City Council Preview (Feb. 9)


Here’s a quick overview of some of the items the College Station City Council will be discussing at its workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Feb. 9. This blog is not a complete and official agenda.

The workshop and regular meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. Previous council meetings are archived on the website. A live blog from the meetings will be posted on this site and can also be accessed through the city’s Facebook page.

Workshop Meeting (3 p.m.)

Police Department Update

Police Chief Jeff Capps will update the council on the state of the College Station Police Department, including a review of 2011 crime statistics.

Recycling Program Update

The council will receive an update on the city’s recycling program and will review previous internal studies along with possible options for the program.

Christmas at the Creek Report

The council will hear a post-event report on Christmas at the Creek, which changed locations and activities from previous years. The Parks and Recreation Department welcomed participation from many non-profit groups, businesses, the Arts Center and numerous churches. Wolf Pen Creek Park was heavily decorated and was a focal point for visitors beginning Thanksgiving weekend and continuing through New Year’s Day. The major activity nights were located at the Wolf Pen Creek Park complex on Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 10-11. Participation was estimated at 20,000 people over the four days, compared to 7,000 who attended the 2010 event at Central Park. The primary costs are part of Parks and Recreation’s operating budget, but sponsors were solicited and secured to help offset expenses.

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Why Does Affordable Housing Matter in College Station?

The Center for Housing Policy recently released an eye-opening report indicating that about 10 million working households in the United States spent more than half their income on housing. This “severe housing cost burden” affects nearly 25 percent of all rental households. Although Texas enjoys relatively low housing costs, its working households experienced one of the nation’s most significant increases in this cost burden from 2008 to 2009.

In College Station, only about 35 percent of total households are estimated to be owner-occupied, which is significantly less than the 68 percent across the state. Obviously, this is due in part to our large student population, but it’s also related to local incomes and the availability of affordable housing.  Nearly 15 percent of area families live below the poverty line, and for these families, even houses that sell for $100,000 or less — which represent only 6 percent of sales in recent years — can be unattainable.

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Clearing up Misconceptions About the Down Payment Assistance Program

David Gwin, the City of College Station’s Economic and Community Development Director, on Thursday updated the city council on the proposed 2012 Community Development Action Plan and budget. As part of his presentation, he addressed some of the myths and misconceptions regarding the Down Payment Assistance Program. Continue reading Clearing up Misconceptions About the Down Payment Assistance Program

City Council Meeting Summary (April 14, 2011)

This blog is a short summary of the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, April 14, and is not the official minutes. Changes made to specific items will be recorded in the minutes, which will be available in approximately two weeks.

Workshop Meeting Highlights

Update on the FY11 Capital Plan
Council voted 6-1 to include the Lick Creek Nature Center and East District Maintenance Shop in the FY2011 Capital Plan. Both projects were part of the 2008 bond authorization. Planning for the Lick Creek Nature Center and detailed design for the East District Maintenance Shop are scheduled to begin this year. However, the council recently voted to remove those projects from a debt reimbursement resolution. A debt reimbursement resolution is simply resolution declaring the council’s intent to reimburse the general fund for expenses associated with the design and/or construction of a capital project with long term debt. Staff also updated the council on the status of other projects in the FY2011 Capital Plan.
VOTE: Jana McMillan voted against the motion.

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Truth & Rumors: Low Income Housing

RUMOR: “The City of College Station is subsidizing low-income housing through federal grants.”

FALSE : The city is not subsidizing low-income housing using federal funds.

FACTS: The City of College Station supports non-profit partners constructing new housing for income eligible applicants. That means this program is not funded through federal stimulus bills or grants. The City of College Station previously used the federal HOME Investment Partnership Grant (HOME) grant to directly fund new home construction through the New Construction Program, but that program has been retired.

The city has five homes for sale, four of which were constructed in the past year. These houses are available only at the appraised value, and the asking price has never been lowered. To purchase one of these homes, the applicant must acquire a private mortgage that meets the applicable underwriting requirements. The city’s community development programs do not offer free rides; the city offers down payments for these homes in the form of a zero percent, deferred loan of $14,999.

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