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City allocates funds for COVID-19 testing

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The San Marcos City Council voted unanimously to reallocate $105,530 in Community Development Block Grant funding to Hays County for COVID-19 testing in San Marcos. 

The funding may go toward additional test kits, the lab fees for evaluating tests, site staffing or testing site costs like lease, structure, utilities, internet or insurance. 

The council amended the 2019-2020 CDBG Action Plan for this reallocation along with $125,000 from the Paul Pena Park Project to a new program for Substandard Home Demolition.

Councilmembers also approved and adopted the Community Development Block Grant Action Plan, allocating $722,904 of CDBG entitlement funds for 2020-2021. The approved projects included $100,000 for owner-occupied home rehabilitation through the Southside Community Center; $84,000 for homebuyer assistance for the City of San Marcos; $23,656 for housing counseling through Habitat for Humanity; $60,000 for advocacy services for abused and neglected children through Court Appointed Special Advocates; and $268,000 for renovations to make Centro Culturo Hispano de San Marcos more accessible and energy efficient.

There was much enthusiasm for the Centro project but hesitation over the potential limited return on investment due to the time constraint of a five year lease. However, Centro Executive Director Dr. Rico Espinoza said a five year agreement will give them time to figure out how to raise capital and solidify a long term plan. 

After a four week hiatus, San Marcos City Council’s COVID-19 update had not changed much. 

Public Safety Director Chase Stapp reported active cases had only declined by around 200 for San Marcos over the course of the month since the July 7 city council meeting. 

“While we are seeing some good trends, I am hopeful that will continue, but I'm not convinced,” said Stapp. “We have to keep doing things as a community to support that downward trend.” 

Hospitalizations have hovered in the low 20’s throughout the month of July, although Stapp shared that hospitalizations are difficult to keep 100% accurate because discharges are not always communicated in a timeline manner. 

Additionally, an interlocal agreement was approved with San Marcos Consolidated ISD for the city’s provision of police officers to the school district to serve as school resource officers. 

There was some debate around San Marcos Police Department policies for interacting with students, although it was resolved that those issues would need to be addressed outside of this agreement. 

SMPD requested a change in service to the agreement relating to the Police Video Upgrade Project to increase the contract amount of $180,002 for additional equipment, and annual software maintenance, hosting and plan fees, but the vote was postponed until after staff can conduct some research into the company, Axon Enterprises, Inc. to better understand data ownership. 

Axon Enterprises provides SMPD with many services, and Stapp says it is the only vendor out there that can do all that they do. The contract renewal is up in September and may be reconsidered following this research. 

Another resolution set the joint election date between the City of San Marcos and Hays County for Nov. 3, the official canvass date for Nov. 18 and a runoff will be called if necessary on Nov. 18.

Another vote unanimously appointed Dallari Landry as a Presiding Judge for the San Marcos Municipal Court of Record for a term of two years. 

Although it was a first reading, council amended the proposed amendment to the San Marcos City Code to not include a one percent discount against the amount of hotel occupancy taxes (HOT) due when paid timely. This amendment was suggested by Mayor Jane Hughson because of the potential impact to the HOT Fund. 

They also modified the late fees structure to reflect percentages of income rather than a flat fee structure. 

The councilmembers approved a project partnership agreement with the U.S. Department of the Army Corps of Engineers for the San Marcos River Section 206 Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project which will conduct a feasibility study and integrated environmental assessment of the San Marcos River. 

Councilmembers voted to appoint Theodore Day Jr. and Robert De Jong to the Airport Advisory Board, Kevin White to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Steven Saxon to the Veteran Affairs Advisory Board and postponed the appointments for the Human Services Advisory Board.

San Marcos Record

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