and sometimes we don’t.  But we can always provide you with direct contact information if you have specific questions for that agency.

SeeClickFix is not a social media site but an online reporting work order system. That means posting personal information or vulgar or inappropriate language will cause your post to be flagged and removed.

Who responds and how?

The type of concern reported determines who responds. While most issues are directed to code enforcement, not all issues are code related. Most potholes, street lights/sign issues are sent to either Public Works or TxDOT, depending on the location. Issues concerning parks are sent to the Parks and Recreation Department and so on.

Each agency has procedures for responding to concerns on SCF, and while we may get updates from some agencies, we don’t get updates from them all.

Code Enforcement will respond to issues that are possible code violations. An officer will investigate, and if a violation is found, the officer will proceed with a code case in our tracking system.

Some cases take longer than others to resolve, such as junk vehicles or weeds and grass, but a typical case is resolved within 10 days.

SeeClickFix isn’t 911

SeeClickFix isn’t monitored 24/7, so don’t report public safety concerns such as suspicious persons, robberies, threats to life, etc. on. Always call 911 when a real emergency exists.

SeeClickFix has proven to be a valuable tool for our citizens and has helped the city become more efficient and effective at resolving everyday issues. We hope you will continue to use it when you see something that needs to be addressed.

Just go to seeclickfix.com/college-station to report an issue.

Keep seeing and clicking, and we’ll keep fixing!

 


0000018EPAbout the Blogger

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for almost two decades.


 

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Game day parking doesn’t have to be a hassle

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

For football fans, following your favorite team to Kyle Field can be tricky. With tens of thousands of fans descending on a relatively small area, finding a place to park your vehicle can be daunting.

Visitors understandably want to park as close to the stadium as possible, and that creates challenges for our guests and residents, especially in the Southside neighborhood. Making sure everyone abides by our city parking ordinances is a major test for city staff, too.

Our parking ordinances are designed to make our streets and neighborhoods safe. Emergency vehicles need to be able to respond if needed, and cars must be kept off yards to prevent fires, broken meters, broken gas lines, or other problems. The College Station Police Department, Code Enforcement, and the Northgate District staff work together to provide a safe environment for you on game day.

Street Parking

Many of the streets in the Southside area were developed years ago and are exceptionally narrow. Police officers will be looking for vehicles parked facing traffic, blocking a fire hydrant, parking too close to a traffic control device such as stop sign, blocking intersections, and parking in a no parking zone, to name a few. You also can’t directly block a driveway, but that doesn’t mean you can’t park across the street.

Some of these are violations of state law, and a few are towable offenses. If you are parked illegally in certain areas, your vehicle will likely be towed. If you discover your vehicle has been towed, call the Police Department’s non-emergency number at 979-764-3600.

Yard Parking

Code Enforcement Staff will be actively looking for vehicles parking in yards. We discourage residents from illegally selling parking spots on their property. If we find a vehicle parked in the yard, we issue a warning to the resident in person and with a letter. If it’s a rental property, we also inform the property owner and management company.

If the violation happens again on another game day, we may issue a citation or court summons for the property owner and resident.  If you have any questions about this or any other city ordinance, call Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363.

Northgate Parking

The Northgate District provides safe and affordable parking options, including the Northgate Parking Garage, which is just a short walk to Kyle Field. The special game day rate is $25. If you park in the garage, you don’t have to worry about parking in the wrong place or being towed.

We also have limited parking available on certain Northgate streets and in the surface parking lot. The game day rate for both options is $3.50 an hour and is applicable from 6 a.m. Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday.

For more information about the Northgate Parking Garage, including the availability of parking spaces, call 979-764-6313.

 

For general questions about parking or Code Enforcement, please feel free to contact me at 979-764-6363 or jcaler@cstx.gov.

Game Day Information

Here are some maps and other information that we hope will move you around town as quickly as possible on Aggie game days:

Gig ‘em, Aggies!

 


0000018EPAbout the Blogger

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for almost two decades.


 

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What to do when Ofo becomes an oh no

 

By Aubrey Nettles, Special Projects Coordinator

If you spend much time in College Station these days – especially near the Texas A&M campus – you’ve probably seen a bunch of yellow bikes.

Last spring, Texas A&M partnered with Ofo Bike Share Systems to offer the yellow bikes as an alternative mode of travel on and around campus. Naturally, it didn’t take long for users to venture beyond campus to city streets and neighborhoods.

As the popularity of the dockless bike share program grew, it became clear users needed appropriate guidance on responsible off-campus bike use. Riders are supposed the park the bikes in racks within a geo-fenced area, which includes the campus and a small radius beyond campus.

Unfortunately, the bikes have turned up in a multitude of unintended locations such as grassy areas, sidewalks, roadways – even treetops. Many of the complaints focus on the aesthetic impact of yellow bikes left around town, but they’ve also caused safety concerns.

College Station’s ordinance requires that the program operators must remove bikes reported to be parked incorrectly or left outside the geo-fenced area within two hours from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. or within 12 hours at other times. If they don’t, the company is charged a $125 relocation fee or issued a citation. City code enforcement officers will help enforce the ordinance.

Users can also lose their bike privileges for misuse.

Where to park your yellow bike

Users must park dockless bikes in an upright position in the geo-fence zone that encompasses the area in and around campus.

Dockless Bike Geo-Fence

The bikes should never be parked where they can create a hazard or otherwise impede vehicles or pedestrians.

How to report misplaced bikes

  • Report the issue using the subject line “Dockless Bike Share” on the city’s SeeClickFix code enforcement app. Make sure the location is as accurate as possible.
  • Call Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363. They will send a message to Ofo and the area’s code enforcement officer.
  • Send an email to codeenforcement@cstx.gov.

You can find additional reporting information affixed to the bikes.

As always, bicyclists are encouraged to wear a helmet, obey traffic laws, and yield to pedestrians.

Enjoy your ride!

 


About the Author

Aubrey Nettles is in her fourth year as special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. She previously served as executive assistant to the Fort Bend County Commission and was a management analyst for Harris County. A native of Smithville, Aubrey earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M in 2010.  


 

Photo Credit: OFO Uh-ohs of College Station Facebook Page

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City offers alternative to ease Northgate parking woes

NGgarage-3

By Eric Chapman, Northgate District Supervisor

For many visitors to the popular Northgate district, finding a place to park can be a frustrating ordeal. The surface parking lot is frequently full, and the metered parking spaces on nearby streets are limited.

The solution is the city-owned parking garage at 309 College Main Avenue. It offers 719 affordable spaces in a clean, convenient, and safe environment.

The customer-friendly facility is close to the A&M campus and has no time limits. Park as long as you need. Since the parking spaces are covered, you don’t have to worry about weather conditions damaging your vehicle, either.

Hourly Rates:

Day (3 a.m.-8 p.m.):                $1
Night (8 p.m.-3 a.m.):             $2
Sundays (6 a.m.-2 p.m.):         Free

>> Special event rates may vary

 

Contract Rates:

Monthly:

Day (6 a.m.-9 p.m.):                 $50
Night (8 p.m.-5 a.m.):              $50
24 Hours (7 days a week):        $75

6-Month:

Day (6 a.m.-9 p.m.):                 $185
Night (8 p.m.-5 a.m.):              $185
24 Hours (7 days a week):        $300

Annual:

Day (6 a.m.-9 p.m.):                 $370
Night (8 p.m.-5 a.m.):              $370
24 Hours (7 days per week):     $600

 

For more information or to purchase a contract, visit cstx.gov/parking or call 979.764.3778.

Let us help you ease your parking worries!

 

About the Blogger

Northgate District Supervisor Eric Chapman has been with the city since 2009. He worked for Tarrant County from 2005-08 and was a federal correctional officer in Ontario from 1997-2005. A native of Canada, Eric earned a degree in law and security administration in 1996 from Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario.


Closing Boyett on busiest nights makes Northgate safer

By Gus Roman, Assistant Director of Community Services

If you’ve ever driven through the Northgate Entertainment District on a Friday or Saturday night, you know it’s an immensely popular place for college students to get revved up for Aggie football or just unwind after a long week of classes.

You also know it can be an extraordinarily dangerous place for unwary pedestrians. With more than 60,000 students walking, driving and bicycling around campus, safety has to be the top priority for local authorities.

The city has worked closely with Texas A&M and The Texas Department of Transportation to devise and implement various safety improvements along University Drive. In 2012, Old College Main was closed at University Drive, and we added a bicycle and pedestrian crossing.

Still, with one of the nation’s most populous universities across the street, pedestrian safety remains a dominant issue – especially at the intersection of University and Boyett Street.

Despite the presence of a signalized crosswalk, many pedestrians blatantly ignore the signal and haphazardly move through the bustling traffic. Meanwhile, ride-booking services and taxis often stop in traffic lanes to serve their customers.

We may not be able to stop that reckless behavior, but we can try to reduce the risk.

That’s why starting this week, Boyett Street will be closed between University Drive and Patricia Street from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The intersection will also be closed Wednesday, Aug. 29, the night before the Aggie football opener against Northwestern State. No parking will be allowed on the sealed portion of Boyett.

The closure includes the area in front of Shiner Park, O’Bannon’s Tap House and a few other bars, along with two entrances to the corner convenience store.

Whenever Boyett is closed, the southern row of the Northgate parking lot will serve as a designated loading area for ride-booking customers. To help traffic flow, we renumbered and restriped the lot to accommodate angled spaces. Plenty of additional parking is available in the city’s Northgate Parking Garage, which has more than 700 affordable spaces.

These adjustments may be inconvenient for some, but in the end, we’ll have a safer, more pedestrian-friendly environment in Northgate.

 


About the Blogger

Gus Roman has been with the City of College Station since 2015 and has served as assistant director of community services since 2016. He’s also worked for the City of San Marcos and the City of Bryan. Gus previously served the City of College Station from 1995-2003. He has two degrees from Texas A&M – a bachelor’s in building construction (1989) and a master’s in agriculture, land economics and real estate (2006).


 

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Home repair program could help you beat the heat

By David Brower, Community Development Analyst

As heat ripples dance across the street, neighborhood kids fry an egg on the sidewalk. You dread climbing into your car because you know it will feel like an oven, and the seatbelt will be scorching.

It’s blazing hot this week with no end in sight. The extended forecast shows one triple-digit day after another.

Just when you think it can’t get worse, you realize your air conditioner has trouble keeping up, especially during the hottest hours. You raise your hand to the nearest ceiling vent, but your heart sinks when you feel warm air.

Your AC has gone out, and you can’t bear staying a minute more in your stifling home.

Then, the HVAC technician says your system must be replaced. You call another company, and they tell you the same thing. As the owner of an older home, you’ve faced a lot of expensive repairs in recent years, and you certainly can’t afford a new HVAC system.

Mopping sweat from your brow, you fret about what to do next.

The City of College Station’s Minor Home Repair Program may be able to help. Income-qualified homeowners in the city limits may be eligible for a grant of up to $7,500 to address an emergency health or safety issue.

The income limits are higher than you might expect and are based on household size. A family of two can earn up to $43,050 a year and still qualify. A family of four can make up to $53,800.

For more information, call Community Services at 979-764-3778 or visit cstx.gov/housingassistance.

 


About the Blogger

David Brower has been a community development analyst for the City of College Station since 2008. He is a 2008 graduate of Texas A&M.


 

Photo Copyright: cylonphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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Volunteer to help spruce-up McCulloch on April 14

By Raney Whitwell, Code Enforcement Officer

We hear a lot about neighborhood integrity these days, but that vague term means different things to different people. For a code enforcement officer such as me, it means making a neighborhood the best it can be for its residents.

That’s why we came up with the idea of neighborhood integrity days, where we organize volunteers from local churches and non-profits to spruce up our community’s older neighborhoods with improved landscaping and routine maintenance. We invite you or your organization to participate in our inaugural Neighborhood Integrity Day for the McCulloch subdivision from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 14.

Located across from the Lincoln Recreation Center on Holleman Drive, McCulloch is College Station’s oldest neighborhood — and one of our most historically significant.

This volunteer day is the perfect opportunity for individuals, youth groups, faith-based organizations, and other non-profit service groups and agencies to serve their community in a positive, substantial way. Our ultimate goal is to build meaningful relationships while enhancing neighborhood pride.

You can help by volunteering, recruiting others to participate, or donating money or supplies. Your group has the option of adopting a home in the neighborhood and supplying the labor and some of the materials needed for cleaning siding, painting, repairing fences, planting flowers or shrubs, removing brush, and a host of other activities.

The possibilities are virtually endless.

We’ll also provide free mosquito dunks to residents and have booths set up on Nevada Street to distribute useful information about city programs and services, including homeowner assistance, crime prevention, pet care, recycling, parks and recreation, and much more.

You can donate money through Bryan/College Station Habitat for Humanity and can contribute materials such as mulch, soil, plants and other supplies by contacting me at 979-764-3829 or rwhitwell@cstx.gov. I can let you know what items we still need and make convenient pick-up or drop-off arrangements.

The McCulloch spruce-up day is the first of its kind in College Station. We hope its success leads lead to similar events in our other historic neighborhoods in the future. Help us make our neighborhoods the best they can be!

 


About the Blogger

Raney Whitwell is in her third year with the City of College Station and has been a code enforcement officer since 2016. 


 

Photo Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro/123RF Stock Photo

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Beware opportunists taking advantage of hail damage

By Brian Binford, Planning & Development Services Building Official

Weather-rated calamities seem to bring out the best in most folks. We saw that up close when Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast last summer.

Unfortunately, these situations can bring out the worst in a few people, too.

While Sunday’s hailstorm certainly wasn’t a large-scale disaster, it did enough damage to set opportunists and scammers in motion. An elderly College Station resident received a suspicious call this morning from a roofing company that offered to evaluate her home for damage.

If you get such a call, check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the company is legitimate and has a good reputation.

Roofing contractors must be registered with the City of College Station and are required to obtain a building permit to roof or replace shingles and decking on residences. Homeowners who do the work themselves don’t need to register as a contractor, but they must apply for a permit before construction.

To obtain a permit, click here or contact Planning & Development Services at 979-764-3570.

 


About the Blogger

Brian Binford is a certified building official and has been with the City of College Station since 2008. He’s a graduate of Sam Houston State.


 

Photo Copyright: studiodin/123RF Stock Photo

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How to avoid the aggravation of parking tickets

By Eric Chapman, Community Services District Supervisor

Getting a parking ticket is never fun, and it’s always frustrating. It can also cost you a ton of cash – as much as $520 for violations related to handicap parking.

Most parking tickets are issued for violations of local parking ordinances, which are civil offenses. In some cases, you can also be cited for breaking state laws, which are criminal violations under the Texas Transportation Code.

A parking ticket won’t affect your driving record unless you ignore it, throw it away or put it in your glove compartment and forget about it. Failing to deal with a ticket promptly can have serious consequences — including expensive fines – and can result in your vehicle being booted, towed, and impounded. In some cases, you can even lose your driving privileges.

Parking problems always exist in growing communities, especially college towns expanding as quickly as College Station. Most of the time, avoiding the headache of a parking violation is as simple as reading and obeying parking signs.

Our goal is to keep our residential streets safe and accessible for everyone – especially emergency vehicles – while making your parking experience as hassle-free as possible.

The photo montage below illustrates the most common parking mistakes we see in College Station.

For additional information or to check on local parking ordinances, call 979-764-6313.

 


About the Blogger

Eric Chapman is in his ninth year with the city’s Community Service’s Department and has been a district supervisor since 2013.  He worked for Tarrant County from 2005-08 and was a federal correctional officer in Warkworth, Ontario, from 1997-2005. He graduated with honors from Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario, in 1996.


 

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Game day parking doesn’t have to be a hassle

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

For football fans, following your favorite team for a road game can be tricky. With tens of thousands of fans descending on a relatively small area, finding a place to park can be daunting.

That’s certainly the case in College Station.

Visitors understandably want to park as close to Kyle Field as possible, and that creates challenges for our guests and residents, especially in the Southside neighborhood. Making sure everyone abides by our city parking ordinances is a major test for city staff, too.

The laws are designed to ensure that our streets and neighborhoods are safe, which means emergency vehicles can respond if needed, and cars are kept off the grass to prevent fires, broken meters, broken gas lines, or other problems. The College Station Police Department, Code Enforcement, and the Northgate District staff work together to provide a safe environment for you on game day.

Street Parking

Many of the streets in the Southside area were developed years ago and are exceptionally narrow. Police officers will be looking for vehicles parked facing traffic, blocking a fire hydrant, parking too close to a traffic control device such as stop sign, blocking intersections, and parking in a no parking zone, to name a few. You also can’t directly block a driveway, but that doesn’t mean you can’t park across the street.

Some of these are violations of state law, and a few are towable offenses. If you are parked illegally in certain areas, your vehicle will likely be towed. If you discover your vehicle has been towed, call the Police Department’s non-emergency number at 979-764-3600.

Yard Parking

Code Enforcement Staff will be actively looking for vehicles parking in yards. We discourage residents from illegally selling parking spots on their property. If we find a vehicle parked in the yard, we issue a warning to the resident in person and with a letter. If it’s a rental property, we also inform the property owner and management company.

If the violation happens again on another game day, we may issue a citation or court summons for the property owner and resident.  If you have any questions about this or any other city ordinance, call Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363.

Northgate Parking

The Northgate District provides numerous safe and affordable parking options, including the Northgate Parking Garage, which is just a short walk to Kyle Field. The special game day rate is $25. If you park in the garage, you don’t have to worry about parking in the wrong place or being towed.

We also have limited parking available on certain Northgate streets and in the surface parking lot. The game day rate for both options is $3.50 an hour and is applicable from 6 a.m. Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday.

For more information about the Northgate Parking Garage, including the availability of parking spaces, call 979-764-6313.

For general questions about parking or Code Enforcement, please feel free to contact me at 979-764-6363 or jcaler@cstx.gov.

Game Day Information

IMG_4223Here are some maps and other information that we hope will move you around town as quickly as possible on Aggie game days:

Gig ‘em, Aggies!

 


0000018EPAbout the Author

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for 18 years.


 

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Podcast: Couch on the roof, goat in the driveway — the world of Code Supervisor Julie Caler

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

College Station Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler makes her first appearance on the podcast and explains how she and her crew work to keep the city looking good. Sometimes, that means dealing with some odd or difficult situations.

In this episode, we cover topics ranging from parking and trash violations to hoarders and goats.

Total run time: 24:30
00:00 — Show open.
00:45 — What exactly do you and your staff do?
02:07 — Code used to be proactive, then reactive — now what are you?
03:53 — Most-common code issues in College Station?
04:45 — Why no parking in the grass?
06:25 — Most-egregious issues related to trash?
08:25 — How much of a problem is parking in yards?
09:23 — What are your Texas A&M home football game days like?
10:28 — Open storage is…fun? Bedroom suites on the roof??
13:00 — What about issues in back yards?
14:25 — Boats, trailers and RVs.
14:52 — Weeds and grass.
16:33 — Dealing with hoarders.
20:50 — Goats?
22:30 — Jay gives Julie a pop-quiz.
23:25 — Show close.

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his eighth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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