Posts tagged “internet providers

Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Dec. 10)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Dec. 10. 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 992 5911 4379. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

3:21 p.m.

Speed Named Employee of the Year

Water Services’ Jeffrey Speed was named the city’s 2020 employee of the year at Thursday’s city council workshop. Speed has been with the city for more than than 20 years.

He is a GIS analyst whose work this year is described as “the cornerstone of the department’s ability to deliver the most-critical element – clean water – required to help control the pandemic.”

Speed made sure employees were able to remotely access advanced systems, and he taught himself all he needed to implement a pilot project related to Advanced Metering Infrastructure. His knowledge and problem-solving is said to have saved the city $100,000 in outside consulting work. Speed’s peers say he’s exceptionally good at what he does, and he’s a pleasure to work with.

The presentation provided to the council includes the other EOY nominees, along with the employees who have reached 20, 25, 30, and 35 years of service.

6:15 p.m.

The workshop has started. 

6:23 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled these items from tonight’s consent agenda for discussion:

  • Emergency Management Coordinator: The resolution appoints Tradd Mills as the city’s emergency management coordinator.
  • Lions Club Fourth of July: The $16,625 funding agreement with the College Station Noon Lions Club offsets part of the costs of the annual Fourth of July celebration.
  • Payment Processing Services: The amendment to the contract with Paymentus Corporation increases the amount to $1.5 million to cover additional utility billing services.
  • Luther Parking Removal: The amendment would remove parking on both sides of Luther Street near Wellborn Road to provide sufficient fire department response access.

6:52 p.m.

Community COVID-19 Assistance

The council discussed community assistance provided by the city in response to COVID-19.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

7:29 p.m.

Municipally-Owned Internet Service

The council discussed municipally-owned and provided internet services, including assessing local internet connectivity and reviewing how other cities and counties have enabled broadband options for residents.

The council will discuss the issue more at its January retreat.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

7:32 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.

7:39 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:44 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that does not appear on the posted agenda. 

7:47 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve these consent items:

  • The 2021 Council Calendar.
  • A $403,708 Community Development Block Grant funding agreement with the Brazos Valley Food Bank for a food delivery program for residents affected by COVID-19.
  • Appointed Tradd Mills as the city’s emergency management coordinator.
  • An agreement not to exceed $171,816.95 with ASAP Security Services for the video surveillance phase III project.
  • A contract for Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan Enterprise-Wide Calling, Smartnet Renewal Technology.
  • An annual purchase agreement not to exceed $115,000 with Fort Bend Services for dewatering chemical.
  • A Resolution Declaring Intention to Reimburse Certain Expenditures with Proceeds from Debt related to capital vehicle purchases.
  • A $1.5 million contract with Paymentus Corporation for payment processing services.
  • A modification to the substantial amendment of the 2019 Annual Action Plan to include Substantial Amendment No. 6 , which adds $822,034 in CARES Act Community Development Block Grant Funding to the Community Development budget.
  • An extension to the existing janitorial services contract.
  • Removed parking on a section of Luther Street near Wellborn Road.
  • The third amendment to the contract with Emergicon that adds Medicare, uninsured, and charity care reimbursement services.
  • A $3.93 million contract with CSA Construction for the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Centrifuge Improvements Project.
  • A $90,000 change order to a contract with Jones & Carterfor SCADA programming services for the Carters Creek WWTP Centrifuge Improvements Project.
  • An $830,000 contract with Juanita Martinez and Charles William Martinez for 4.85 acres needed for an electric substation.

This consent item was voted on separately:

  • The council voted 4-0-3 to approve a $16,625 funding agreement with the College Station Noon Lions Club. Mayor Mooney, Councilman John Nichols, and Councilwoman Linda Harvell recused themselves from the vote since they are members of the Noon Lions Club.

8:18 p.m.

Definitions of “Related” and “Family”

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to amend the definitions of “related” and “family” in the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. The amendment removes language referring to blood relations and marriage and clarifies specific familial types. Councilwoman Elizabeth Cunha voted against the motion.

Two people spoke in the public hearing, one in favor and one opposed to the changes.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:22 p.m.

Wellborn Road Zoning Change

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from Rural to Wellborn Commercial on about two acres at 14999 FM 2154. The change allows the development of the Wellborn Learning Center.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:30 p.m.

Fitch Parkway Zoning Change

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from Planned Development District to Suburban Commercial on about 4.5 undeveloped acres at 412 William D. Fitch Parkway. The existing zoning only permitted a self-storage facility, and the change allows additional development opportunities.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:47 p.m.

Roadway Landscaping

The council voted unanimously to require landscaping on city capital projects for major collector and arterial roadways. The budgeted amount will be 1-2% of the overall project budget.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

9:04 p.m.

2021 Legislative Program

The council voted unanimously to support the city’s priorities for the 87th Texas legislative session, which begins Jan. 12. The program advocates for the best interests of its residents and businesses. The city’s Legislative Program highlights the importance of home rule authority, local control, managing growth and development, and municipal finances.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

9:09 p.m.

Disaster Declaration Extension

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

9:11 p.m.

RMA Appointment

The council unanimously voted to appoint Veronica Morgan to another term as the city’s representative on the Brazos County Regional Mobility Authority. The RMA is an independent local government agency with authority to finance, acquire, design, construct, operate, and extend transportation projects.

9:20 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, Jan. 14. The council meets Dec. 29 to canvass the results of the Dec. 15 runoff election.

 


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 5 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 992 5911 4379. 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. Community COVID-19 Assistance: In the workshop, the council will discuss community assistance provided by the city in response to COVID-19.
  2. Municipally-Owned Internet Service: The council will have a workshop discussion about municipally-owned and provided internet services, including local internet connectivity and how other cities and counties have enabled broadband options.
  3. Definitions of “Related” and “Family”: In the regular meeting, the council will consider amending the definitions of “related” and “family” in the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. The amendment removes language referring to blood relations and marriage and clarifies specific familial types. 
  4. Fitch Parkway Zoning Change: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the zoning from Planned Development District to Suburban Commercial on about 4.5 undeveloped acres at 412 William D. Fitch Parkway. The existing zoning only permits a self-storage facility, and the change would attract development opportunities.
  5. Roadway Landscaping: The council will consider requiring landscaping on city capital projects for major collector and arterial roadways. The budgeted amount would be 1-2% of the overall project budget.

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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Why don’t we have more cable and internet options?

By Brian Piscacek, Assistant to the City Manager/Special Projects

Contrary to popular belief, the City of College Station does not limit local cable television or internet service options.

So why doesn’t our community have more choices?

First, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) grants cable and telecommunications franchises at the state level. The city of College Station has nothing to do with it.

From there, market forces come into play. Generally speaking, new providers find it cost-prohibitive to enter a market where an established franchisee already has the necessary infrastructure in place. In our case, the local cable franchisee has built its vast infrastructure over many years.

That’s why Suddenlink Communications is our community’s primary cable TV and internet provider.

Suddenlink’s infrastructure is located in the city’s public right-of-way, a publicly-owned space through which authorized telecommunications and cable companies provide their services. In return, companies such as Suddenlink pay quarterly franchise fees to the city.

A competitor is free to invest in our market and offer those services. In fact, a handful of smaller internet and telecommunications providers are available in parts of our area.

If you have questions about your bill or concerns about your service, your best bet is to contact the company. Even the PUC doesn’t maintain regulatory authority over cable television service, despite issuing the franchises.

 


About the Blogger

Brian Piscacek has been with the City of College Station since 2012 and has served as assistant to the city manager for special projects since early 2019. He was previously a community development analyst. Before coming to College Station, Brian worked for Texas Tech and the North & East Lubbock Community Development Corporation. He earned bachelor’s (2007, Political Science/History) and master’s (2009, Public Administration) degrees from Tech.


 

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