Public Communications

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

Sitting (L-R): Mayor Pro Tem Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Eleanor Vessali. Standing (L-R): Bob Brick, Jerome Rektorik, John Nichols, Dennis Maloney.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:32 p.m.

The workshop has started. The council took no action out of the executive session.

5:33 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. No consent items were pulled for workshop discussion.

5:49 p.m.

Texas Weekend of Remembrance

The council reviewed the 2019 Texas Weekend of Remembrance on Memorial Day weekend and asked staff to come back with options to improve the event. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:19 p.m.

2020 U.S. Census

The council received a presentation about the 2020 U.S. Census. A resolution supporting the census is part of tonight’s consent agenda.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:21 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

6:31 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:44 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Three people spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Councilwoman Elianor Vessali recognized Army Capt. Blake H. Russell as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 35-year-old Fort Worth native died in combat on July 22, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq.
  • David Higdon complimented city staff for making it easier for residents to get city information, specifically citing the city’s new website.
  • Jorge Sanchez spoke about the American Anti-Corruption Act and in favor of providing a salary for city councilmembers.

6:45 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A contract not to exceed $888,946.48 with Invoke for implementation of Microsoft Office 365, including training and software licenses.
  • A $321,644.66 annual contract with Utility Restoration Services for padmount equipment repair and restoration.
  • A contract not to exceed $256,750 with TransGard for the purchase, delivery, and installation of animal control fencing at five electric substations.
  • An ordinance amendment relating to gravediggers’ licenses.
  • Renewal of the letter agreement for professional auditing services with BKD for a not-to-exceed amount of $89,390.
  • Renewal of annual blanket orders not to exceed $224,545 for electric meters and sockets: Anixter ($37,952), Priester Mell & Nicholson ($164,363), and Texas Electric Cooperative ($22,230).
  • A resolution supporting the 2020 U.S. Census.

7:15 p.m.

Tax Rate Public Hearing

The council conducted its first public hearing on the city’s proposed FY20 property tax rate of .534618 per $100 of assessed value. The second and final public hearing is Sept. 12. Four people spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:18 p.m.

Strategic Partnership with MUD No. 2

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a strategic partnership agreement with Brazos County Municipal Utility District No. 2 that outlines conditions for district annexation and limited-purpose commercial annexation. No citizens spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:23 p.m.

Elder-Aid Federal Grant Funding

The council voted unanimously to approve $463,000 in federal grant funds for Elder-Aid to purchase and rehabilitate four affordable duplexes for income-eligible seniors at 3312 -3314 Normand and 3337-3339 Longleaf.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:32 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting after the council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

The council meets again on Thursday, Sept. 12.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as 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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How to thwart crime and stay safe this school year

By Officer Tristen C. Lopez, College Station Police Department

With classes starting at Texas A&M and Blinn College next week, it’s an ideal time to review some common sense ways for students to stay safe and avert crime.

Secure your property

Regardless of the location of your neighborhood or apartment complex, never leave your keys in your car — or even a nearby car — and make sure always to lock your car doors. If possible, don’t leave valuables — especially guns — in your car. If that’s not an option, hide them.

More than 90% of car burglaries don’t involve forced entry. Be sure you always lock the doors to your residence, too.

Did you just buy a brand-new 80-inch television to enjoy Aggie football games? Don’t leave the box by your curb to advertise your shiny new possession to anyone who drives past. Break up the box and put it in your trash container or a bag, or at least put it out the morning of your scheduled bulk trash pick-up.

Buzzed driving = drunken driving

About every 20 minutes in Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol. You already know that .08% blood-alcohol content is the legal limit in Texas, but you’re also intoxicated if you feel the effects of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana.

An arrest for driving while intoxicated can cost you a whopping $17,000, so always designate a driver, call a taxi or ride-hailing service (Uber/Lyft), or use Carpool.

Party and study drugs

You risk arrest for driving under the influence of any drug or substance, not just alcohol.

Marijuana use remains illegal in Texas. It will get you arrested and is a felony if you have more than four ounces. That also goes for possession of marijuana concentrates such as THC oil, hash, wax, or shatter.

Obviously, you should avoid all illegal drugs and take appropriate precautions with prescription drugs. If you share prescribed drugs or take those that are meant for someone else, you’re breaking the law.

Minors and alcohol

You must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol in Texas legally, and we strictly enforce the law in College Station. If you’re under 21, the easiest way to get caught is to possess alcohol at Northgate, a tailgate, or at a loud neighborhood or apartment party.

Getting a fake ID isn’t worth it, either. You risk getting a costly ticket or even an arrest for possessing a fake or altered ID, or one that isn’t yours. Lying to a police officer about your name or date of birth, or running away, typically results in an automatic arrest. Don’t turn a ticket into an arrest!

Whether you are of legal age or not, don’t supply alcohol to minors. You risk arrest if you allow your under-21 friends even to take a sip of your alcoholic beverage.

Disorderly conduct

An unreasonable level of noise (more than 85 decibels on public property, or when someone complains about it) usually results in a ticket. That means you need to stay in control of your parties.

Fighting usually results in a misdemeanor arrest, and public urination is illegal under city ordinance.

Hazing

Hazing is against most colleges’ codes of conduct — and it’s illegal.

Hazing is any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus that endangers a student’s mental or physical health or safety as part of membership in an organization.

Hazing includes any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the student’s mental or physical health or safety.

Part of college life is enjoying yourself and having fun with your friends. The best way to do that is to take proper precautions and avoiding unnecessary risks.

Here’s to a great school year!

 


About the Blogger

Tristen Lopez is in his 10th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Texas Weekend of Remembrance: In the workshop, the council will review the 2019 Texas Weekend of Remembrance held Memorial Day weekend.
  2. 2020 U.S. Census: The council will hear a workshop presentation about the 2020 U.S. Census. A resolution supporting the census is part of the regular meeting’s consent agenda.
  3. Public Hearing on Proposed Tax Rate: In the regular meeting, the council will conduct the first public hearing on the city’s proposed FY20 property tax rate of .534618 per $100 of assessed value. The second public hearing is Sept. 12.
  4. Strategic Partnership Agreement: The council will conduct the second public hearing on a proposed strategic partnership agreement with Brazos County Municipal Utility District No. 2. The agreement outlines conditions for district annexation and limited-purpose commercial annexation.
  5. Senior Affordable Housing: The council will consider approving $463,000 in federal grant funds for purchase and rehabilitation costs for four affordable duplexes for income-eligible seniors at 3312 -3314 Normand Drive and 3337-3339 Longleaf Circle.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as 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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City’s FY20 budget addresses current, future challenges

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The City of College Station’s proposed FY 2020 budget continues the city’s focus on public safety while providing resources for essential current and future infrastructure projects.

The $341 million budget was presented to the city council on Monday at the first of three dedicated workshops at the CSU Meeting and Training Facility. Additional workshops will be Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

General Fund RevenueThe proposed budget is about $19.7 million below last year’s budget because of the timing of capital project appropriations. The governmental fund’s budget totals about $105.2 million. This includes the general fund, which pays for public safety, public works, planning and development services, and administration. Enterprise budgets such as utilities are about $146 million and capital projects are just over $71.1 million. Special revenue fund budgets such as hotel taxes, community development, roadway maintenance, and impact fees total about $18.8 million and have restricted uses.

General Fund Expenditures

While property values continue to rise and bring in new revenue, it’s not enough to provide the infrastructure and levels of service our current and future residents need and deserve.

The proposed budget includes a 2.8777-cent increase in the property tax rate to 53.4618 cents per $100 of assessed value. Electric and wastewater rates won’t change, but a 15% increase is recommended for water rates to meet our existing and future capital infrastructure needs related to growth, and to ensure the water fund remains at stable levels in the coming years.

The first public hearing on the tax rate will be Aug. 22 at city hall. The city council will conduct public hearings on both the tax rate and budget on Sept. 12, with adoption set for Sept. 26.

“We proposed this budget in a way to address the needs of a growing community, as well as to maintain the excellent quality of life for our current residents,” City Manager Bryan Woods said. “We must, of course, always be prudent with available resources. The proposed budget attempts to take a strategic approach to address our community’s short- and long-term needs.”

While continued growth is a positive thing, the rapid pace strains city services such as public safety, transportation, and utility systems, as well as other core services.

Here are seven major points to consider about the proposed budget:

  1. Since 2009, our population has grown over 30% (about 40,000). During the same period, the student population grew nearly 34%, not counting the RELLIS Campus.
  2. Perhaps for the first time in College Station’s recent history, FY20 will see sales tax revenues being less than property tax revenues. That’s not all bad news, but it does show how sales tax can be a cyclical revenue stream.
  3. SB2, which will affect all Texas cities beginning in FY21, will limit our ability to generate the revenue needed to keep up with current needs, and certainly won’t provide a sustainable funding path for future growth.
  4. While property values are up, and we’ve seen positive developments in all parts of the city, we have seen an increase in the amount of exempt property with more than $2 billion of value now exempt. Those exemptions include much of what’s owned by the state of Texas, places of worship and faith-affiliated hospitals, seniors over the age of 65, and more.
  5. Healthcare costs continue to rise. The city has also recognized these increases, which contributes to the need to ensure salaries and benefits remain competitive for recruiting and retaining a workforce that’s able to meet our citizens’ expectations.
  6. Our employees are being asked to do far more than ever as the number of city workers per 1,000 citizens has declined. And while dozens more police and fire professionals have come aboard in the last decade — yet still fall short of recommended levels — the overall number of city employees remains relatively unchanged during that time frame.
  7. Our recent citizen survey identified a long list of city services that remain important to our residents, yet they also say we have lost ground in terms of the quality of those services.

Population Growth

Continued growth in the city’s overall and student populations must be addressed and play a major role in the budget process.

From 2010-19, College Station’s has population grown 30.5%, from 93,857 in the 2010 U.S. Census to an estimated 122,162 in 2019. The continued growth factor used in the five-year forecast is 2.5% for FY 2020-24.

The college student population grew 33.5% from 2008 to the fall of 2018. The enrollment numbers don’t include the impact of the RELLIS campus opening last fall in Bryan.

Sales Tax Revenues

Revenue sources for the General Fund include property and sales taxes, fines, service charges, and a transfer from enterprises such as utilities that are city-owned.

The sales tax rate is 8.25%, of which 6.25% goes to the state, 0.5% goes to Brazos County, and 1.5% goes to the City of College Station.

Sales tax revenue is difficult to predict since it depends on how much consumers spend. Growth in the city’s sales tax revenue has slowed substantially, rising only 2.5% in the two years from 2017 -2019.

For FY 2020, the city is budgeting only a 1% increase in sales tax revenue, well below the expected inflation rate. FY 2019 sales tax revenue is projected to fall $600,000 below budget.

FY 2021-24 forecasts include increases in sales tax revenue by 1.75% in both FY 2021 and FY 2022, and by 2% in both FY 2023 and FY 2024.

Property Values

The total net taxable certified value of property in College Station for 2019 is about $9.9 billion, an increase of 5.79% from 2018. About $308.2 million in new value was added to the tax rolls, and existing values rose by 1.88%.

Single-family homes have made up 46.6% of the total market value since FY 2013, while Multi-family has increased by 2.4%, and commercial properties have decreased by 3.0%. Properties that are exempt from ad valorem taxes – such as Texas A&M and other government-owned properties — have increased 3.1%, which has had a significant revenue impact.

Property Taxes

The City of College Station’s existing property tax rate of $.505841 per $100 of assessed value is just over 22% of the total $2.362841 rate paid by local citizens. The College Station Independent School District’s rate is $1.37200 while Brazos County is at $.485000.

Since 2010, the city’s population has grown 30.5%, while inflation has (CPI-U Index) has been 18.16%. The tax rate in that period has grown only 13.91%.

Based on the final property value numbers received, the FY 2020 effective tax rate — the rate that will raise the same revenue on the same properties — is $.495757 per $100 of assessed value. The adjusted rollback rate – the highest rate allowed before citizens can petition to lower the rate to the rollback rate – is $.534618.

Proposed Tax Rate

Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation to change the cap on the rollback rate from 8% to 3.5% effective for FY 2021. It also reduced the franchise fees the city receives for the use of rights-of-way.

Starting last spring, department directors took a critical look at departmental expenses and made recommendations to the city manager about prioritizing needs and how to address the revenue limitations.

City management recommends a proposed rate of $.534618 per $100 of assessed value, an increase of 2.8777 cents. Under the proposed rate, the owner of a $280,000 home would pay an additional $9.07 a month. Each cent on the tax rate generates about $820,000 that can be spent.

The proposed rate strategically addresses funding for existing commitments as well as known future needs. Woods recommends that about one-third of the revenue generated by the tax rate increase this year be held in the fund balance.

Financial Stability

The fund balance is the city’s safety net for emergencies or a downturn. Over the last several years actual fund balance has been between 20-25% of expenses. Bond-rating agencies encourage us to keep a balance equal to approximately 25% of expenses to get the lowest interest rates on our debt. The proposed budget formally moves the budgeted fund balance requirement from 15% to 18%. This demonstrates a commitment to maintain healthy fund balance reserves.

The FY 2020 budget is strategically designed to generate additional funds of approximately $1.5 million to begin addressing current and future public safety needs, including additional police officers and initial staffing for Fire Station No. 7. A study earlier this year found that we need 23 additional sworn officers.

Fundamental Shift

Before this year, sales taxes were the largest source of General Fund revenue. In FY 2020, sales tax provides 34.5% of the budget, while proposed property taxes provide the largest source of General Fund revenue at 35.3%.

That marks a fundamental shift in the primary revenue source for funding the majority of city services such as police, fire, and roads. The shift is small, but it represents funding stability for our existing commitments as well as a stable revenue source to provide for the needs of the future.

If approved, the city’s overall property tax rate would still rank among the lower half of Texas cities with populations of 75,000-150,000. Only five cities in our population group have a lower operations and maintenance tax rate than College Station’s proposed $.313175.

City Workforce

That brings us back to answering the demand of residents for high-quality services, which aren’t possible without the city’s most valuable resource — our workforce. Maintaining a competitive pay and benefits structure allows us to attract — and keep — well-qualified employees to serve our residents and visitors.

The city trimmed its budget significantly in the years after the 2008 economic downturn. While the police and fire departments grew in the last decade, most other services and departments remained relatively flat.

The mission of the police and fire departments, along with emergency medical services, is to provide a safe community for us to live in and raise our families. The police and fire departments accounted for 44% of the general fund budget in 2009, but by 2019, those departments comprised about 51%.

Meanwhile, the number of city employees per 1,000 population has decreased significantly from 9.7 in 2011 to 8.4 people in 2019. Most of the new city employees in the last decade have been in public safety. The Police Department has added 49 positions (both sworn and civilian) since 2010, while Fire had grown by 42 employees.

The elimination of the jail in the new police facility allows us to reclassify the detention officer positions into three police officer and five police assistant positions. Two other officers are also included in the budget.

Overall, the proposed budget adds 24 full-time equivalent employees, with 16 in public safety.  The six new firefighter positions are contingent upon the award of a federal grant, which will be determined in late August. Half of the salaries of the two new employees in parks will be covered by the Hotel Tax Fund.

Since the city provides essential services, it stands to reason that the largest general fund expense is for salaries and benefits. It’s vital that the compensation plan and benefits attract and retain qualified employees in a highly competitive environment.

City Services

Increased growth puts demands on resources and results in the need for service level increases. Service level adjustment highlights include:    

  • Police Department: 5 patrol officers and 2 vehicles; 5 police assistants.
  • Fire Department: 6 firefighters using pending SAFER Grant Award; Station-4 building maintenance.
  • Public Works: Attenuator truck, corrective facilities maintenance.
  • Parks and Recreation: Southeast Park crew Leader, grounds worker, and maintenance equipment.
  • Municipal Court: New operating software.
  • Economic Development: Economic development coordinator.
  • Information Technology: Cybersecurity service, firewall refresh, replacement software for open records requests.
  • Electric Utility: Comprehensive cost-of-service study, asset management system for substations and protection and control devices, relay foreman and vehicle, electric project coordinator/designer.
  • Water Services: Water rate restructuring review concurrent with wastewater.
  • Wastewater Services: Wastewater rate restructuring review concurrent with water, collection flow monitoring equipment.
  • Solid Waste: Street sweeper vehicle and operator.
  • Northgate: Surveillance camera system maintenance, funding for the temporary Boyett Street closure on peak nights.

Capital Projects and Infrastructure

The $71.1 million proposed for capital improvement projects come from various sources, including general obligation bonds authorized by voters, certificates of obligation supported by tax and utility rates, cash reserves from the General Fund, utility funds, and hotel tax fund.

Significant capital projects for FY20 include:

  • Final construction of the new police station.
  • Construction of a new city hall.
  • Royder Road Phase II.
  • Greens Prairie Road from city limits west of Woodlake to Royder Road.
  • Jones Butler intersection improvements.
  • Continued digital electric meter installation.
  • Final construction of the Graham Road Electric Substation.
  • Construction of the Rock Prairie Road elevated water storage tank.
  • Construction of Northeast Sewer Trunkline Phase III.
  • Improvements to the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant centrifuge.
  • Expansion of the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • Completion of Southeast Park Phase I.

The 2019-20 fiscal year is shaping up as another busy one for the City of College Station, which has many formidable challenges ahead. The proposed budget provides the resources to address these challenges while laying a firm and stable foundation for our future.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as 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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Aug. 8)

Sitting (L-R): Mayor Pro Tem Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Eleanor Vessali. Standing (L-R): Bob Brick, Jerome Rektorik, John Nichols, Dennis Maloney.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Aug. 8. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:00 p.m.

The workshop has started. The council took no action out of the executive session.

5:09 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:

  • Radio Replacement: The $743,400 contract with Motorola Solutions is for the purchase of two-way mobile radios and portable radio replacements for Public Works and Water Services.
  • Community Development Budget, Action Plan: The city is required to submit an annual plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that describes federal grant-funded projects and activities to benefit low-to-moderate income residents. 
  • Amended City Hall Contract: The amended contract with Kirksey Architects increases the design fee by $357,000 for the addition of square footage to the new city hall. During the schematic design phase, it was determined that some departments not included in the original scope should be incorporated in the new building. 

5:26 p.m.

Training Reimbursement

The council discussed training and educational reimbursement for city employees. The city encourages employees to pursue training and education to enhance the quality of work and services they provide, including police and fire academies.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:26 p.m.

Home Sharing Rental Model

The council discussed voluntary collection agreements among cities and Airbnb, the primary provider of online short-term rental bookings. The presentation explored the home-sharing rental model and its effect on cities, including the impact on tax collection, regulation, and enforcement.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:29 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

6:38 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:53 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Three people spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Councilwoman Elianor Vessali recognized Army Capt. James A. Funkhouser as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 35-year-old Katy native died on May 29, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq, when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during reconnaissance patrol operations.
  • Marci Corry spoke about distracted driving and her SAFE2SAVE initiative.
  • Les Fiechner spoke against the council’s recent action to reduce the speed limit on Barron Road.

6:54 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • FY 2019 funding of $1,103,433 for the Public Agency Retirement Services OPEB Trust.
  • A $743,418 contract with Motorola Solutions for two-way mobile radios and portable radio replacements.
  • An annual contract not to exceed $120,000 with Bound Tree Medical for EMS supplies.
  • The FY 2020 Community Development Budget and PY 2019 Action Plan.
  • Renewal of the city’s annual copy and print services blanket orders not to exceed $120,000. The estimated annual expenditures are with Alphagraphics ($80,000) and Copy Corner ($40,000).
  • An amendment to the contract with Kirksey Architects for design and construction administration services for the new city hall.

7:02 p.m.

Harvey Mitchell Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from General Suburban to Multi-Family for about one acre at 2346 Harvey Mitchell Parkway, which is located southwest of the Dartmouth Street intersection.

The applicant plans to incorporate the property into a multi-family development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:07 p.m.

Nonconforming Lots of Record

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a subsection to the Unified Development Ordinance that explicitly states that replats made nonconforming through annexation are allowed to replat to bring the property closer to compliance with zoning district standards.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:14 p.m.

After the council discussed and reviewed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting.

The council meets for a series of budget workshops Monday through Wednesday, with the next regular meeting set for Thursday, Aug. 22.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as 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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