Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

gavel[1]By Colin Killian, Public Communications Office

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Updated Parks Master Plan: The council will hear a workshop presentation on the updated master plan for Southeast Community Park, Lick Creek Greenway and use of the Rock Prairie Landfill property, which has potential for park development.
  2. All-Way Stop at Cross and Dogwood: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider implementing an all-way stop control at the intersection of Cross and Dogwood streets to improve pedestrian safety and mobility.
  3. Hearing on FY15 Budget, Tax Rate: The council will conduct public hearings on the city’s FY15 budget and a proposed 2.6-cent increase in the property tax rate. The budget and tax rate are scheduled for adoption Sept. 22.
  4. Halcon Energy Mineral Lease: After a public hearing, the council will consider entering into a mineral lease with Halcon Energy for oil, gas and related hydrocarbons on about 26 tracts of land generally located near Wellborn Road and FM2818.
  5. E-Cigarette Ordinance: The council will consider an ordinance prohibiting the purchase, possession and use of e-cigarettes by minors, but will not be considering restrictions on where e-cigarettes can be used. If approved, the ordinance will become effective in 20 10 days.

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Brick: Why I support adding e-cigarettes to College Station’s tobacco ordinance

Copyright: scyther5 / 123RF Stock Photo

Editor’s Note (Sept. 6): This blog was posted before the agenda for the Sept. 11 city council meeting was finalized. The council will now consider an ordinance amendment that prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and the possession of the devices by minors, but does not restrict where e-cigarettes may be used in public. The original amended ordinance would have prohibited e-cigarettes where tobacco products are already banned. Staff will continue to research provisions related to public use for future consideration.

By Blanche Brick,  Place 1 City Councilmember

On the same day the College Station City Council discussed adding e-cigarettes and vapor devices to the present ban on smoking in designated public spaces, the World Health Organization released this statement:

World Health Organization Press Release (Aug. 26)

(Newser) More support for those who think it’s too early to jump on the e-cigarette bandwagon: The vapor-producing devices may still pose a threat to users’ and bystanders’ health, says WHO, which suggests stronger regulations on the relatively new industry in a report released today, reports Reuters. The health organization also asks for a ban on puffing away on the battery-driven units indoors, as well as on advertising and flavored e-cigs that could lure underage users. Although e-cigs “are likely less toxic than conventional ones,” writes Stephanie Nebehay at Reuters, WHO researchers say that nicotine and other chemicals emitted by e-cigs are still a health hazard, especially for teens and pregnant women. Those chemicals can include formaldehyde, aluminum, and silicate particles, reports the Telegraph.

The WHO report is lobbying against e-cig vending machines and says manufacturers shouldn’t be able to tout their products as “smoking cessation aids” until more research is completed to back that claim up. The main debate right now seems to be between those who think that e-cigs can help cut down on tobacco-related deaths and those who argue that using e-cigs could lead to the real thing for youngsters—especially with flavors such as bacon, bubble gum, and even Thin Mint. “Many public health experts are concerned that the advertising of electronic cigarettes could make it seem normal again to think smoking is glamorous,” a health official tells the Telegraph. (The FDA proposes a ban on sales to minors, but hasn’t moved against flavors.)

The city council agreed that there should be a ban on the sale of these devices to minors but could not agree on adding these products to the existing no smoking ordinance, which bans the use of tobacco products in designated public places. The council deferred a decision on the proposed amendment until a future council meeting.

Continue reading “Brick: Why I support adding e-cigarettes to College Station’s tobacco ordinance”

Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Aug. 25)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Aug. 25. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:02 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:09 p.m. Continue reading “Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Aug. 25)”