Posts tagged “capital projects

Council reviews general fund, capital projects budget

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council had its first workshop about the proposed FY19 city budget on Monday at the CSU Meeting and Training Facility. The three-hour session primarily covered the city’s general fund and capital projects.

On Tuesday, the council will focus on special revenue funds, enterprise funds, internal service funds, hotel tax fund, and outside agency funding. A third workshop could happen Wednesday if needed.

The Fiscal Year 2019 proposed net budget for the City of College Station totals $360.7 million for all funds, which includes $252.3 million for operations and maintenance and $108.4 million for capital projects.

Proposed FY19 Budget Document

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

General Fund 

The General Fund accounts for city activities typically considered governmental functions, including police and fire, public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development services. Also included are the primary support services for these areas such as fiscal services, information technology, and administrative services in general government.

Proposed FY19 General Fund revenues are $81.4 million, a 3.8 percent increase. The total net taxable certified value of property is about $9.5 billion, an increase of 6.6 percent from 2018. The increase in value is due in part to $403.2 million in new construction and development being added to the tax rolls. Existing property values grew by just over two percent.

Tax Rate

The FY19 Proposed Budget includes a tax rate of 50.5841 cents per $100 assessed valuation, which includes a 0.8341-cent increase on the General Fund side to offset a five percent homestead exemption approved by the city council earlier this year. The proposed operations and maintenance side of the tax rate is unchanged at 28.5502, while the debt service side stays at 22.0339.

Under the new rate, the owner of a $200,000 home would pay about $84 per month. The average tax rate for Texas cities with populations between 75,000-150,000 is about 59 cents. The City of Bryan has a tax rate of almost 63 cents.

The effective tax rate for FY19 — the rate that will raise the same revenues as last year on the same properties —  is 47.8968 cents. The rollback tax rate of 52.2313 cents is the highest that can be adopted before citizens can initiate a petition to lower it back to the rollback rate.

The core services of police, fire, emergency medical services, public works, and parks and recreation account for about 65 percent of the city’s expenses. About 41 percent of new spending requests for FY19 were made by the public safety departments.

Capital Projects

Capital projects account for almost a third of the proposed budget. Included is $34.8 million for electric, water and wastewater utilities, $35 million for streets and transportation, $12.3 million for parks and recreation, and $30.2 million for facilities.

The remainder of the capital projects budget is for special revenue items such as the synthetic fields at Veterans Park & Athletic Complex and the new Southeast Park — which will both be paid for with Hotel Tax Funds — and community development, drainage, parkland and minor sidewalk projects.

Debt Service 

Standard & Poor’s gives the City of College Station an AA+ rating for both general obligation bonds and certificates of obligation. Moody’s upgraded the city’s rating to Aa1 in 2018. The city’s debt service for FY19 is about $20.5 million.

What’s Ahead?

A public hearing on the proposed tax rate is scheduled for Sept. 5 at city hall. A public hearing on the budget and tax rate will be Sept. 13 at city hall. Budget and tax rate adoption is set for Sept. 27.

 


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 been 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 budget focuses on growth and public safety

2019 budget graphic

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The proposed FY19 city budget presented to the College Station City Council on Aug. 9 totals $360.7 million, about $5 million less than this year.

Yes, you read that right. The city plans to spend 1.37 percent less in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. But before you fret about cuts in our high-quality services, let’s take a closer look.

The decrease is all on the capital projects side. We’re still investing about $108.4 million in vital infrastructure projects, but that includes multi-year projects that were appropriated in FY18 and are still in progress. The operations and maintenance part of the budget includes a $1.9 million boost to address growth and maintain our high level of service.

The General Fund, which pays for public safety, public works, parks, planning and development services, and administration, totals about $83.7 million. The overall budget focuses on core services and maintaining and building the infrastructure for a city that’s grown by more than 25 percent since the 2010 census.

The proposed budget also reflects the 5 percent homestead exemption the city council adopted in June to shift some of the property tax burden off permanent residents. The budget offsets the lost revenue with a property tax rate increase of less than 1 cent, raising it to 50.5841 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The only proposed change in utility rates is a five percent wastewater increase to be used for system improvements needed to keep up with our growth and to replace aging infrastructure.

Tax Rate Remains Low

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.

College Station’s proposed tax rate would still rank among the lowest in Texas and would be about a dime less than the state average among similar-sized cities. It’s far less than what you’ll find in other fast-growing areas, including Bryan, which has a tax rate of almost 63 cents.

If you have a $200,000 home in College Station, you’ll pay about $84 a month for 24-hour police and fire protection, streets and traffic management, parks facilities, code enforcement and planning and development services.

That’s a great deal when compared to what you typically pay for cell phone or cable television service.

Public Safety

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 account for more than half of the city’s General Fund budget.

The proposed budgets for the police and fire departments includes funds for new equipment along with pay increases to maintain competitiveness in the local market and increase retention.

Capital Projects and Infrastructure

The $108.4 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.

The capital budget includes about $16.2 million for street and transportation projects such as the extensions to Greens Prairie Road and Greens Prairie Trail, phase three of the Royder Road project, and the relocation of the Cain Road/Deacon Drive railroad crossing.

Facility projects include the expansion of the library, the new police station, initial phases of a new city hall, and renovations to create a senior and community center in the old Arts Council building at Dartmouth and Colgate.

Utility projects include the implementation of smart electric meters (Advanced Meter Infrastructure), the Graham Road electric substation, and the expansion of the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Parks & Recreation

The parks budget covers significant facility improvements and repairs along with the construction of Southeast Park near the old Rock Prairie landfill and the new synthetic fields at Veterans Park & Athletic Complex. Also included are a new grounds worker and an upgrade to the lightning detection system used throughout our parks system.

City Services

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 proposed budget includes a 2 percent pay scale adjustment for all positions, a 1½ percent pool for performance pay increases, and a 5 percent boost in the city’s contribution to employee health care premiums.

Public Hearing Dates

The council will review the budget in a series of in-depth workshops from Aug. 20-22, with final adoption of the budget and tax rate set for Sept. 27. A public hearing on the tax rate is set for Sept. 5, followed by a public hearing on the tax rate and budget on Sept. 13.

 


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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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 (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Automated Metering Infrastructure: The council will hear a workshop presentation on a recent Automated Metering Infrastructure Feasibility Study and the benefits and challenges of using the technology.
  2. Summit Crossing Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to rezone about 36 acres from Planned Development District to Townhouse near the intersection of Buena Vista and Summit Crossing Lane. The change would allow for Phases 4-6 of the Summit Crossing development.
  3. Harvey Road Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to rezone about 12 acres from Planned Development District to Multi-Family near the intersection of Summit Crossing Lane and Harvey Road. The change would allow for development.
  4. Westside Annexation: The council will consider annexing about 65 acres near Rock Prairie Road West, Holleman Drive South, and North Graham Road. The council conducted a pair of public hearings on the annexation in March.
  5. Certificates of Obligation: The council will consider authorizing the issuance of up to $55 million in certificates of obligation to fund various capital projects, Including streets, parks, land for a future fire station, city hall design, information technology, and electric, water, and wastewater system improvements. The council approved the projects as part of the FY18 budget.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

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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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 (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Capital Improvement Projects: In the workshop, the council will discuss the status of the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, including projects recommended by the Citizen Advisory Committee.
  2. Public Hearing Notifications: The council will have a workshop discussion about community notification practices for rezoning and other cases that involve a public hearing.
  3. Non-Residential Landscaping Standards: Another workshop item is a review of recommendations regarding the city’s landscaping requirements, including streetscaping, buffer standards, and options to encourage water conservation.
  4. Southeast Park Design Contract: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $1.22 million contract for design and construction phase services related to Southeast Community Park on the south side of Rock Prairie Road near the old landfill. The project includes the development of eight ballfields with associated infrastructure and amenities.
  5. Conditional Use Permit on Fitch: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request for a conditional use permit for a bar in an existing commercial building west of the intersection of William D. Fitch Parkway and Arrington Road.

At the start of the regular meeting, the council will recognize College Station High School’s state champion football team.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

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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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 (6 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Hand-Held Ordinance Update: In the workshop, the council will discuss legislative changes that could impact the city’s ordinance regarding the use of hand-held communication devices while driving. The council will also review a study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute on the effectiveness of the city ordinance.
  2. Lakeway Drive Extension: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider an $11.36 million contract for the extension of Lakeway Drive from Fitch Parkway to the Scott & White Hospital near Rock Prairie Road.
  3. Royder Road Expansion: Another consent agenda item is a $2.88 million for the first phase of the expansion of Royder Road. The project includes reconstruction of the road from the city limit to near Backwater Lane
  4. and changing the 2-way asphalt road section into a 3-lane concrete roadway.
  5. Fairview Avenue Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider rezoning two lots on the south side of Fairview Avenue at the George Bush Drive intersection. The change would allow the relocation of the nearby Aggieland Outfitters store.
  6. Budget, Tax Rate Public Hearings: The council will conduct public hearings on the proposed FY18 city budget and property tax rate. The proposed tax rate is 49.75 cents per $100 of assessed value, a 2½-cent increase. The $365.5 million budget and tax rate are scheduled for adoption on Sept. 25.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD), or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

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 done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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 (June 8)

Back (L-R): Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, James Benham, Barry Moore. Front (L-R): Blanche Brick, Mayor Karl Mooney, Julie Schultz.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD) and online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:18 p.m.

The workshop has started. 

6:19 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers didn’t pull any consent items for workshop discussion.

6:49 p.m.

Thoroughfare Planning Update

The council heard an update on the proposed Bryan/College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 2050 Major Thoroughfare Concept Map and the College Station Thoroughfare Plan.

In 2016, the MPO began seeking public feedback regarding a draft of the 2050 Major Thoroughfare Concept Map, which covers Brazos County and includes major thoroughfare classifications of minor arterial, major arterial, super arterial, and freeway. The concept does not depict minor collectors or major collectors, which are smaller thoroughfares on municipal thoroughfare plans.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:14 p.m.

Capital Project Funding

The council discussed the funding of capital projects that address the city’s infrastructure needs.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:16 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. 

7:16 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:21 p.m.

Girl Scout Gold Award

Mayor Karl Mooney recognized Whitney Browning for receiving the Girl Scout Gold Award, the organization’s highest achievement. The mayor proclaimed today as Whitney Browning Day in College Station. Browning is pictured below with the mayor and her mother, Nancy.

7:32 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.

  • Ben Roper recognized Army Pfc. Clayton W. Henson as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 20-year-old Stanton native died April 17, 2004, when his convoy was ambushed in Dwaniyan, Iraq.
  • George Dresser asked the council to find solutions to help preserve neighborhoods.
  • Emily Jane Cowen, representing the Southside Neighborhood Advocacy Group, asked to partner with city staff and council to preserve the neighborhood.

7:32 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the consent agenda:

  • An $816,000 consultant contract with Kimley-Horn for design and construction phase services for the Woodson Village Utility Rehabilitation Project.

7:36 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

7:36 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, June 22.

 


About the Author

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 been 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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