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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

City Council discusses police cam footage, property tax exemptions

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Star file photo

At its Jan. 18 meeting, the San Marcos City Council held a discussion regarding police camera footage and unanimously approved to establish a residential homestead property tax exemption. 
The council questioned why police body-worn camera and dashboard footage was not publicly available in an effort to promote transparency within the police department.
“I think there’s a sense of confusion among our community and within even our council regarding dissemination of information generally regarding policing but more recently, community members have been asking why we do not share out body-worn camera footage,” Councilmember Alyssa Garza said.
San Marcos Chief of Police Stan Standridge attended the meeting and explained if the police department decided to release footage it could impact due process.
“In state law, which the occupation’s code is, it enumerates reasons you can and cannot release video,” Standridge said. “It’s a delay of the video until the matter has been presented to the grand jury.”
Following the explanation by Standridge, Garza questioned why internal documents that outline when and how body-worn camera and dashboard camera footage can be released to the public as well as city leaders do not exist. 
“As a leader of the community, it would be nice to see something, to visually look at it and see what we’re dealing with as leaders in the community,” Garza said.
City Council is to receive the San Marcos Police Department policy regarding body camera footage from Standridge and will review it at a later date.
The council also unanimously voted to create a residential homestead property tax exemption allowing eligible residents a property tax deduction if they qualify based on age or disability. The new property tax exemption for senior citizens and disabled persons will be raised from $25,000 to $35,000.
When fully passed at a later meeting, senior citizens and disabled residents of San Marcos will be able to apply for both exemptions with the possible exemption amount of $50,000.
Councilmember Maxfield Baker stressed to the council the importance of informing the public on how to access the exemption if they apply for it, a process with involves submitting an application to one’s county appraisal district.
“[It’s] necessary for us to make sure that there’s marketing and education and resources to help people qualify for these things and understand that the savings are available to them,” Baker said.
The San Marcos City Council meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit the City Council website.

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