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September 17th, 2008
San Marcos City Council makes huge decisions as the new fiscal year approaches.

The third and final reading of the water and waste water rate increase ordinance drew a huge crowd. The Council Chamber was full of concerned residents ready to voice their opinions. During the30-minute citizen comment period, the Council heard statement after statement in opposition to the rate increase, and then the floor was open for comment once again on the issue, which only drew more of the same. The Council heard their constituents and acted to table the ordinance. Mayor Susan Narvaiz proposed the issue get tabled and the city cover the increase to allow the Council enough time to seek and research all viable alternatives. “I’d like to ask the Council to fund it and look at it extensively for our future,” said Narvaiz.All Council members voted in support of tabling the issue, with John Thomaides voting no, and Guerrero absent. Thomaides said he is in support of tabling the increase, but not of tabling it with conditions, specifically mentioning his opposition to funding the $1,069,000 it will cost the city without first having a workshop to better understand the situation. Narvaiz also suggested a full analysis of how everything in the city gets funded, and move forward with new policy changes “that would better address the current state and future of San Marcos.”

Among the concerned residents, were also several representatives of wrecker companies who were present to articulate their opposition to an ordinance that would regulate performance of towing within the city. San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams said, in his opinion, the ordinance could use some modifications. As written during presentation, the ordinance would require a summons from property owners before any non-consent tow can take place.

Wrecker companies took this clause offensively, and said this issue has already been addressed in the contracts they are under with property owners; they are entitled to remove illegally parked cars from the property. The signs posted on the properties state the amount the tow will cost those illegally parked, but the price does not include the storage fee. This ordinance would force property owners to provide signs stating the cost of the tow “plus storage fees.” It would also make payments of cash, a one-party check, or credit card an available mean to cover the any costs incurred on site. The Council gave direction to staff to bring the ordinance back for its second of three readings with some new amendments; removing the required summons, specific language on signs, and making only local checks and travelers checks, not out-of-state checks, an acceptable form of payment, along with cash and credit cards.

Citizens also had some thoughts on the land use plan on the intersection of Concho Street and LBJ Street, and the development standards for the Concho Commons Planned Development District. A few citizens voiced their concern with the availability of parking for this development, and urged the council to vote against it. A 37,241 square foot building retail center is projected for this area, which is a 66 percent increase in square footage from its prior use, but only an approximate seven percent increase in parking. A building of this size is required to have 158 parking spots, but only about 90 are being offered, which poses an approximate 36 percent reduction in parking. Citizens opposed to the development expressed the parking problem already in existence downtown, however the council argued that this is they type of business San Marcos needs to attract.

The Planning and Zoning Commission has approved the project by a 5-2 vote. Some recommendations offered to the council were to have off-site leases that would provide parking for staff and new uses. Another option would be to create approximately an additional 59 parking spaces by constructing a raised deck parking at the same grade of Guadalupe Street, this option would bring about approximately 149 parking spaces; 9 spots shy of the requirement for a building of this square footage. The Council voted to adopt the ordinance. “In the investment we made in going through the downtown master plan, (this project) speaks to it,” said Narvaiz.

The budget for fiscal year 2008-09 was adopted, as well as the tax rate set at $0.5302.


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0 thoughts on “San Marcos City Council makes huge decisions as the new fiscal year approaches.

  1. Was there any mention at the city council meeting of a 24 hour emergency pet clinic in San Marcos? The Mayor said in her August 21st press conference that she was going to see to it that one was established. I guess she was just blowing smoke.

  2. Speaking of “blowing smoke”, Patrick why don’t YOU open a 24 hour emergency pet clinic yourself? If you believe it is such a necessary business, then start one yourself rather than waste taxpayer money in these tough economic times! Or pay one of our great vets here to open one? Perhaps it’s because you already know there isn’t a need for one, at least economically right? since you don’t even live here or anywhere near, why do you want our taxpayers to foot the bill? Take care of your own problems in SA first please.

  3. Did you go to the meeting and raise the issue? I guess you were just blowing smoke too. Why don’t you blow back out of town?

  4. Ted? Wow, I cannot believe you are attacking someone for making a comment on something the Mayor herself said she would address.It was and still is a valid concern for some in this area. I cannot imagine a little one biting my finger and someone telling me she was dead. It was all legit but very disresoectful all the same. Let’s not be disrespectful for the people who believed this issue would and should have been brought up. Who knows how many hours of counseling the officer got? What did it consist of? Even though animals live mainly by instinct out instinct is not to just let them die!

  5. Call me when he starts organizing fundraisers to fund the 24-hour clinic, or puts together a presentation for City Council, on what would be involved in setting up such a clinic, or starts working with the local veterinarians about staffing that clinic.

    As long as his focus is on ridiculous lawsuits that suck money out of the city and do nothing more than generate publicity for him, then he is nothing but an a-hole carpetbagger and he needs to go away.

  6. About the downtown parking issue… why don’t we focus on improving our bike/ped infrastructure, as well as the city bus system, and then parking downtown won’t be such an issue?

    Parking garages are typically eyesores, though I do admit the new one Texas State built is pretty nice looking, for a giant cement block. If you want to build a parking garage, build it further away from downtown and provide a bus system into town for those who do not walk or bike.

    Also, it’s about time we get bike racks downtown. I don’t mind locking my bike to any pole that I see, but I’ve heard some people have a problem with it. If my city doesn’t provide me a parking option, I will make one. Having bike racks would encourage downtown business owners and employees to bike to work, as will more buildings with showers. I would like to thank Scott Gregson for his forward thinking in this matter, as my office building has a shower for this purpose.

    We need to encourage more earth friendly modes of transportation, rather than paving and raising all over town.

  7. As the reporter on both, the City Council meeting and the Missy stories, I can say that the issue of a 24-hr clininc was not brought up at the meeting. The meeting discussed several issues affecting San Marcos, and you can look up the agenda of the Council meetings on the city’s website. To address the counseling of Officer Stepehens, Police Chief Howard Williams told me that his counseling consisted of Stephens’ Sargeant, Commander, and his Chief, talking to him seriously and discussing how to better address these kinds of issues in the future. The Chief explained to me that Stephens is a rookie and was appropriately counseled, and understands what he did wrong and how to better deal with it in the future.
    To go back to the issue of the 24 hr Vet Clinic, in every City Council meeting there is a 30-min Citizen Comment period and all you have to do is sign-up ahead of time and you have 3 minutes to voice your concerns and comments to the Council. I will also assure you all that I will personally mention it to the Mayor.
    Thankyou for your comments and concerns on the issues vital to the San Marcos community.

    Andy Sevilla

  8. Kara,

    I’m working on the bike racks. I promise. I’ve got a list of locations, but need to go to each one and figure out how many racks and where, exactly, to put them. If it kills me, I’ll get that done this weekend.

    Then I’ll write that up and present it to the TAB on Tuesday. Hopefully a recommendation to City Council will follow that meeting.

  9. In the 2006 budget I asked the City Council to dedicate $10,000 of the 2005 Bike and Pedestrian Improvement Bond for bicycle racks. The money is in place so as soon as the TAB makes the recommendations we can begin placement.

  10. On the bike racks, make sure you get the taller racks. The short half circle ones which are about 1′ tall, like they have in many places on campus, aren’t worth squat. They are bike damaging racks. They bend wheels and they are hard to lock bikes to. Yes they are cheap, but they don’t encourage people to ride. You need to be able to lock the frame to something. As someone who used to manage a large shop, I plead with you, don’t cheap out.

    Something like these are good (many other brands avialable in these styles):

    Racks like these are NOT worth the metal they are made out of:

  11. Ted, I would like to suggest a rack at the upper falls area. I know it is university property and they might want to put it in themselves, but it has become a very popular place for riders and we can only lock up to the signs and railings.

  12. There are a number of locations on university property where we have identified a need for racks and we hope to persuade them to install them.

    We need to get more in synch with the university’s plans anyway, so we’ll probably bring them a list of recommendations in the not too distant future.

    First, I have to make good on my promise to get the recommendation ready for the city.

  13. Well Ed, I’d say half of our coast just washed away and many people along with it. There are hundreds of thousands who just lost everything they have, and the best we can do is worry about some bicycle racks and oh, how many parks we can cram into a city that can’t even manage itself. That’s my malfunction and Ed, nothing against you, but we have a hell of a lot more to worry about than that. Happy Friday!

  14. Amy, just FYI. I have a sister in Friendswood and she lost alot in the storm. In fact we just loaded up her jeep with her two grandbabies and about 400 dollars worth of groceries. She made it home and was shocked with all that has happened. But you know what? We are TEXANS ! We pick up and move on. We help each other as alot of San Marcos has helped these people. I talked with her today and she told me life is getting back to normal. Except for elec in Pasadena where she is a teacher. She knows not when she will be able to return to work. THAT is her biggest concern, not because of the money but because of the kids.
    So , why dont you sign up to volunteer for the evacuees if you feel that is where your heart is. You can sign up here.

    There is nothing wrong with us moving on as usual.
    Happy Volunteering !

  15. My sister lives in Galveston just 5 blocks from the sea wall. She has not been home in 7 days, and does not know when she will be allowed back. All reports tell her that there was 6 feet of water in her home. I am on standby to help her, but I am also committed to dealing with the issues of our city.

  16. I didn’t even know we had a coast in San Marcos. Is everything here supposed to come to a full stop until everyone has recovered from the hurricane?

    I already donated quite a bit of money to the food bank and I just got back from delivering grocery bags to 200 homes for a neighborhood food drive. Tomorrow, I’ll help collect them and deliver them to the food bank.

    Is it ok if I worry about some local issues now?

    Best wishes to John’s family and everyone else dealing with this storm.

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