April 29, 2008
Thank you, Texas State Students, for putting the wheels on the bus for a move to FBS Football. Our university, as well as our city, is going to be better because of it. There have been several things going on in the City of San Marcos and I am happy to report to you that Council talked trash for two hours at the last city council meeting. We made several decisions at the last meeting that could have an impact on your quality of life.
I have never enjoyed talking trash and this past city council meeting reiterated why. At this past meeting we as a council made the decision to renew the residential trash contract with our current provider. One issue I was a proponent of, but did not spark any interest in my other colleagues, was including multifamily apartment complexes and other multifamily dwellings into the same residential contract. I believed this was the right thing to do for three reasons. I believe strongly that all citizens who reside in San Marcos deserve good quality trash service and the city, via contracts, I believe is in the best position to negotiate this.
We as a council send the wrong message when we will work hard to negotiate the best trash contracts for homeowners, but not for the poor in our community who do not own a home, but live in other multifamily dwellings. When I ran for council, I said I was going to work for all of San Marcos, that being homeowners and those who live in apartment complexes. That is one of the reasons I believe that multifamily dwellings should be considered as residential.
The second reason I believe this should be the case is because it gives the city the ability to extend recycling to apartment complexes at an affordable rate. I asked staff to bring this information to council and they did not. In our discussions the council decided not to negotiate a contract for recycling because of possible financial impacts this might have on apartment complex owners. Recycling should be a priority of this council and we should find a way to get it done.
However, we as a council have made money the issue as to why recycling is unattainable. Please be ready because I, as one councilmember, am interested in taking this issue to the ballot in November.
The final reason I believe multifamily dwellings should be a part of the residential contract is accountability. When there is a mattress that has been sitting out by the dumpster for 30 days, you should be able to call one person to get it taken care of and there should not be a pre-negotiated contract that prohibits it from being picked up. If there is graffiti on your dumpster you should have the ability to call someone to take care of that. Folks who live in apartment complexes should not have to live as if they are in the inner city of New York. While this might seem to be just a complicated trash issue, I believe it speaks to an issue at the heart of good policy decisions, and that is equality. You might be poor but you deserve to be treated equally. I believe we are going to have a workshop on this issue and I will keep you posted.
Council also decided to take a more active role in the rental permit issue. Council formed a citizen committee to explore rental permitting and any other practices that could be used to solve the Sagewood problem. However, this group ended up with a drawn up rental permitting ordinance which hit a nerve with the business community. I was against forming this task force from the start because I believe the outcome of this task force was determined before their first meeting.
I believe the Marshall’s office had plans to introduce an ordinance such as the one that was produced before Sagewood hit the council radar almost a year ago. Their plan just called for it to happen in 2011-2012. As the Mayor pointed out this process was set in motion by our former City Manager Dan O’Leary. To date council is going to hold a workshop and reevaluate our goals and determine our direction from there. At this last meeting we also discussed wireless internet for the entire city and decided to table the issue for the next meeting.