Offered to you today is the first installment of “Votes,” a log of the agenda items discussed and voted upon by the Kyle City Council. The format for this series is pretty straight-forward. I will summarize the items and provide the reason for why I voted the way I did.
NOTE: Feel free to ask any questions or make any comments below. I will respond in a timely manner. You are welcome to respectfully disagree. Comments that are overly negative, overly personal, or disparaging will not be allowed.
This week’s City Council meeting was relatively short, with a one-hour open meeting and a one-hour executive session. There were three items of consequence discussed and voted upon.
Item 12. $443,940 for wastewater improvements in the Tenorio Addition of downtown Kyle.
My Vote: In Favor
This was a CO bond originally issued in 2008 to upgrade and relocate old wastewater lines along the properties next to Center Street from Zapata to Stagecoach. The money was budgeted for and has rolled over every year until the easements were secured and the project was finally ready to be engineered and receive bids. The lowest and most responsible bid came in under the budget amount of $450,000.
This project is much needed and is a small step in addressing a much larger problem. The clay sewer lines in the downtown district are cracked and porous, meaning when it rains water seeps in at an alarming rate and causes the sewer plant to overfill. Furthermore, many of the sewer lines were not properly mapped when they were installed long ago and structures were built on top of or right next to the lines. The new 8” PVC pipes will eliminate inflow in the area and therefore help reduce the burden on our plant. They will also give us the ability to service the lines with minimal impact on the homeowners in the Tenorio Addition.
Item 13. Budget Amendment # 4 adding $104,400 for three items (2 city sponsored special events and 1 consulting contract to kick start the “not-a-truck-stop” development at the Yarrington road exit).
My Vote: In Favor
This was a difficult vote. To me, budget amendments should be brought forward to address emergency needs to the city (i.e. flood damage, plant spill, bridge collapse, etc.). They should NOT be to spend dollars for things that were not properly planned for through the city’s budgeting process. We budget for a reason, after all. With that said, I supported this amendment for three reasons.
- Up to 68% of the funding for all three items will be reimbursed to the city from various sources, although it could be and probably will be less.
- Not approving the amendment would be detrimental to the larger projects to which some of these amendments are tied, most notably the Yarrington development.
- $27,000 comes from Hotel Tax funds which can only be used for tourism-based activities. We have money available in that fund, so these dollars do not impact the budget in a way that affects taxpayers.
I will say that, as a new councilmember, I wish I had spoken up more during this item. I had things to say and questions to ask and was surprised to see how quickly the window for discussion closed. For example, I would like to have approved two of these items and not necessarily a third. I didn’t ask if that was possible and did not explain what I was thinking or why I was thinking it. It’s a regret and I will do better next time. Budget amendments are something I take very seriously.
Item 14. $3,138.06 to the Masonic Lodge as part of the Downtown Revitalization Grant.
My Vote: In Favor
This was the last of the funds available to be awarded from the 2015 Downtown Revitalization Grant Program. The program was not funded this year but had dollars left over and therefore applicants could still receive grants. That is, until now. I will say that I am a strong proponent of downtown revitalization and am excited to begin working on a more robust version of this program when we start working on next year’s budget. I wrote about my vision for downtown revitalization here.