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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

San Marcos city council discusses grant funding, approves exploring paid parking

Star file photo

At its June 4 meeting, San Marcos City Council received a presentation on potential uses for $1.4 million from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and approved the Parking Advisory Board to begin looking into paid parking downtown.

Housing and Community Development Manager Carol Griffith said uses for CDBG would be open for public comment for 30 days before San Marcos City Council votes on the final budget.

“To be eligible for consideration each proposed program or project must meet a variety of requirements set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations,” Griffith said. “Six eligible applications were received for services and five for projects.”

Funding from the CDBG would go to organizations that provide community services in San Marcos such as the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center and Southside Community Center. Other money would go to administrative costs, housing rehabilitation and building projects such as improving sidewalks along Thorpe Lane.

Councilmember Alyssa Garza questioned how CDBG money had been spent on housing rehabilitation and how future CDBG money could be used to help San Marcos residents navigate legal issues involving their houses.

According to Griffith money from CDBG could go to legal costs for housing, but it would have to come out of the public services money, which has already been budgeted for.

“Per HUD, legal services for title clearances can be paid by CDBG, but it is a public service,” Griffith said. “What we have done instead so far is recruit volunteers to help us.”

Garza disagreed with the use of volunteers, which she worried could worsen legal issues, instead she proposed partnering with law schools to use law students to help residents.

“My understanding, I could be wrong, is that St. Mary’s does a spring break service learning project. I would imagine they would come here, they are just down the road,” Garza said.

Even after much council discussion, no changes were made to the uses for the CDBG funds proposed by city staff. After the 30-day public comment period, the council will vote on CDBG in August to meet the deadline for HUD.

San Marcos City Council also held a discussion with the Parking Advisory Board about the possibility of implementing paid parking in downtown San Marcos. The Parking Advisory Board would look at different technologies, and different definitions of downtown and talk with business owners before returning to city council with an official recommendation.

“One of my biggest concerns is where the perimeter goes,” Mayor Jane Hughson said. “At one time San Antonio Street was suggested to be the perimeter and the businesses on South LBJ, which would have been the free [parking] part, were really concerned.”

The vote to allow the Parking Advisory Board to look into paid parking downtown passed 6-0 with council member Jude Prather not being present at the vote.

The San Marcos City Council meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit its website.

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