Residents may see an increase in waste and recyclable materials pickup fees as early as January. The proposal would raise the current fee of $15.98 to $17.89, which will be subject to CPI increases.Council member Kim Porterfield listed several possible savings benefits offered by the proposed change in recycling services. She asked the Texas Disposal Services representative why the proposed price change – from 2.17 to 3.94 for recycling – did not seem to reflect such savings.
“I want to see numbers, I want to know what we’re voting on, I want to know what are the numbers – what is the science behind an 81 percent increase in curbside recycling?” Porterfield said.
Rick Fraumann, TDS representative, said because materials would no longer be separated at the curb via a “dual stream” processing method, a more expensive facility would be required.
“Single stream is more costly, even though it’s more convenient for the user,” Fraumann said.
Fraumann said new curbside recycle bins would be of the 96 gallon variety instead of the initially proposed 65 gallon carts – a size increase provided at no additional charge. TDS will expand the range of recyclable items. Recyclable materials will include corrugated cardboard, boxboard, food cans with or without labels, soda cans, certain plastic jugs and bottles, glass bottles or jars and any colored glass, among other items.
Resident Steve Harvey said during the public comment period that he had talked to the assistant public works director for New Braunfels, and learned that the city’s approximately 17,500 residential units were being charged $5.25 per month for recycling services. He said the proposed rate increases for San Marcos “compare very favorably with” New Braunfels’ rate.
“Single stream recycling can dramatically increase community participation in recycling,” Harvey said. “I urge you to bring single stream to San Marcos as soon as possible.”
Council members voted unanimously to pass the proposed change in TDS fees in the first of three readings.
Council members considered adopting the Downtown Master Plan on the second of three readings, and heard testimony from staff.
Council member Chris Jones said some downtown property owners had expressed concerns about the means by which the city might acquire their land.
“The downtown Master Plan is not proposing the Building Authority or Urban Renewal Authority to be actively acquiring land and demolishing property,” said Cecil Pennington, Interim Director of planning and development. “…the only times which acquisition of land has been discussed would be in the provision for parking facilities of some sort…and that’s something we would have to look at how to structure at that time.”
Pennington said one of the first master plan projects would involve improving drainage on Hutchinson street by constructing a “wet pond” to collect oil and other vehicle pollutants that would otherwise enter the San Marcos River.
“We’re trying to get that first inch of runnoff, because that’s the dirtiest runotff,” Pennington said.
Pennington said there is no estimated cost for changes implemented by the proposed Downtown Master Plan. He said the city would adopt a “pay as you go” policy that would be implemented over “a long period of time.”
Council members voted unanimously to consider the master plan ordinance for third reading.
James Jackson, a resident living near the Sagewood area subdivision, thanked the council for taking measures to combat public nuisance issues in his neighborhood.
“While I (come) here to complain, I’m also here when things improve,” Jackson said. “The police department and the code enforcement people have done a wonderful job to improve things around there. We don’t hear near the noise we used to.”
Jackson said he and his wife now use a device that emits white noise to drown out the sound of the occasional loud parties they can hear from their back patio.
Council member John Thomaides thanked Texas State University for making the swimming area near Saltgrass Steak House “much more accessible” for residents over the summer.
“Just about everybody I’ve talked to was thrilled with the way that came out,” Thomaides said. “I want to specifically thank Mr. Pat Fogarty (associate vice president of facilities) of the university…”
Thomaides congratulated the university for recently building wider and more attractive sidewalks, like the one located near University Drive. Thomaides said he had met with city staff and engineers in order to improves safety and accessibility at the intersection of University Drive and Sessoms. Students have reported being clipped by passing cars at the intersection.
Mayor Susan Narvaiz announced a combined armed services center will be built in San Marcos, staffed by a military unit of 600 members.
“Those are good dollars that will be going into our community, and (the center) will provide better training to our armed services,” Narvaiz said.
by: SEAN BATURA