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Council approves measures to remedy winter storm impact

Above, San Marcos residents walk through the snow with supplies gathered from a local gas station following Winter Storm Uri in February. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Council approves measures to remedy winter storm impact

Sunday, April 25, 2021

The San Marcos City Council approved an ordinance during its regular meeting Tuesday night that continues its efforts in remedying the impact of Winter Storm Uri.

The ordinance would temporarily change the method for calculating residential wastewater rates to exclude the month of February 2021 from the months used to calculate average water consumption due to higher than average consumption from Winter Storm Uri.

Residential bills are determined annually by averaging the three lowest outdoor consumption months of the year, usually December, January and February, and the average is used to bill monthly amounts of a full year.

Since the winter storm caused damaged pipes and leaks, as well as many customers running and dripping water to prevent pipe damage, the councilmembers voted to ensure this higher usage will not impact future rates.

The change would only be applicable for 2021.

The councilmembers finalized the designation of categories and criteria for the use of general fund dollars from the cares act coronavirus relief funds and partially allocating the funds.

From the total award $2,671,995, the councilmembers budgeted $153,995 or ongoing unbudgeted pandemic related expenses, $1 million for a utility bill assistance fund, $174,000 for rent and mortgage assistance, $200,000 for small business assistance, $640,000 as a one time grant fund for a local nonprofit selected by the Human Services Advisory Board, $493,600 as a one time non-profit capacity building fund and $10,000 for homelessness case management platform license.

The Utility Bill Assistance fund is administered by the city, with a maximum of $1,500 per residential utility account that was more than 60 days past due as of March 16, 2021.

Councilmembers Melissa Derrick and Maxfield Baker suggested allocating the funding to the Rent and Mortgage Assistance program, instead of the staff recommendation of referring residents out to existing programs. Staff suggested utilizing their existing partnership with Community Action Inc. to administer the program.

The small business assistance funds will be administered to qualifying businesses with fewer than 30 employees by the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. The funds would cover $5,000 for 32 to 35 businesses and $25,000 to $40,000 of administration costs.

The $493,600 one time non-profit capacity building fund would include funding for a comprehensive needs assessment with a focus on resolving gaps in assistance for homeless and non-homeless, and funding for programs that come out of the needs assessment.

They also approved an ordinance that provides no objection to the submission of an application for low income housing tax credits to the Texas Department of Housing and Community affairs for the proposed Sendero at Centerpoint multifamily housing point.

The 164 unit project is on 6.7 acres located at Hunter Road and Centerpoint Road.

The project will have a mix of one, two and three bedroom units with nine units restricted for 30% of the area median income (AMI) , nine for 40% AMI, 30 at 50% AMI, 71 at 60% and 45 at 45%. There will be no market rate units.

The community includes multifunctional learning and care centers, community gardens, laundry rooms, high speed WI-FI, a recycling center, a business center and more.

There will be a shuttle service that runs three times a week or daily during the school year with monthly transportation to community events since the project is not located at a bus stop. The shuttle will stop at the library and activity center.

There will be a food pantry, a partnership with local law enforcement, notary services, career training and placement, weekly on-site services for K-12 and classes for adults.

San Marcos Record

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P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666