Posts tagged “capital projects

Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (May 13)

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

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, May 13. It’s not the official minutes.

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

5:01 p.m.

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

5:02 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

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

5:45 p.m.

Bicycle Safety

The council heard a presentation about possible policies and programs to help create a safer environment for bicyclists. The discussion included crash data analysis and an overview of areas popular with bicyclists.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:02 p.m.

Energy Efficiency Programs

The council reviewed College Station Utilities’ programs that encourage energy efficiency.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:05 p.m.

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

6:13 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:18 p.m.

College Arts Scholarships

The Arts Council of Brazos Valley — through the generous support of local donors — awards multiple scholarships each year to young artists. The College Arts Scholarship is open to graduating seniors in Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, and Washington counties who will attend an accredited college or university with a course of study in the arts, culture or heritage fields. 

The 2019 recipients:

College Station High School’s Lindsey Franks was awarded the $5,000 Netta Jackson Simek Emerging Artist Scholarship and plans to study acting at Oklahoma City University.

College Station High School’s Benjamin Moder was awarded a$3,000 scholarship and plans to study design at Carnegie Mellon.

A&M Consolidated High School’s Aimee Deng was awarded a $3,000 scholarship and plans to study painting at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

A&M Consolidated High School’s Jacob Eaker was awarded a $3,000 scholarship and plans to study theatrical design at the University of Texas-Austin.

6:20 p.m.

National Bike Month

Mayor Mooney proclaimed May as National Bike Month.

6:23 p.m.

National Public Works Week

The mayor proclaimed May 19-25 as National Public Works Week.

6:34 p.m.

Hear Visitors

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

  • Councilwoman Elianor Vessali recognized Navy Airman Adrian M. Campos as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 22-year-old El Paso native died on April 21, 2008, in a non-combat incident in Dubai.
  • Jorge Sanchez spoke about the benefits of protective bike lanes.
  • Robert Rose spoke in support of bicycle safety initiatives.

6:35 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A $1.5 million bid award to H&B Contractors (not to exceed $600,000) and Primoris T&D Services (not to exceed $900,000) for annual electric system construction and maintenance labor.
  • The extension of the term of the Employee Health Clinic contract with CHI St. Joseph Health through Dec. 31 to align with the city’s benefit plan year.
  • The city’s emergency management plan that provides a consistent approach to managing natural disasters, man-made disasters or terrorism.
  • Brazos County’s mitigation action plan to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of loss of life and property from natural disasters.
  • The reappointment of Brian Hilton as the city’s emergency management coordinator.
  • A $153,394.92 contract with Jamail and Smith Construction for upgrades at the Lincoln Recreation Center basketball pavilion, drinking fountains at Lick Creek Park, and concrete pads for benches at the Cove of Nantucket Park.
  • A $9,925 change order to the TriTech subscription service, license and use agreement related to the police CAD/RMS project.
  • The renewal of an annual contract $9,925 with Brazos Valley Softball Umpires Association to provide officials for city athletic leagues, programs, and tournaments.

6:51 p.m.

FY19 Certificates of Obligation 

The council voted unanimously to authorize $82 million in certificates of obligation to provide resources for a new city hall, streets, parks, information technology, utility improvements, and debt issuance costs.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:56 p.m.

Sewer Line Easement

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to establish public utility easements for the Huntington sewer trunk line along the perimeter of greenways east of Lakeway Drive and north of Fitch Parkway. The city expects no negative greenway impact.

After a public hearing, the council will consider establishing public utility easements for a sewer line along the perimeter of greenways east of Lakeway Drive and north of Fitch Parkway. The city expects no negative greenway impact.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:58 p.m.

Parks and Recreation Board

The council voted unanimously to appoint Kevin Henderson to fill an unexpired term on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. The term expires in January.

6:59 p.m.

After the council discussed and reviewed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, May 23.

 


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. Neighborhood Conservation Overlay: In the workshop, the council will consider recommendations related to the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay zoning district. The council has received additional information related to neighborhood conservation ordinances in Bryan, and the Heart of Southside since the NCO process ended.
  2. School Zone on Graham Road: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider adding a 25 mph school zone along Graham Road, Longmire Drive and Birmingham Road for International Leadership Texas.
  3. Traffic Signal at Texas-Brothers: The consent agenda also includes a contract for a traffic signal at the intersection of Texas Avenue and Brothers Boulevard. TxDOT is installing medians on Texas between Harvey Mitchell Parkway and Deacon Drive.
  4. BioCorridor Zoning Amendment: After a public hearing, the council will consider amending the zoning for the Research Valley BioCorridor Development Project, which covers about 147 acres between State Highway 47, Raymond Stotzer Parkway, Turkey Creek Parkway, and the city limit. The proposed changes would provide process and design flexibility.
  5. Francis Drive Emergency Contract: The council will consider an emergency construction contract with Larry Young Paving to complete the rehabilitation of Francis Drive from Shady Drive to Glenhaven Drive. The city terminated the previous contract, and the emergency contract is needed to preserve and protect public health and safety.

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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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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