The San Marcos City Council met in regular session last night. The Council held a public hearing on Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project funding requests in order to receive public input and to aid the Council in deciding on its allocation decisions. CDBG is a decades long grant program of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
There were six project requests. The South-side Community Center requested $101,000 for residential rehabilitation for seven home owner occupied residences. The Hays Caldwell Women’s Center requested $78,167 for a playground at the new Shelter facility. The San Marcos Public Works Department requested $96,000 for a Guadalupe Sidewalk project. The San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department (PRD) requested funding for three projects: $95,000 for Swift Park rehabilitation; $95,500 for the development of Eddie Durham Park Facilities; and $26,000 for the Cephus House project for design and structural rehabilitation work.
Additionally, the city staff requested $94,000 to administer the CDBG program. Under HUD regulations, administrative costs cannot exceed 20% of the CDBG allocation. The city’s request represents 18% of the allocation.
Ruben Garza spoke for the South-side Community Center and Marla Johnson spoke on behalf of the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center. They were the only people to speak at the public hearing.
Janive Hendrix, CDBG Program Technician for San Marcos, explained that the requests totaled $586,167 while the the funds available totaled $514,869 leaving a $71,298 shortfall. Rodney Cobb, Director of the San Marcos PRD, asked to withdraw his department’s request for the Durham funding because the money requested for the Durham project wouldn’t cover all the costs of the total renovation needed and the PRD was requesting funding for two other projects. With the withdrawal of the PRD’s Durham funding request, there was a $24,202 “surplus”. After much discussion, the Council directed staff that it wanted to fund all the re-mailing requests and fund reconstruction of the Rio Vista basketball courts.
The Council also had a sustained discussion on the second reading (vote) of the city’s proposed solid waste and recycling contract with Texas Disposal Systems (TDS). An important change from such previous contracts with TDS and other solid waste providers is the proposal to move to once a week waste collection. At the first reading of the proposed contract in its April 15 meeting, the Council approved the contract by a 5-1-1 vote. Council-member Couch voted No and Council-member Guerrero abstained.
At last night’s council deliberations, Council-members Guerrero and Couch thanked TDS representatives for meeting with them and said TDS is willing to give residents the option of either renting or purchasing a second wheeled waste cart. (Purchase cost would be $95).
Council-member John Thomaides expressed concern about locking the city to recycling provisions in a five year contract when recycling options could be expanded in the future. TDS representative Ryan Beard said his company was “excited” about the possibility of “offering new recycling opportunities.”
After much additional discussion, Council approved the proposed contract on second reading unanimously. Further, the Council directed staff to work with TDS to modify the proposed contract to include giving the residents the option of purchasing a second waste cart and giving the city the option of adding single stream recycling once Austin has such a facility.. Also, Council requested that TDS bring to the next regular council meeting a cost estimate for adding single stream recycling immediately to the proposed contract under discussion.
The Council tabled approval of a janitorial contract to Perfect Finish Commercial Cleaning. Council discussion revolved around the issues of legitimate preference to local bidders and legal requirements allowing the Council to award a bid to a local company whose bid is within 3% of the lowest bidder’s bid amount.
The Council heard a presentation from Dr. Richard Lewis on the results of the Citizen’s Summit Meetings and the development of a City Vision Statement.
Brian McCarthy and Daniel Dhillon made a presentation on the proposed Prime Village development on behalf of Land Developers Association Corporation. The proposed development is on a 500 acre tract lying between McCarty and Center-point roads located behind the Prime Outlets mall. The development would include commercial, mixed use, four-plex residential, small lot single family homes, and large lot single family homes. The large lot housing area is planned as a gated community.
The next regular meeting of the San Marcos City Council is scheduled for May 20.
By ED MIHALKANIN, Ph.D