Residents weigh in on capital improvements
Feb. 21--SAN ANGELO, Texas -- A handful of residents showed up and gave input at the city's capital improvement plan meeting, which lasted less than an hour.
"I'm pleased to see we have a better turnout and more comment," said local political blogger Jim Ryan. When he attended the public meetings a few years ago, he said only the city staff and a couple of residents attended.
Tuesday evening's meeting was one of two opportunities for San Angelo residents to speak with city leaders about capital projects.
"If one person came, I'm happy to stay here," said Morgan Chegwidden, the city's budget manager. "Some items we knew about; we had some that were new."
Residents expressed interest in items including 19th Street sidewalk improvements, a Chadbourne Street reconstruction project, Avenue P drainage remediation and the parking lot by Stephens Central Library.
"My main interest is the sidewalks on 19th Street," said Jerry Sea, a member of West Texas Organizing Strategies. "It keeps getting pushed back and pushed back."
Sea said the sidewalks are used frequently.
Karl Bednarz, city engineer, said staff is trying to acquire all the necessary rights of way for the project, which is in the design phase.
"It's on the books for this year," Bednarz said. "That's hopefully a done deal."
Ryan spoke about street improvements, saying the City Council should allocate a portion of sales taxes toward street maintenance.
He said council members should let voters decide, saying, "They would rather see our sales tax money be put down as pavement they can drive on. No one's taxes would go up."
Chegwidden said city staff has been researching the option, which will be on the council's agenda March 6. The city can allocate an eighth or a 16th of a cent toward street maintenance.
Resident David Spaulding wanted to know whether the city has a centralized location that shows all the money spent on water projects and on water exploration.
Kevin Krueger, assistant director of water utilities, said he would look into gathering that information.
Although fewer than 20 residents attended, officials still were grateful for the public's input.
"We're here as long as you care to be here," Chegwidden said.
The next meeting is 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Lincoln Middle School. Residents also can submit online input at cosatx.us/cipinput.
The proposed 2014-19 plan is on the city's website at cosatx.us/budget.
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