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College Station City Council approves additional $250,000 in COVID-19 aid for families
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College Station City Council approves additional $250,000 in COVID-19 aid for families

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The College Station school district’s COVID-19 Family Empowerment Program is receiving $250,000 to help families whose children are eligible for free or reduced lunches.

College Station City Council members voted unanimously Thursday to distribute the funds. This is the second round of funding that the program has received this year.

Eligible families can receive assistance with medical co-pays, prescription costs, uniforms, rent assistance and more. 

The Empowerment Program launched in July when the council first voted to put $250,000 of Community Development Block Grant CARES Act funds toward the effort. According to the council agenda, that funding was meant to last throughout the school year but was spent by December. The additional money put into the program Thursday will help families throughout the spring semester. 

College Station Director of Community Services Debbie Eller told council members that while the money is permitted to assist families in several different ways, all of the first round went toward rent assistance. 

Council members also approved a $4.22 million amendment to increase the city’s fiscal year 2021 budget. The amendment largely consists of expenditures that were budgeted last fiscal year but won’t be received until this fiscal year. Items that are covered include IT equipment and software, building corrective maintenance, economic development commitments, municipal court software and vehicles that were ordered but not received, among other things. 

The amendment brings the city budget total to $315,720,510. 

The nonprofit Elder-Aid will be receiving $464,000 in grant funding. The grant that the council approved Thursday will go toward purchasing and rehabilitating two duplexes that will be affordable rental units for elderly households.

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The funding is made available through the Community Development FY 2021 federal Community Development Block Grant Program budget. Elder-Aid has purchased, rehabilitated and leased 14 units in College Station, the agenda states. 

Two rezoning requests were approved Thursday night, the first near the intersection of Deacon Drive West and Holleman Drive South, and the second at 3445 Cain Road. 

The former changed the zoning of five acres at Pershing Pointe Villas townhouse development so that additional single-family housing can be put on the unplatted part of the development, the city’s blog explains. The latter changed the zoning of 11 acres at 3445 Cain Road so that attached single-family townhomes are now permitted.

The annual review of the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Ordinance, which highlights major comprehensive plan initiatives and UDO amendments from last fiscal year, was unanimously approved by the council. 

This item is separate from the 10-year update of the comprehensive plan that city staff has been working on, which long-range planning administrator Alyssa Halle-Schramm said will be finalized around September or October. 

During an update presentation about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine distribution, Assistant to the City Manager Brian Piscacek said 630 city staff members have either been exposed, potentially exposed, experienced COVID-19 symptoms, been tested for the virus or tested positive for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. He said there are currently 35 city staff members in one of those types of situations. 

At the start of Thursday’s meeting, councilman Bob Brick was selected to serve as mayor pro tempore, a position previously held by councilwoman Linda Harvell. The position is a one-year term. The mayor pro tem acts as mayor in the mayor’s absence.

Thursday’s agenda included other items, such as a presentation about potential alternatives to address the symptoms of residential over-occupancy, but council members did not finish discussing them in time for The Eagle’s deadline. 

For more information on Thursday’s city council meeting, including a presentation about the 87th Texas State Legislature, information on a $145,175 contract to design a new building for the Facilities Maintenance Division, and more, go to blog.cstx.gov

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