Posts tagged “COVID-19

Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Nov. 23)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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

The meetings are streamed live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to Zoom or call 888 475 4499 and enter meeting number 945 5270 2890. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

5:51 p.m.

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

6:21 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled this item for discussion from tonight’s consent agenda:

  • Vehicle Registration Fee: The resolution supports a referendum being held to add $10 to vehicle registration fees — subject to approval by the state legislature — to help address mobility issues in Brazos County through the Regional Mobility Authority. The county has approved a support resolution, while the City of Bryan has yet to consider one.

6:22 p.m.

Open Records Request Process

The council discussed the city’s open records request process. The presentation included an overview of the Texas Public Information Act, an analysis of recent requests, historical trends, and a review of the process across Texas.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:45 p.m.

College Station Business Committee

The council discussed the possible creation of an ad hoc small business advisory committee.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:52 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.

6:57 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:01 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.

7:02 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously voted to approve the entire consent agenda.

  • The second reading of a franchise agreement with Brazos Valley Trash Valet and Recycling for the collection of recyclables from commercial businesses and multi-family locations.
  • A resolution supporting an increase in vehicle registration fees to address traffic and mobility issues through the Brazos County Regional Mobility Authority.

8:09 p.m.

Victoria Avenue Land Use

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to deny a request to change the land use from Wellborn Estate to Wellborn Commercial for about eight acres at 6620 Victoria Avenue. Several citizens spoke against the change. The applicant planned to develop self-storage units.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:15 p.m.

Semi-Annual Impact Fee Report

The council unanimously voted to accept the Semi-Annual Report on SystemWide Impact Fees for Water, Wastewater, and Roadway. The report documents the fees collected in each service area and identifies the capital improvement projects the revenues have been budgeted to help fund.

The city adopted the fees in 2016 and they were fully implemented by late 2018.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:25 p.m.

Greenways to Parkland Conversion

The council unanimously voted to approve the conversion of four greenway properties to 27 acres of parkland. The greenways were acquired through dedicated platting and purchased with 1998 bond funds.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:28 p.m.

Disaster Declaration Extension

The council unanimously voted to extend the mayor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration.

8:30 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council’s next workshop and regular meetings are set for Thursday, Dec. 10.

 


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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Choose to Shop College Station this holiday season

By Aubrey Nettles, Economic Development Manager

An annual rite of the holiday season is the hustle and bustle of busy shoppers searching stores for the perfect gift. The shops are festively decorated, and smiles abound as the joy of the season overwhelms our senses. 

Holiday shopping may look different this year, but those ideal gifts remain in abundance. In fact, with many businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, shopping in College Station is more vital than ever. 

You have friends, family members, and neighbors who own or operate — or are employed by — these businesses. Our entire community needs them to stay afloat.

Local shopping also generates sales taxes, a portion of which goes directly back to your community to fund essential government services such as the police, fire, and parks departments. More than 30% of the City of College Station’s annual revenue comes from sales tax revenue. When local sales are strong, we rely less on other revenue sources, which benefits us all.

Holiday shopping has traditionally been the most critical time of year for countless businesses since it generates their annual sales peak. This year, many are just trying to survive until the pandemic passes, and normal life resumes.

You can help by choosing to shop in College Station.

Local businesses have implemented extensive precautions to ensure the safety of their customers and employees. Some retailers have started Black Friday-type savings events early to avoid a rush of shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. Others allow you to order online and pick-up at the store, with many offering a curbside option.

Some even have contactless home delivery options for College Station and Bryan residents. 

Local stores have installed ample safety measures such as plexiglass dividers at check out and multiple sanitizing stations. All are enforcing six-foot physical spacing and mandatory face coverings. 

 While the obligatory face coverings may conceal the broad smiles we typically share at Christmastime, they can’t hide the sparkle in shoppers’ eyes and the cheerful nature of the season.

 


About the Blogger

Aubrey Nettles is in her second year as the city’s Economic Development Manager. She also served four years as the special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. Before coming to College Station, she was the executive assistant to the Fort Bend County Commission and was a management analyst for Harris County. A native of Smithville, Aubrey earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M in 2010.  


 

 


Podcast: How tourism can fuel business recovery

For the first time since the pandemic changed everything, I interviewed Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz. In spite of the local, state and federal funding put into the hands of local businesses, we still lost far too many.

So, now what?

In this episode of All Up In Your Business, Natalie talks about her dual role of supporting local businesses while aggressively working to bring in more jobs that diversify College Station’s economy. She also explains how her office’s brand-new tourism division aims to bring people to College Station at a time when there is still a reluctance to travel, attend events, and visit destinations.

This episode also features Economic Development Manager Aubrey Nettles, who is leading a holiday campaign to make College Station the Christmas destination in Texas, thanks in large part to a strategic partnership with Santa’s Wonderland. 

Nat finishes up with a few fun biz updates on things coming soon to College Station.

All Up In Your Business is available via Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube. Please subscribe, rate, and recommend!

Have a suggestion for a future topic or interview, or just want to say hi? Send to jsocol@cstx.gov  

 


About the Blogger Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 11th year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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

Standing (L-R): John Crompton, Bob Brick, Dennis Maloney. Sitting (L-R): Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, John Nichols.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

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

The meetings are streamed live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to Zoom or call 888 475 4499 and enter meeting number 910 2349 1784. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

5:12 p.m.

The workshop has started. 

5:28 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled these items for discussion from the regular meeting’s consent agenda:

  • Northgate Parking Removal: The ordinance would add “No Parking Here to Corner” signs at entrances and exits to public garages and parking areas in the Northgate District, and also addresses four intersections with sight clearance concerns in the area. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

  • Water/Wastewater Impact Fee Study: The $300,000 contract with Freese & Nichols is for an update to the  2016 water and wastewater impact study. The contract will include the calibration of the existing water and wastewater extended-period models, updates to water and wastewater capital improvement plans, and updates to land use assumptions to determine the potential maximum fees under the Texas Administrative Code.

5:49 p.m.

Neighborhood Street Sign Toppers

The council voted unanimously to approve the Neighborhood Street Sign Toppers Program, which involves installing sign toppers on existing city traffic-control signs at prominent neighborhood locations.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:04 p.m.

Destination Marketing

The council discussed and endorsed the city’s destination marketing strategy for tourism and economic development.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:34 p.m.

Small Business Advisory Group

The council discussed the formation of a small business advisory group and ways the city can engage with the small business community.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:38 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.

6:55 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:01 p.m.

Bill Harris Proclamation

The mayor issued a proclamation honoring Dr. Bill Harris for representing the city on the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District’s board of directors from 2013 to 2020.

7:04 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.

7:05 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda.

  • The renewal of master agreements not to exceed $30,000 each for real estate appraisal services with Duff & Phelps, JLL Valuation & Advisory Services, Lowery Property Advisors, Paul Hornsby & Company; S.T. Lovett & Associates, and Valbridge Property Advisors.
  • An annual price agreement not to exceed $900,204 with KBS Electrical Distributors for electric three-phase pad-mounted transformers.
  • The renewal of an inter-local agreement with Brazos County for housing College Station Class C misdemeanor prisoners in the Brazos County Jail.
  • Annual price agreements not to exceed $1,351,302 for electric warehouse inventory materials with Anixter ($32,803), KBS Electrical Distributors ($288,083), Techline ($999,886), and Wesco Distribution ($30,530).
  • The removal of street parking at entrances and exits to public garages, parking areas, and certain intersections in the Northgate District.
  • A $140,000 funding agreement with Catholic Charities to provide case management and assistance to residents affected by COVID-19.
  • A $257,234 lease agreement for the property at 614 Holleman Drive East among the Brazos Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of College Station and TRDWind Wolf Pen.
  • The first renewal of the master agreement not to exceed $150,000 with The Reynolds Company for Rockwell Automation products and services to maintain SCADA infrastructure.
  • A $4.61 million contract with Brazos Paving for base failure repairs and pavement treatments.
  • An ordinance prohibiting left turns from Gilchrist Avenue to Williams Street on school days.
  • A $300,000 contract with Freese & Nichols to update the city-wide water and wastewater impact study.
  • The 2020 Property Tax Roll of $52.5 million.
  • A real estate contract to convey one-acre of city-owned property at 1820 Harvey Mitchell Parkway in Bryan.

7:18 p.m.

Bond Refunding

The council voted unanimously to approve the issuance and sale of as much as $17,085,000 of Certificates of Obligation Series 2012 and General Obligation Refunding and Improvement Bonds Series 2012. The refunding would reduce overall bond costs by about $2.19 million (amount corrected 10/23).

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:00 p.m.

COVID-19 Assistance

After a public hearing, the council discussed COVID-19 assistance provided by the city to residents and businesses, other community needs caused by the pandemic, and an additional $822,000 in available CARES Act funding.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:02 p.m.

Baylor Scott & White Reimbursement

The council voted unanimously to approve a public health reimbursement of $748,000 with CARE Act funds to Baylor Scott & White for public health labor expenses and supplies related to COVID-19.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:04 p.m.

CHI St. Joseph Reimbursement

The council voted unanimously to approve a public health reimbursement of $641,168 with CARE Act funds to CHI St. Joseph Regional Health Center for public health labor expenses and supplies related to COVID-19.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:17 p.m.

Greenway to Parkland Conversion

The council voted unanimously to approve the conversion of 110.5 acres of greenway property to parkland in the area bordered by the Midtown Business Park, Rock Prairie Road, and State Highway 6.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:27 p.m.

Disaster Declaration Extension

The council unanimously voted to extend the mayor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration.

8:29 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council’s next workshop and regular meetings are set for Thursday, Nov. 12.

 


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 at city hall on Thursday for its workshop (after 4 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings. Public attendance is restricted.

The meetings will be streamed live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to Zoom or call 888 475 4499 and enter meeting number 910 2349 1784. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

To address the council via Zoom about any agenda item — or about non-agenda topics during Hear Visitors — you must 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. Street Sign Toppers: In the workshop, the council will discuss the Neighborhood Street Sign Toppers Program, which involves installing sign toppers on existing city traffic-control signs at prominent neighborhood locations.
  2. No Left From Gilchrist to Williams: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider prohibiting left turns from Gilchrist Avenue onto Williams Street on school days to improve safety during pick-up and drop-off times.
  3. Refunding Bonds: In the regular meeting, the council will consider the issuance and sale of as much as $17,085,000 of Certificates of Obligation Series 2012 and General Obligation Refunding and Improvement Bonds Series 2012. The refunding would reduce bond costs by about $1.46 million.
  4. COVID-19 Assistance: After a public hearing, the council will discuss COVID-19 assistance provided to residents and businesses, other community needs caused by the pandemic, and an additional $822,034 in available CARES Act funding.
  5. Greenway to Parkland Conversion: On the regular agenda, the council will consider converting 110.5 acres of greenway property to parkland in the area bordered by the Midtown Business Park, Rock Prairie Road, and State Highway 6.

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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How to avoid penalties at your game day gathering

By Barbara Moore, Assistant to the City Manager

Although COVID-19 continues to impact college towns across the country, many have found a glimmer of economic hope with the return of home football games.  Texas A&M’s season begins this week and will bring much-needed relief to local businesses, despite the limited number of fans allowed at Kyle Field.

While tailgating may look a bit different, opportunities exist to help celebrate the Aggies in pre-game style.

The vast majority of our businesses, residents, and students are doing their best to follow COVID-19 guidelines. But there are a few key things to remember to have a fun, safe, and compliant game day experience.

Restaurants, outdoor seating, and alcohol

Recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott increased restaurant capacity to 75% of usual occupancy. Restaurants and other commercial entities can have temporary outdoor seating but must have enough parking for their customers. Fire lanes also must remain open.

Restaurants and other businesses with liquor licenses may serve alcohol in outdoor seating areas, but patrons cannot leave the enclosed area with alcohol. If you have questions about on-premise alcohol requirements, contact the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s Bryan office at 979-260-8222 or visit tabc.texas.gov.

Tailgating and outdoor gatherings

Businesses and restaurants providing outdoor seating don’t need the mayor’s approval of more than 10 people for an outdoor gathering. However, the requirement still applies to other outdoor get-togethers, such as tailgate parties, ring dunk celebrations, birthday parties, and more. 

To request the mayor’s approval for gatherings of more than 10, apply at cstx.gov/covid19.

Many College Station parks have pavilions available for rent. To reserve a pavilion, contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 979-764-3486. You’ll still need the mayor’s approval for outdoor events with 10 or more people.

Special events

In some cases, a planned gathering may be large enough to require a special event permit. A special event is defined as:

… a temporary event, gathering or organized activity held outside the confines of a building or permanent structure, including, but not limited to, meetings, entertainment, performances, shows, exhibitions, street fairs, rallies, races, concerts, carnivals, or amusements held on city-owned or private property and sponsored by an applicant who is expected to draw more than 200 attendees.

You need to apply for a special events permit at least 30 days before your event.

Physical distancing

The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend businesses continue practicing COVID-19 protocols, including physical distancing among customers whenever possible.

Game days are critical to our community’s success, and we share your excitement about the return of Aggie football. With your help, we’ll host all our home games and welcome visitors to experience College Station while remaining safe and healthy.

If you have questions about COVID-19 requirements for businesses, tailgating, or other group gatherings, contact me at 979-764-6327.

Gig ‘em, Aggies!

 


About the Blogger

Barbara Moore is in her 14th year with the City of College Station and her second as assistant to the city manager. Barbara served 12 years as neighborhood services coordinator. She previously was the executive director of Family Outreach of Bryan/College Station and was the director of faith-based relations for the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. Barbara is a 1992 graduate of Jackson State and earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington in 1996.


 

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