Posts tagged “internet

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.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 

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.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Sept. 26)

Sitting (L-R): Mayor Pro Tem Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Elianor 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 Thursday, Sept. 26. 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.

5:39 p.m.

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

5:50 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled these consent items for workshop discussion:

  • Bingo Fee Collection: The resolution continues the city’s share of the prize fees awarded at bingo games conducted in College Station after Jan. 1 as required by new state law.
  • Holleman Drive Speed Limit: The ordinance would change the speed limit from 60 mph to 40 on Holleman Drive South between North Dowling Road and Rock Prairie Road. A recently completed project widened Holleman to four lanes with a median/center turn lane.

6:19 p.m.

Residential Parking

The council reviewed city ordinances, policies, and practices related to parking in residential areas. The discussion included parking in school zones, parking removal policies, parking pavement coverage on residential lots, and game day parking.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:40 p.m.

Traffic Calming Policy

The council received an update on the city’s traffic calming policy, which allows staff to be more responsive to resident’s requests and creates a ranking matrix of neighborhood plans based on safety criteria.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:47 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.

6:57 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:03 p.m.

MDA Fill The Boot Days

Mayor Mooney proclaimed Oct. 10-12 as the College Station Fire Department’s “Fill the Boot” days benefitting the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

7:07 p.m.

TAAF Games of Texas

Mayor Mooney presented a shadow box to Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Executive Director Mark Lord. The box contains mementos from the TAAF’s 2019 Summer Games of Texas that were conducted here in July. Lord also presented the city with a plaque in appreciation of its support of the games.

The event attracted 8,461 athletes from across the state to compete in 12 sports. Only 130 participants were local, which means the rest – along with about 20,000 of their coaches, family members, and friends – were visitors who dropped an estimated $8.1 million into the local economy.

7:10 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person 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 Army Capt. Rowdy J. Inman as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 38-year-old Panorama Village native died of combat wounds on Dec. 22, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq.

7:15 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve these consent agenda items:

  • Renewal of six master agreements 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.

  • A $144,060, three-year contract with Frontier Communications for a 2-gigabyte internet connection.
  • A resolution adopting the Fire Department’s fees, rates, and charges.
  • Annual blanket orders not to exceed $1,065,070.50 for electric inventory items: Techline ($658,887), KBS Electric ($253,115), Texas Electric Cooperative ($92,975), and Anixter ($60,093).
  • A resolution approving the continued receipt of a share of the bingo prize fees awarded at bingo games conducted in College Station after Jan. 1.
  • FY20 insurance premiums for all lines of coverage not to exceed $650,000, including Excess Liability and Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Property/Boiler & Machinery, Commercial Crime, EMT Liability, Auto Property Damage, Cyber Liability, Unmanned Aircraft liability and property, and Special Events.
  • Renewal of the annual price agreement not to exceed is $503,214.55 for electric three-phase pad mount transformers with KBS Electrical Distributors.
  • A $3.28 million contract with Larry Young Paving to construct Phase 1 of the widening of Greens Prairie Trail.
  • An ordinance temporarily changing the posted speed limit to 30 mph on Greens Prairie Road from 1,000 feet west of Woodlake Drive to the Royder Road Intersection during the Greens Prairie Road Widening Project.

This item was voted on separately:

  • The council voted unanimously approved a motion by Councilman John Nichols to postpone until Oct. 7 the vote on the ordinance changing the posted speed limit on Holleman Drive South from North Dowling Road to the Rock Prairie Road Intersection. The limit in the ordinance was 40 mph, and Nichols motion asked that it be 45.

7:26 p.m.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant

The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution accepting a $315,597 Assistance to Firefighters Grant. The funds will be used for the Blue Card Hazard Zone Incident Command Training and Certification Program and source-capturing diesel exhaust removal systems for fire stations.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:40 p.m.

Fun for All Playground Phase 2

The council voted unanimously to approve a $1.8 million contract for Phase 2 of the Fun for All Playground at Central Park. The second phase includes a stadium with bleachers and a quarter-scale artificial turf field. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:46 p.m.

Budget Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a $325,000 amendment to the FY19 city budget. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:18 p.m.

FY 20 Budget Adoption

The council voted 6-1 to adopt the city’s FY 20 budget of $341.2 million, which includes a general fund budget of $105.2 million and capital projects totaling $57.9 million. Councilwoman Elianor Vessali voted against the budget. A public hearing on the budget was Sept. 12.

In a second vote, the council voted 6-1 to ratify the increase in property tax revenue reflected in the budget. Councilwoman Vessali voted against the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:56 p.m.

FY 20 Tax Rate Adoption

The council voted 5-2 to adopt the FY 20 proposed property tax rate of $0.534618 per $100 assessed value, a $.028777-cent increase. Councilwoman Vessali and Councilman Jerome Rektorik voted against the motion. The proposed rate will generate $51.7 million for debt service and city operations. Four residents spoke against the tax increase.

Public hearings on the tax rate were Aug. 22 and Sept. 12.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:06 p.m.

Texas Independence Ballpark Midtown College Station

The council voted unanimously to officially name the new park on Rock Prairie Road as Texas Independence Ballpark Midtown College Station. The council also named the complex’s eight ball fields as Gonzales, Goliad, Alamo, San Jacinto, Sabine River, Rio Grande, Red River, and Lone Star.

The park had been temporarily called Southeast Park.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:22 p.m.

Texas A&M Ticket Reselling

The council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance related to Texas A&M ticket reselling, along with an inter-local agreement with the university for related law enforcement assistance. 

Reselling of A&M football tickets often results in unsuspecting buyers purchasing invalid or counterfeit tickets. The ordinance requires a university permitting process. It doesn’t impact the occasional resale of personal tickets. The agreement allows university police to help the city with enforcement.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:24 p.m.

BVSWMA Board Appointment

The council voted 6-0-1 to reappoint Councilman John Nichols to the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency’s board of directors. Nichols abstained from the vote.

9:24 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

9:24 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Monday, Oct. 7.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian 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.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!




	

Podcast: Faster internet will enhance our economy, quality of life

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

The College Station City Council recently inked an agreement allowing an ultra-high-speed internet provider to lease available city-owned fiber strands.

In this edition of the podcast, our guest is Place-6 City Councilman James Benham, who not only makes his living in the world of technology, but is committed to expanding College Station’s tech infrastructure and quality of life.

Podcast Archive (more…)


Why College Station needs better bandwidth

I’ve recently received a few questions about why we need internet bandwidth speeds 20 times faster than what we currently have available, so I thought I would try to break it down for everyone. The whole high-speed bandwidth argument has to do with five variables:

  1. The size of the data pipe (how much data can move through at once).
  2. The speed of the data pipe (how fast that data moves through the pipe).
  3. The quality of the data pipe (how much stuff gets lost between point A and point B).
  4. The cost of the data pipe (the price of moving stuff through the pipe and the price of constructing the pipe).
  5. The availability of the data pipe (where the pipe can be found and run).

(more…)