Public Communications

Video: Thank You to the COVID-19 Pandemic Heroes

– Public Communications Office

 

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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 meets Thursday by teleconference for its workshop (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

The live audio will be streamed on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to zoom.us/j/91272578218, or call 888-475-4499 and enter meeting number 912 7257 8218.

If you want to address the council about any agenda item — or about non-agenda topics during Hear Visitors — register with the city secretary before the meeting by calling 979-764-3500 or emailing CSO@cstx.gov before the meeting starts. Written comments submitted to CSO@cstx.gov will be provided to the council members.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Central Park Expansion: In the workshop, the council will discuss converting about 59 acres of greenway and city-owned property into parkland for expanding Stephen C. Beachy Central Park to about 106 acres. The council will vote on the conversion as part of the regular meeting’s consent agenda.
  2. Royder Road Project: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $3.8 million contract with Larry Young Paving for the second phase of the Royder Road project, which will widen and realign the road from Backwater Drive to Wellborn Road. A related consent item lowers the speed limit from 60 mph to 50 mph in the construction zone along Wellborn Road.
  3. Police Station Under Budget: In the regular meeting, the council will consider a $403,836 reduction in the contract with Vaughn Construction for the new police station, which will complete the project under its original $29.5 million budget.
  4. Impact Fees: The council will consider several items related to roadway, water, and wastewater impact fees, including updates, a credit policy, and an adjustment to the roadway fee collection rate. The credit policy discussion will include a public hearing.
  5. COVID-19 Relief: The council will consider amendments to the city’s 2015-19 Consolidated Plan to allow the city to more quickly and efficiently address local needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic with federal funds.

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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Metallic balloons and power lines don’t mix

black and red metal rod

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

With social distancing in place because of the COVID-19 outbreak, people are finding new ways to celebrate events and milestones without the typical parties and get-togethers.

And what’s a birthday or graduation without balloons, especially those shiny, helium-filled foil balloons that are all the rage. They are called Mylar balloons and come in various shapes and sizes and can represent numbers and letters.

Unfortunately, they can also be hazardous.

When released, these festive balloons can get caught in high voltage power lines. The metallic coating conducts electricity and causes short circuits when entangled in power lines.

Stray Mylar balloons entangled in overhead lines in the last week caused two electric outages for hundreds of College Station residents. Such disruptions can cover a large area for two hours or more while we clear the balloons and repair damaged equipment.

Power outages not only inconvenience our customers, but they also jeopardize public safety and cause lost revenue for businesses. Two years ago, a stray balloon caused an outage and lengthy delay during a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium.

This recent report by an Arizona news station illustrates the issue:

College Station Utilities offers five tips to help prevent outages when celebrating birthdays, graduations and other events with Mylar balloons:

  1. Never allow Mylar balloons to be released outside. Keep the balloons indoors when possible.
  2. Make sure Mylar balloons are securely tied to a weight heavy enough to keep them from floating away. Never remove the weight.
  3. Don’t bundle Mylar balloons together.
  4. When your celebration is over, cut the balloons up and throw them away. Even a semi-inflated balloon can become airborne.
  5. Never try to retrieve anything that gets caught in a power line.

To report objects caught in power lines, call 911. To report outages, call 855-528-4278, and have your account number ready.

 


0000072EPAbout the Blogger

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

 


 

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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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (April 23)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular teleconference meetings on Thursday, April 23. It’s not the official minutes.

The live audio is streamed on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to zoom.us/j/174248177, or call 888-475-4499 and enter meeting number 174-248-177.

5:55 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken out of executive session.

5:57 p.m.

The council voted unanimously to name Deputy City Manager Jeff Capps as interim city manager after City Manager Bryan Woods deploys for service with the Naval Reserve.

5:58 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled no items for discussion from the regular meeting’s consent agenda.

7:24 p.m.

Short-Term Rentals

The council reviewed a draft ordinance that would regulate short-term housing rentals, which has evolved through online platforms such as Airbnb and expanded locally with the demand created by Aggie football weekends. Two people spoke during the public hearing.

The council is expected to vote on an ordinance in May. 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. 

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

7:28 p.m.

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

7:40 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:48 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.

  • Meagan Kuitu spokes about required realtors to wear protective masks.

7:51 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve these consent agenda items:

  • An annual price agreement not to exceed $150,000 with Mustang Rental Services for the rental of heavy equipment used by the city.
  • The temporarily removal of parking on both sides of Gilchrist Avenue from Foster Avenue to Texas Avenue during construction of the new city hall.

This consent item was pulled for a separate discussion and vote:

8:32 p.m.

Thomas Park Pool Demolition

The council voted unanimously to approve a $132,000 contract with Aggieland Construction for the demolition of Thomas Park Pool with the caveat that the city would continue to explore options for future park amenities. Three people spoke in the public hearing.

The work includes the entire removal of the pool and associated facilities and infilling the pool area with common fill, including six inches of hydro-seeded topsoil. Sections of sidewalk also will be poured to ensure sidewalks and parking lot are reconnected.

8:46 p.m.

City Hall Construction

The council voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the construction manager at risk contract with Core Construction that accepts the guaranteed maximum price of $25.8 million for construction of the new city hall. Overall costs for the project are projected to be $5.3 million under the original budget.

The three-story, 79,000-square-foot facility will house several city departments and is scheduled to be finished in 2022.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:49 p.m.

Disaster Declaration Extension

The council voted unanimously to consent to the mayor’s renewal this week of the city’s COVID-19 Declaration of Disaster.

9:01 p.m.

Small Business Bridge Loan Program

The council voted unanimously to approve a funding agreement for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments to administer the city’s COVID-19 Small Business Bridge Loan Program. The program will provide working capital for small businesses while they await federal disaster loans.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

9:05 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again by teleconference on Thursday, May 14.

 


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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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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20 ways to celebrate the 50th Earth Day

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

In 1970, 20 million people mobilized to call for greater protections for our planet. The event became the world’s first Earth Day.

Earth Day has since become the largest secular observance in the world. More than 190 countries and a billion people celebrate it as a day to encourage positive changes in behavior that benefit our environment.

Since Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we offer these creative and innovative ways to do your part:

  1. Take a walk to identify native plant species in your area — or simply enjoy your surroundings.
  2. Craft a nature collage from items found on your walk.
  3. Compost your food waste.
  4. Avoid using herbicides or pesticides before rain events.
  5. Clean out your closet, but instead of throwing your old clothes away, donate them.
  6. Check out NASA’s Earth Day 2020: 50th Anniversary Toolkit.
  7. Calculate your carbon footprint.
  8. Research how to start a backyard garden and ways to support helpful insects and pollinators.
  9. When shopping, use reusable bags. However, some retailers are recommending the use of plastic bags until the COVID-19 outbreak subsides.
  10. Identify the types of accepted recyclables in College Station.
  11. Learn how to dispose of household hazardous waste Our next collection event is Oct. 24.
  12. Follow the Brazos Valley WaterSmart network to use efficient watering techniques for your lawn.
  13. Join a virtual Earth Day
  14. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth.
  15. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  16. Construct a rainwater harvesting barrel for landscape irrigation.
  17. Repurpose jars and other containers as beverage glasses or small bowls.
  18. Serve a fun Earth Day-inspired dessert such as dirt pudding to teach your kids about the importance of soil.
  19. Plant a tree.
  20. Tag us with your Earth Day activities using the hashtag #BVEarthDay2020.

Happy Earth Day!

 


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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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council meets Thursday by teleconference for its workshop (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

The live audio will be streamed on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to zoom.us/j/174248177, or call 888-475-4499 and enter meeting number 174-248-177.

If you want to address the council about any item on the workshop or regular agenda, register with the city secretary before the meeting by calling 979-764-3500 or emailing CSO@cstx.gov before the meeting starts. Written comments submitted to CSO@cstx.gov will be provided to the council members.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Short-Term Rentals: In the workshop, the council will review a draft ordinance that would regulate short-term housing rentals.
  2. Thomas Pool Demolition: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $132,000 contract with Aggieland Construction for the demolition of the Thomas Park swimming pool.
  3. City Hall Construction: The council will consider Amendment No. 2 to the construction manager at risk contract with Core Construction that accepts the guaranteed maximum price of $25.8 million for construction of the new city hall.
  4. Disaster Declaration Extension: The council will consider consenting to the mayor’s renewal this week of the city’s COVID-19 Declaration of Disaster.
  5. Small Business Bridge Loan: The council will consider a funding agreement with the Brazos Valley Council of Governments to administer the city’s COVID-19 Small Business Bridge Loan Program. The program will provide working capital for small businesses while they await federal disaster loans.

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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Electric lineman work to keep our power flowing

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

Since the invention of the Edison lightbulb in 1879, electric linemen have been keeping the nation energized. More than 227,000 men and women install and maintain the nation’s nine million miles of electric grid that meet our power needs, including the 28 who serve at College Station Utilities.

That’s why the United States Congress and the City of College Station are recognizing Saturday as National Lineman Appreciation Day (#ThankaLineman) as a way to honor the hard-working folks who protect public safety and energize our economy by keeping the power on.

Linemen are also an essential part of the first-responder community alongside police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. In most cases, other first responders can see their emergency issues, but electricity is invisible, which makes for an extremely hazardous environment during storms. While big events require all-hands-on-deck, most routine trouble calls are handled by two-person crews.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, being an electric lineman ranks among the 10 most dangerous jobs. Unlike most occupations, linemen spend a large part of their working lives well above the ground maintaining electrical infrastructure. Our linemen work with voltages as high as 138,000 volts and as low as the standard 120-volt power in your home.

College Station Utilities is also committed to the construction of reliable, underground utilities. Our electric grid is nearly 60 percent underground, which requires our electric personnel to be knowledgeable in both overhead and underground systems.

Please join us in thanking the highly skilled and dedicated linemen who work all hours of the day, often in hazardous conditions, to keep your lights on.

 


0000072EPAbout the Blogger

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

 


 

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City council Thursday teleconference (April 16)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council will conduct a special teleconference meeting Thursday to discuss community recovery efforts in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The council will also consider future agenda items and an update to its annual strategic plan.

The executive session — which is closed to the public — begins at 5 p.m., followed by the public portion of the meeting. A live audio feed will be available on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online at cstx.gov/cstv19.

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

The council’s next regular meeting is Thursday, April 23, and will also be by teleconference.

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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Be sure to Scoop the Poop when walking your pet

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

With residents sheltered at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, many find welcome relief by walking their dogs and enjoying the spring sunshine. Unfortunately, reports of pet waste left in our streets, roadways, and parks have increased significantly.

One pile of pet waste might not seem like much, but more than 29,000 domestic pets live in College Station. Our furry friends generate hundreds of pounds of waste every day. If the waste isn’t disposed of properly (it takes a year to fully break down), storm runoff can wash it into local waterways and discharge it directly into creeks.

The contaminated runoff affects our water quality and creates genuine health risks as a source of E. coli and nutrient pollution. Fecal matter from dogs and other urban animals can also cause GiardiaParvoroundwormsSalmonella, and other viruses and parasites.

So what should you do when walking your pet? 

Carry a scooper and use the baggie as a glove. Scoop the poop, invert and seal the bag, then toss it in the trash. If you allow your animal to defecate on someone else’s property or in public areas without removing it, you’re breaking the law.

Be a responsible, courteous, and law-abiding pet owner — always Scoop the Poop.

 


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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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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (April 9)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular teleconference meetings on Thursday, April 9. It’s not the official minutes.

The live audio is streamed on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to zoom.us/j/174248177, or call 888-475-4499 and enter meeting number 174-248-177.

If you want to address the council about any agenda item — or about non-agenda topics during Hear Visitors — register with the city secretary before the meeting by calling 979-764-3500 or emailing CSO@cstx.gov before the meeting starts. Written comments submitted to CSO@cstx.gov will be provided to the council members.

5:17 p.m.

The workshop has started. 

5:23 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

No items from the regular meeting’s consent agenda were pulled for discussion.

6:02 p.m.

COVID-19 Update

The council received an update on the city’s operations under the COVID-19 Declaration of Disaster and the pandemic’s effects on our community. 

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:06 p.m.

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

6:13 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:19 p.m.

National Public Health Week

Mayor Mooney recognized the Brazos County Health Department as part of National Public Health Week.

6:21 p.m.

National Library Week

Mayor Mooney proclaimed April 19-25 as National Library Week.

6:24 p.m.

National Community Development Week

Mayor Mooney proclaimed April 13-19 as National Community Development Week.

6:38 p.m.

Retiring Police Chief Recognized

Mayor Mooney and many others recognized retiring College Station Police Chief Scott McCollum, who served the CSPD for 35 years. He has been chief since 2014. A reception will be held at a later date.

6:40 p.m.

Hear Visitors

No one spoke during hear visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that does not appear on the posted agenda.

6:44 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • Annual water meter purchases estimated at $174,427.77 from Aqua Metric Sales Company. 4.3. An ordinance removing parking on the alley south of the 200 block of Patricia Street and north of the 200 block of University Drive.
  • A contract not to exceed $710,000 with McCord Engineering for the design, construction, and project management of the Spring Creek Substation T3 Ring Bus Addition.
  • An amendment to the contract with Emergicon to add the Texas Ambulance Supplemental Payment Program.
  • A $155,229.70 agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the city’s participation in the cost of acquiring the right of way and adjusting utilities for the improvements to FM 2818 from north of University Drive to Wellborn Road.
  • A $1.52 million contract with Kieschnick General Contractors for the East Side Sewer Service Project.
  • Authorized the police chief to execute documents necessary for the release of grant funds from the Office of the Governor Homeland Security Division for police bomb squad equipment and from the Office of The Governor Justice Assistance Grant Program for additional bomb squad equipment and police patrol bicycles.
  • Directed publication of notice of intention to issue certificates of obligation, series 2020.

7:10 p.m.

Recycling Agreement

The council voted 5-1 to approve a $4.54 million, five-year residential recycling collection agreement with Brazos Valley Recycling for delivery, storage of inventory, biweekly collections, contamination disposal, and maintenance of containers. Councilwoman Linda Harvell voted against the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

7:27 p.m.

Concrete Flatwork Contract

The council voted unanimously to approve a not-to-exceed $2.87 million contract with Larry Young Paving for annual concrete curb, gutter and flatwork installation to maintain city infrastructure.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

7:38 p.m.

Brazos County Transportation Vision

The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution supporting the Brazos County Transportation Vision to plan, develop, and operate a quality transportation system to promote safety, quality of life, and economic opportunity. See page 85 of the agenda packet for the complete vision statement.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

7:42 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again by teleconference on Thursday, April 23.

 


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 Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council meets Thursday by teleconference for its workshop (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

The live audio will be streamed on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to zoom.us/j/174248177, or call 888-475-4499 and enter meeting number 174-248-177.

If you want to address the council about any agenda item — or about non-agenda topics during Hear Visitors — register with the city secretary before the meeting by calling 979-764-3500 or emailing CSO@cstx.gov before the meeting starts. Written comments submitted to CSO@cstx.gov will be provided to the council members.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. COVID-19 Update: In the workshop, the council will receive an update on the city’s actions under the COVID-19 Declaration of Disaster and the pandemic’s effects on our community.
  2. FM 2818 Improvements: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $155,000 agreement with TxDOT for the city’s participation in acquiring right of way and adjusting utilities for the widening of FM 2818 from Wellborn Road to University Drive.
  3. 2020 Certificates of Obligation: The consent agenda also includes a resolution directing publication of notice of intention to issue Series 2020 Certificates of Obligation for capital projects related to streets, parks, public facilities, technology, and water and wastewater.
  4. Recycling Agreement: In the regular meeting, the council will consider a $4.54 million, five-year residential recycling collection agreement with Brazos Valley Recycling for delivery, storage of inventory, biweekly collections, contamination disposal, and maintenance of containers.
  5. Brazos County Transportation Vision: The council will consider a resolution supporting the Brazos County Transportation Vision to plan, develop, and operate a quality transportation system to promote safety, quality of life, and economic opportunity. See page 85 of the agenda packet for the complete vision statement.

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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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10 ways to trim your household energy costs

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

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

Here are 10 ways you can trim your electric costs:

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

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

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

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

 


0000072EPAbout the Blogger

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

 


 

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How you can help solid waste collections run smoothly

By Wally Urrutia, Solid Waste Manager 

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

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

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

Here’s how you can help:

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

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

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

 


About the Blogger

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


 

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City creates program to aid local small businesses

By Debbie Eller, Director of Community Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


About the Blogger

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


 

 

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City council Monday teleconference (March 30)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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

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

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

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

Related Links:                                                            

 


About the Blogger

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


 

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Completing the census remains an essential civic duty

By Jade Broadnax, Staff Planner

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

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

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

Reply Sooner, Not Later

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

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

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

Your Information is Protected

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

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

Students: Follow the 3 C’s

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

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

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

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

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

 


About the Blogger

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


 

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City council calls special Monday teleconference

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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

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

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

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

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

Related Links:                                                           

 


About the Blogger

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


 

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Your tap water remains healthy and secure

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Despite concerns around the COVID-19 outbreak, the coronavirus has not been detected in public water supplies, which have a low risk of contamination. When you turn on your faucet, you can be confident your tap water is a safe and secure source for the water you need for drinking, cooking, and maintaining personal hygiene.

College Station’s drinking water is drawn from a protected artesian aquifer and is disinfected with chlorine. Our environmental technicians routinely test at least 100 water samples each month to ensure we maintain appropriate disinfection levels throughout our distribution system. These standard disinfection practices are specifically designed to inactivate viruses.

The City of College Station’s water and wastewater utilities remain in continuous operation and are focused on providing you with safe, healthy water.

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About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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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:

  1. Annual Financial Report: In the workshop, the council will receive the city’s 2019 audit reports and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The reports provide a summary of the city’s financial position as of Sept. 30.
  2. Creek Meadows Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the base zoning from Townhouse with attached single-family homes to General Suburban with detached single-family homes for about 15 acres at the southwest corner of Victoria Avenue and Creek Meadows Boulevard North. The proposed development would blend into the surrounding detached single-family residential phases.
  3. UDO Amendments: After public hearings, the council will consider amendments to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance regarding the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay and impervious cover.
  4. Construction Manager at Risk: The council will consider Amendment No. 1 to the construction manager at risk contract with Core Construction that accepts the guaranteed maximum price of $1,332,208 for site work for the new city hall.
  5. Francis Drive Rehabilitation: The council will consider a $2.63 million contract with Larry Young Paving for replacing the pavement on Francis Drive with concrete from Munson Avenue to Shady Lane (remaining from Phase 1) and Walton Drive to Munson (Phase 2). The project also will replace the sidewalk and includes water, wastewater, and drainage improvements.

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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