San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

March 28th, 2009
San Marcos lobbies for $20 million in earmarks

STAFF REPORT

City leaders lobbied for more than $20 million in federal appropriations for local projects while in Washington last week for a National League of Cities Conference on congressional programs.

Mayor Susan Narvaiz, city council members and city staff met with U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s and Sen. John Cornyn’s staff in their efforts to seek earmarks for the 2010 fiscal year. The city’s requests include:

  • $11 million for a Aquarena Springs Drive railroad overpass, a project projected to cost a total of $26 million. The city has already secured $15 million through the Texas Department of Transportation’s Rail Safety Fund.
  • $4.7 million to fund part of a new terminal building at the San Marcos airport as part of a larger overhaul expected to cost about $13 million.
  • $4.324 million to build or rebuild sidewalks in the Central Business District including handicap accessibility compliance, crosswalks and improved mobility between downtown and the Texas State University campus.

These requests are in addition to the projects the city is seeking to fund from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly called the stimulus package, some of which are scheduled to be discussed at the Tuesday’s city council meeting. These include requests for additional police officers through the U.S. Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing program.

Along with City Manager Rick Menchaca and Communications/Intergovernmental Relations director Melissa Millecam, council members attended briefings on municipal briefings at the league’s annual Congressional City Conference.

Also while in Washington, Narvaiz was appointed by the league’s board to serve on the NLC Governance Task Force, a 20-member committee of municipal leaders from across the country.

City council member John Thomaides received the Bronze Leadership Fellow Award from the league for his participation in the organization’s Leadership Training Institute. The LTI offers in depth training for elected officials in leadership, technical skills, communications, community-building and partnerships, and innovation and managing change.

City council members serve on several league committees, including Mayor Narvaiz on Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations, the University Communities Council, and Women in Municipal Government. Chris Jones serves on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources and as a director on the National Black Caucus of Elected Officials. John Thomaides is a member of the University Communities Council.

— BRAD ROLLINS

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