Economic and Community Development

Recycling old tires beats illegal dumping every time

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

Old, abandoned tires are a common sight along roadways, vacant lots, and various other places. They certainly aren’t pleasant to look at, but the problems caused by improperly discarded tires are more serious.

Tires can collect stagnant water, creating an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos, which can encourage the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus and encephalitis. Heaps of scrap tires also can decrease nearby property values and contribute to urban decay.

What can you do with your scrap tires? The best options are recycling and reusing.

Recycling converts worn-out tires into mulch, playground surfaces, asphalt, and much more. You can drop off your old tires at auto shops such as Discount Tire or Goodyear for a small fee.

Reusing is a free way to recycle. You can repurpose your tires as planters, swings, or even a decorative snowman. The Bored Panda lists 43 ways to recycle or reuse old tires.

Another option is to take the tires to the Twin Oaks Landfill (979-764-3832), where you’ll be charged a small special waste fee. Our solid waste and recycling crews can’t pick them up, so don’t leave them at the curb.

These are much better options than tossing the tires in a vacant lot or allowing them to collect on your property. And it beats getting a citation from Code Enforcement.

 


0000018EPAbout the Blogger

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


 

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Meeting Planners Showcase scheduled for March 11

By Kendra Davis, Visit College Station Event Coordinator

The 27th Meeting Planners Showcase set for March 11 at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center allows meeting and event planners to establish relationships with local businesses to make their events successful. 

Reflecting on simpler times inspired this year’s theme of “Back to the Basics.” Some 40 vendors — such as caterers, hotels, venues, attractions, event planners, and florists — are participating, and we’ve encouraged them to decorate their booths to underscore the theme.

The showcase is free to the public, starts about 10 a.m., and wraps up at 1 p.m. The event is open not just to local planners but to those in surrounding areas as well. Preregistration is required by March 4. The first 100 attendees through the door receive a free tote bag.

Register for the Meeting Planners Showcase

We’ve also added Q&A sessions to allow vendors to speak to attendees one-on-one and answer questions about their products and services. Here’s the Q&A schedule:

  • Party Time Rentals: 10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
  • Texas A&M Hotel: 11:30 a.m. – noon
  • Visit College Station: 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. 

Register for a Q&A Session

Since we had to cancel last year’s event because of the pandemic outbreak, we’re especially thrilled to host the showcase in-person and show area planners that we’re eager to make their events successful while abiding by established safety protocols. 

Join us for this unique, one-stop-shop for effective planning of events and meetings in the Brazos Valley!

 


About the Blogger

Kendra Davis is in her second year with Visit College Station and her first as event coordinator. She is a certified professional event manager and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and journalism, and event planning and management. Kendra is a native of Clarendon.


 

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Do you have to pay rent during the pandemic?

By David Brower, Community Development Analyst

The economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic mean that many families are struggling to make ends meet after losing income. Essential responsibilities such as paying rent have become exceedingly difficult. 

In September, the Centers for Disease Control issued a temporary eviction moratorium, allowing some property owners to pause evictions for nonpayment of rent in certain circumstances. The moratorium remains in effect through March 31. 

If you are unable to pay rent, you might wonder what this means for you. Do you have to pay your rent? The short answer is yes. 

An eviction paused under the moratorium doesn’t erase current or past due rent. You may still be charged late fees, penalties, and other fees for unpaid rent. 

The eviction moratorium pauses evictions for rent nonpayment if the following seven conditions are met for each adult on a lease, and a signed declaration is submitted to your landlord:   

  1. You’re unable to pay your total rent because of a decrease in household income or extraordinary medical expenses.
  2. You’re making your best effort to make timely partial payments that are as close to the total amount due as circumstances allow.
  3. You’ve made your best effort to get all available government assistance.
  4. You meet one of these conditions:
  • You made less than $99,000 in 2020 (or $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
  • You weren’t required to report any income to the IRS.
  • You received a CARES Act stimulus check.
  1. If evicted, you’d likely become homeless, move into a homeless shelter, or move into new housing shared by other people in close quarters.
  2. You understand that you’re responsible for paying unpaid rent, you may be charged fees for due rent, and you must continue to comply with your lease terms.
  3. You understand that when the CDC order expires on March 31, you may be subject to eviction if you have unpaid rent or fees.

For more information, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Help For Renters webpage.

To get referrals to area resources and rent assistance, dial 2-1-1 for free help. Trained specialists are available around the clock, with services 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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City provides federal funds for rent assistance

UPDATE (2/4): The response to the rent assistance program has exceeded the available funds. Applications are no longer being accepted.

By David Brower, Community Development Analyst

The City of College Station has limited federal funds available for another round of rental assistance for residents who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Many families in our community have suffered financial hardships because of the pandemic — jobs have been lost, hours have been reduced, and folks have struggled to make ends meet. The program can provide up to six months of rent assistance, including past due rent.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has channeled the funds through the Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Texas Eviction Diversion Program. The limited assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible College Station households that submit applications. 

For more information — including eligibility requirements and application documents — visit cstx.gov/RentAssist

 


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.



More help on the way for local small businesses

By Aubrey Nettles, Economic Development Manager

The City of College Station has received an additional $400,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds that the city council has allocated for the Economic Assistance Grant Program. The program is designed to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and to prevent job losses.

Grants of up to $50,000 will be made available to micro-enterprises or small businesses and involve no fees but must be used to retain at least one full-time equivalent, permanent job for each $35,000 in funds.

Applications are open during two rounds — today through Jan. 6 and Jan. 11-Feb. 3. Businesses may receive no more than one grant per calendar year. Grants are available based on the business’s number of full-time employees.

A profit/loss statement for the previous year and a tax return demonstrating profitability.Qualifying businesses must provide the following documentation:

  • Three-month average payroll.
  • Business situation narrative that addresses how the funds would impact operations.
  • The year the business was established.
  • Evidence that business revenues were affected by disaster declarations.
  • After the funds are received, provide affidavits of income for LMI employees.

An additional round may be offered if all the funds aren’t used.

To apply, register as a new vendor at Brazos Valley e-Marketplace by clicking “Supplier Registration.” Select the commodity code of Miscellaneous/ Miscellaneous, then download the RFA. Vendors with more than one business will need to set-up separate accounts for each business using a different phone number or tax ID number. If you need help, call 866-277-2645 (Ext. 4).

Apply for Economic Assistance Grant Program

 


About the Blogger

Aubrey Nettles is in her second year as the city’s Economic Development Manager. She also served four years as the special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. Before coming to College Station, she was the 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.  



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Choose to Shop College Station this holiday season

By Aubrey Nettles, Economic Development Manager

An annual rite of the holiday season is the hustle and bustle of busy shoppers searching stores for the perfect gift. The shops are festively decorated, and smiles abound as the joy of the season overwhelms our senses. 

Holiday shopping may look different this year, but those ideal gifts remain in abundance. In fact, with many businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, shopping in College Station is more vital than ever. 

You have friends, family members, and neighbors who own or operate — or are employed by — these businesses. Our entire community needs them to stay afloat.

Local shopping also generates sales taxes, a portion of which goes directly back to your community to fund essential government services such as the police, fire, and parks departments. More than 30% of the City of College Station’s annual revenue comes from sales tax revenue. When local sales are strong, we rely less on other revenue sources, which benefits us all.

Holiday shopping has traditionally been the most critical time of year for countless businesses since it generates their annual sales peak. This year, many are just trying to survive until the pandemic passes, and normal life resumes.

You can help by choosing to shop in College Station.

Local businesses have implemented extensive precautions to ensure the safety of their customers and employees. Some retailers have started Black Friday-type savings events early to avoid a rush of shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. Others allow you to order online and pick-up at the store, with many offering a curbside option.

Some even have contactless home delivery options for College Station and Bryan residents. 

Local stores have installed ample safety measures such as plexiglass dividers at check out and multiple sanitizing stations. All are enforcing six-foot physical spacing and mandatory face coverings. 

 While the obligatory face coverings may conceal the broad smiles we typically share at Christmastime, they can’t hide the sparkle in shoppers’ eyes and the cheerful nature of the season.

 


About the Blogger

Aubrey Nettles is in her second year as the city’s Economic Development Manager. She also served four years as the special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. Before coming to College Station, she was the 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.