city council

Glass partitions are placed on either side of the center chair of the council chamber in place for new COVID-19 guidelines, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, at City Hall

The San Marcos City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the city's electric utility division to implement a voluntary program allowing customers to purchase renewable energy at its March 2 meeting. 

Assistant Director for Public Services for Electric Utility Tyler Hjorth says the program will allow electric customers to pay an additional $5 a month for one year to guarantee they are receiving 100% renewable energy at their home and business.

When the time for annual renewals approaches, customers will be notified of any price change and can decide to continue the program or opt-out of it.

Council members also unanimously approved an ordinance to amend the Calaboose African American History Museum as a local historical landmark.

A resolution awarding an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to Lone Star Paving for street overlay services on an as-needed basis, was approved by the council after addressing public concerns over the resolution. 

In a four to three vote, the council approved the contract in the estimated annual amount of $1,675,625 and the authorization of two additional annual renewals for a total contract amount of $5,026,875.

During public comment, San Marcos resident Lisa Marie Coppoletta provided councilmembers with video footage of Lone Star Paving's trucks knocking down trees in her neighborhood during a former project. She says the company informed her its trucks would not hit any trees during its work.

"They knew that they weren't supposed to be doing that," Coppoletta says. "The trees were damaged and it was a waste of city staff time." 

Councilmember Maxfield Baker questioned why the city would rehire a company that damages trees during its service and asked if there was a mitigation plan in place for when trees are damaged.

Assistant Director of Public Service Sabas Avila says this particular contract is for paving services; the only time trees would be impacted is if they are not in compliance with the city's code requiring property owners to trim trees so there is at least a 16-foot clearance at the center of the roadway.

If a tree does not meet those requirements, any service company or vehicle that hits the trees is not responsible for any damages. Avila adds if there is a low hanging limb, the contractors typically cut the limb for the property owner after notifying them the tree does not comply with the city ordinance. 

"In the example that was given by the public comment speaker, that tree we're assuming was underneath that height, but we didn't do our due diligence to go and cut it ahead of the construction, which was the only reason it would have been hit by something not clearing that 16 feet," Baker says. "The concern is hitting a tree and damaging it is different than cutting a tree in a precise way that is healthy for the tree and so I'm not sure, you know, maybe an outright denial of this isn't appropriate."

Director of Public Services Tom Taggart adds while the contract has no specific wording regarding trees, he says the city can communicate with the contractor that prior to starting each individual paving area, city crews will track tree heights beforehand. 

Councilmembers approved the contract in a four to three vote with the impression city crews will track tree heights before contractors begin working. Councilmembers Scott, Baker and Alyssa Garza voted against the resolution.

In consent agenda, the council approved minutes for the Feb. 19 Special Emergency Meeting and an ordinance, on the second of two readings, amending the city's 2019-2020 fiscal year budget to allocate an additional $8,423,553 from the General Fund for Economic Development Incentive payment. 

The council also approved an ordinance, on the second of two readings, amending section 2.351 of the San Marcos City Code which updates the language of representative titles of the Convention and Visitor Bureau Advisory Board.

An ordinance amending section 86.003 of the San Marcos City Code, which requires both connections and extensions for City Water and Wastewater Service outside the city limits to be subject to approval by the City Council, was approved by councilmembers, on the second of two readings. 

Council members authorized a resolution approving the award of a construction contract with Rural Electric, Inc. for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Electric Backup Feed Distribution Project in the estimated amount of $1,652,864. 

A resolution rejecting the sole bid from Denbow Company, Inc. in response to an invitation for bids for an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity agreement to assist the San Marcos Electric Utility with large electrical underground components was approved by the council. 

Council members also authorized a resolution approving a change in service to the agreement with Cannon Technologies, Inc. for the renewal of hosting fees for a Yukon Master Server and related support services in the amount of $63,336 and three additional annual renewals.

The San Marcos City Council meets virtually on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Residents who wish to speak during the citizen comment or public hearing periods should email no later than noon on the day of the meeting.

For more information about City Council or to view meeting recordings and agendas, visit its website.

Journalism is an act of civic responsibility. We see our work as a public service that is necessary for a community to thrive because knowledge is empowering. If you enjoyed this story, please consider helping us "Defend the First Amendment" by donating today!

Load comments