Several citizens addressed Round Rock City Council during the public comment segment of its Thursday night meeting. The council members and residents discussed the city's budget, commission appointments, an amendment to its smoking ordinance, development issues and taxes.
1. Budget. Council unanimously approved the $323.5 million proposed fiscal year 2016-2017 budget. The budget addresses Round Rock's need for an additional fire code inspector and assistant fire chief as well as ensures its fire department resource needs are met. It includes the hiring of several city employees needed to staff expanded city services, including seven new police officers and a community affairs specialist for the police department.
2. Appointments. Council appointed Cam Scoot, Jon Sloan and Will Peckham to the Round Rock Transportation and Economic Development Corporation to fill expired terms. Claudo Cruz, Amanda Keeter and Ryan Therrell were appointed to the Ethics Review Commission to fill expired terms. Byron Hendrix and Andy Martinez were appointed to the Building Standards Commission/Fire Code Board of Appeals to fill expired terms. Edward Hanna was appointed to the Capital Improvements Advisory Committee to fill an unexpired term, and Whit Baese was appointed as the City Council's representative to the Round Rock Chamber Board of Directors.
3. Vaping. The council heard citizen comments for and against a proposed smoking ordinance change before voting unanimously to incorporate vaping into the city's existing smoking ordinance. The amendment prohibits citizens from vaping and engaging in e-cigarette use anywhere they are prohibited from smoking.
Round Rock resident Heather Scott asked the council to consider the health of asthmatic citizens when making their decision, while local business owner Courtney Mendoza asked members to consider leaving the ordinance as is, allowing citizens to vape and use e-cigarettes as she said the emissions are harmless.
4. Black Box Theater. Citizens spoke in favor of the Black Box Theater proposed for the Baca Center for Senior and Community Activities. This comes after citizens opposing the development have dominated the topic during the public comment portion of the past two council meetings. A feasibility study for the Black Box Theater is currently being conducted.
5. Taxes. The Round Rock City Council set the property tax rate at $0.425 per $100 valuation for FY 2016-2017, an increase of almost three cents from the prior year.