Public Communications

How businesses and apartments can recycle, too

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

Just about everyone recognizes that recycling and appropriate sustainability habits are vital to our well-being as a community. That’s why the City of College Station promotes and implements relevant practices, including providing low-cost recycling services for as many of our residents as possible.

While our community loves the recycling collection services the city has in our single-family residential areas, we don’t currently offer these services to businesses and multi-family dwellings such as apartments.

But that doesn’t mean your business or apartment complex doesn’t have recycling options. You can still commission services from private recycling businesses that are franchised to collect here.

The goal of the city’s recycling program is to decrease the amount of waste that enters the landfill by diverting eligible materials for recycling. We recycle efficiently to keep contamination at a minimum. And not all waste is contaminated, despite what it may seem.

Recycling contamination refers to non-recyclable materials or garbage that ends up in the recycling system. Materials may be non-recyclable because of a lack of market value, the unavailability of adequate processing infrastructure, or something as simple as residual food particles – such as greasy pizza boxes.

For a recycling program to function properly, residents must take precautions to minimize contamination. Our Solid Waste Division recently conducted a yearlong feasibility study that identified a high rate of recycling contamination as one of our most significant challenges.

In most instances, tenants relocate recyclables from their apartment units to a complex-wide collection bin, which is typically placed next to a solid waste dumpster. Unfortunately, some tenants seem to think the recycling bin is just another place to put their garbage. That makes it significantly more difficult to identify the source of contamination or even illegal dumping practices at communal containers.

Our study found that centralized recycling collection at apartments leads to materials that are so highly contaminated that they can only be hauled to the landfill. Subsequently, door-to-door collections where the generating resident could be identified and informed would be the only effective means for a successful multi-family program. High resident turnover in multi-family complexes complicates the process even more.

We must overcome many formidable hurdles before we can provide city-wide recycling for apartments and other multi-family residences in an economical, efficient way. We are always striving to find better ways to encourage responsible sustainability practices and improve the valued services we provide.

 


About the Blogger

Carolina Ask is in her third year with the city and her first as the environmental compliance and recycling manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector. Caroline previously held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences from A&M in 2012.


 

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Proposed amendment addresses impervious cover

By Anthony Armstrong, Engineering Services & Construction Inspections Manager

Driveways, parking, and accessory areas are a necessary part of any residential development. Unfortunately, if they cover too much ground, these water-limiting – or impervious – surfaces can often wreak havoc through flooding and erosion.

Impervious surfaces are any materials or construction that limit the absorption of water by covering the natural land surface. Materials used for landscaping in non-loadbearing areas aren’t considered impervious surfaces.

In College Station, the problem has emerged as the city has grown, especially in the redevelopment of lots in older neighborhoods that lack modern drainage and retention capabilities. Existing city regulations don’t limit impervious surfaces, which means residential lots can be completely or mostly covered.

A proposed amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance would provide a maximum percentage of a lot that may have an impervious cover. The percentages vary and would be implemented and assessed based on the zoning district, or a detailed engineered design.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the amendment at its next meeting on Thursday, Feb. 20, followed by city council action on March 9. Both meetings will include a public hearing.

Newer neighborhoods with detention assume a certain amount of impervious surfacing when designed. The proposed amendment would allow them to abide by those assumptions.

The regulations would apply only to residential zoning districts and would not include multi-family and mixed-use zoning designations. Those zoning districts and commercial/non-residential districts would still require a detailed drainage analysis of individual lots as part of the permitting process.

Here are the proposed redline changes in the UDO:

 


About the Blogger

Anthony Armstrong PE has been with the city since 2016 and is in his first year as Engineering Services & Construction Inspections Manager. A native of Bulverde, Anthony served as an engineer with CME Testing and Engineering after earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M in 2015.


 

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All Up In Your Business: Walk-On’s

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Who better to open a Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux in College Station than a former walk-on to the Texas A&M football team? Cory (’08) and Jenny (’01) Davis are poised to open their business in south College Station — their first foray into the restaurant business — and talk about how College Station was the only city they ever considered for such a major endeavor.

Also in this episode, Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and Communications Director Jay Socol talk about how the City of College Station sometimes spots opportunities to help new businesses or developers find just the right location for whatever they want to bring to the market.

Finally, Nat shares updated info on some additional restaurants under development in south College Station or, as Jay calls it, “SoCol.”

All Up In Your Business is now available via Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 11th 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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Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Feb. 10)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Feb. 10. It’s not the official minutes.

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

5:29 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken out of the council’s executive session.

5:35 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled this item for discussion from the regular meeting’s consent agenda:

  • Fitch/Wellborn Interchange: The $1.34 million contract is for the preliminary design of the Fitch Parkway/Wellborn Road Interchange and the Wellborn Road Widening Project. The contract’s scope includes the feasibility study of an interchange at Fitch and Wellborn that would include a separated grade crossing of the Union Pacific railroad tracks and connect into the city roadway network west of the tracks. The scope also includes the feasibility study and schematic design for widening Wellborn Road from Graham Road to Greens Prairie Road.

5:47 p.m.

Consolidated Plan for Federal Grants

The council discussed the 2020-24 Consolidated Plan for federal grants received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The process includes a community needs assessment, housing market analysis, and housing conditions survey.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:05 p.m.

Smoking Ordinance and Vaping

The council discussed health concerns about vaping and possibly adding electronic cigarettes and vaping to the city’s smoking ordinance. The consensus of the council was for staff to bring back an ordinance for consideration.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:09 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop. The regular meeting starts after a short break.

6:19 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:26 p.m.

United Way 2-1-1 Day

Mayor Karl Mooney proclaimed Saturday as United Way of the Brazos Valley 2-1-1 Day

6:28 p.m.

Fun for All Playground

The Fun for All Playground Committee presented an $875,000 check to the city for the second phase of the playground’s construction. 

6:32 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during hear visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that does not appear on the posted agenda.

  • Denise Snyder spoke against CSU’s implementation of advanced digital electric meters.

6:33 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A $1.34 million contract with Halff Associates for the preliminary design phase services for the SH 40/FM 2154 Interchange and FM 2154 Widening Project
  • A law enforcement mutual aid agreement with Texas A&M, Blinn College, the Brazos County Sheriff, Brazos County Precinct 1-4 Constables, and the City of Bryan.
  • A $180,575 contract with Jamail & Smith Construction to replace CSU’s warehouse lift/freight elevator.
  • The second and last renewal of the annual meter reading contract not to exceed $560,000 with Alexander’s Contract Services.
  • A contract for a not to exceed $123,190 with Ramtech Building Systems for the purchase, delivery, and installation of a modular building for CSU.
  • A contract not to exceed $250,000 with DIJ Construction for annual pavement striping and markings.
  • The first reading of a franchise agreement with Texas Commercial Waste for the collection of demolition and construction debris, recyclables, and organic waste from commercial, industrial and multifamily locations.
  • The first reading of a franchise agreement with Maroon Dumpsters for the collection of demolition and construction debris, recyclables, and organic waste from commercial, industrial and multifamily locations.
  • An inter-local cooperation agreement and a resolution of support and consent for the City of Bryan Municipal Setting Designation Application.

6:38 p.m.

FY 20 Budget Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a $6.25 million amendment to the city’s FY 20 budget. For more details about the amendment items, see page 291 of the agenda packet. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:40 p.m.

Yellow Tanager Court Right-of-Way

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve the abandonment of a small portion of right-of-way west of the Yellow Tanager Court-Cinnamon Teal Drive intersection in the Bird Pond Phase 2 Subdivision. The abandonment allows the development of the nearby Waterford Estates.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:44 p.m.

Mission Ranch Easement

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve the abandonment of a 15-foot wide portion of an unused public utility easement in the Mission Ranch development. The abandonment allows for development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:10 p.m.

Advanced Electric Meter Contracts

The council voted unanimously to approve contracts of $6.8 million with Landis+Gyr Technology and $517,000 with IPKeys Power Partners to support the implementation of CSU’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Meter & Operational Data Management (MODM) System.

The item wasn’t a public hearing, but resident Denise Snyder spoke about what she claims are the negative health effects of the meters.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:15 p.m.

Data Backup and Recovery Contract

The council voted unanimously to approve a five-year agreement not to exceed $517,118 with Freeit Data Solutions for data backup and recovery.

The IT Department is replacing internet firewalls, desktop antivirus software, and email protection systems. Enhanced data protection is necessary to combat the increasing sophistication of cyber attackers and in preparation for disasters.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:17 p.m.

Board and Commission Appointments

The council approved the appointment of Linda Harvell to the Spring Creek Local Government Corporation, Mayor Mooney to the Architectural Advisory Committee, and John Nichols to the Compensation and Benefits Committee.

7:20 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again Thursday, Feb. 27.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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5 things to watch at Monday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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

Here are five items to watch:

  • Plan for Federal Grants: The council will have a workshop discussion about the 2020-24 Consolidated Plan to receive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Smoking Ordinance and Vaping: Another workshop item is a discussion about health concerns regarding vaping and adding language to the smoking ordinance to include electronic cigarettes and vaping.
  • Fun for All Playground: At the start of the regular meeting, the Fun for All Playground Committee will present an $875,000 check to the city.
  • FY 20 Budget Amendment: The council will consider A $6.25 million amendment to the city’s FY 20 budget. For a detailed listing of amendment items, see page 291 of the agenda packet.
  • Advanced Electric Meter Contracts: The council will consider contracts of $6.8 million with Landis+Gyr Technology and $517,000 with IPKeys Power Partners to support the implementation of the electric utility’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Meter and Operational Data Management (MODM) System.

Related Links:                                                           

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


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Warrant amnesty helps you save money, avoid jail

By Ed Spillane, Municipal Court Judge

Since the City of College Station began our warrant amnesty/warrant roundup program in 2007, we’ve cleared more than 6,000 warrants valued at over $2 million. The twice-yearly amnesty period has proven to be a win for defendants and our court because it’s provided a path for people to pay outstanding warrants and avoid jail.

The first warrant amnesty period of 2020 for the City of College Station and Brazos County starts Monday and runs through Feb. 28. Last fall, we cleared 100 warrants valued at almost $38,000.

If you have an outstanding warrant, you can avoid paying a $50 per case warrant fee if you pay the fine in full. During the warrant roundup Feb. 29-March 8, city marshals, police officers, reserve police officers, and constables will arrest those who haven’t paid their fines.

If you have an unpaid outstanding warrant, there’s a good chance you’ll be arrested.

Many cities do the roundup without offering amnesty, but we think the amnesty period is essential because you can make restitution, save a little money, and avoid jail time.

We’ve been a leader in encouraging other courts to participate, and now there is a statewide round-up in March. Our court has even been recognized by The Baltimore Sun as a national leader due to our amnesty program.

Do you have an outstanding warrant?

If the College Station Police Department issued your citation, you can check your warrant’s status at cstx.gov/warrants. You may also call the College Station Municipal Court at 979-764-3683.

No partial payment schedules will be allowed if you want to avoid the $50 fee. The City of College Station accepts cash, cashier’s check, credit cards, money orders, and personal checks. You may also pay your outstanding warrant through our online citation payment system.

If you have an outstanding warrant, I strongly encourage you to take care of it today. It’s a much better option than going to jail.

 


20bec6fAbout the Blogger

Ed Spillane is president of the Texas Municipal Courts Association and has been the presiding judge of College Station’s Municipal Court since 2002. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 1985 and earned his Doctor of Law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1992.


 

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