At its meeting today, the San Angelo City Council will receive the controversial certified smoking-ban petition from the city clerk — the first in a series of requirements to get the proposed ordinance on the November ballot.
The council determined at a special meeting in February there was not enough time to complete all the required steps to put the ordinance to a vote in the May election.
Smoke-Free San Angelo, the local group that organized the petition, expressed optimism about the process moving forward.
“I think we’ve got a good schedule laid out in front of us and can keep moving forward. We’re definitely very excited about getting this process going and getting things kicked into gear,” said Grant Wallace, regional director for government relations for the American Cancer Society, which has worked in partnership with Smoke-Free San Angelo.
Wallace said about 20 local volunteers will soon begin working on the public education and fundraising portion of the campaign. If passed, the ordinance would ban smoking
in all public indoor places in the city, including bars and restaurants, as well as enclosed outdoor areas and sports arenas and within 15 feet of entrances to public buildings.
The council on Tuesday also is also expected to discuss how to fund the $120 million Hickory Aquifer project, which is expected to bring water into the city by 2014. About $15 million from the half-cent sales tax has been dedicated to the project, but the city is still trying to determine where to secure additional funding. Ideas for that will be presented at the meeting today that are meant to have the least possible impact on water rates, said city finance director Michael Dane.
“We’re going to be talking about how to fund a project like that and minimize the impact to water rates,” Dane said. “We’re going to try to minimize the impact to the people who pay the rates.”
City officials have said securing water from Hickory is only the beginning of the battle. With San Angelo’s steady growth and available water sources in short supply, city officials have said the Hickory project should not delay the city’s search for another supply.
“We need a backup plan,” City Councilor Charlotte Farmer said at a council meeting earlier this year. “If Hickory plays out, what are we going to do?
Council will also discuss options for a proposed sidewalk ordinance after hearing results from a sidewalk committee, which was formed a few years ago to research options for installing sidewalks around the city. San Angelo is one of the few cities in Texas that does not have a sidewalk ordinance, which is why the few sidewalks in place mostly are in a state of disrepair.
“We are one of a few cities (in Texas) that does not have a sidewalk ordinance and we’ve been working pretty hard over the last couple of years with a sidewalk committee to try to draft a proposed ordinance,” said city engineer Clinton Bailey. “We’ve had about five or six public meetings and committee meetings, and at this point we’re just taking our findings to council to look for direction from them on how to proceed.”
The committee will present options for where to place the sidewalks, including in neighborhoods, community areas and along major thoroughfares, Bailey said, adding that cost has been the main concern from the development side. A March 2009 survey showed that citizens were generally supportive of having more sidewalks in the city, he said.
Bailey will also present to the council the construction sequencing and traffic control for the Avenue N Street Reconstruction Project running from Sherwood Way to Saint Marys Street.
The city is currently relocating gas lines in preparation for the project, which will add a center turn lane to the reconstructed portion of Avenue N. The project will involve a reconfiguration of the five-way intersection at Avenue N and College Hills Boulevard, which will eventually lift the no-right-on-red restrictions at the intersection.
The project, funded by $1.1 million of stimulus funds and $200,00 from the city, will help relieve traffic backup along Avenue N and include a right-hand turn lane from Sherwood Way onto Avenue N, Bailey said. The project is expected to begin in mid-April.
The meeting will also include the first public hearing and consideration of a pair of much-discussed ordinance amendments, one which would limit the number of roosters allowed on properties within the city to one. The other would add the word “utterances” into the portion of city ordinance that currently bans repeated and bothersome barking, howling and whining, so that other noises would be accounted for.
“We have to be able to deal with a broad spectrum of animals,” said City Manager Harold Dominguez at the last council meeting.
Other items on the agenda include:
- An amendment to the agreement between the City of San Angelo and Garver, LLC, in the amount of $70,000 for Engineering Design services and Construction Administration Services at San Angelo Regional Airport. They will oversee the $1.7 million project that will rehabilitate four runways at the airport.
- A resolution supporting the formation of a trade coalition to stimulate economic development activities between Texas, Coahuila and Chihuahua and establishing a budget — estimated to cost about $30,000 annually — to allow city staff to support the creation of the coalition.
- Revisions to Interlocal Agreement for services with the Upper Colorado River Authority for the North Concho River Rehabilitation Project to include extended river dredging and initial assessment on how to do the project without harming the Concho water snake.
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