San Marcos City Council to meet with HUD, lawmakers during Washington, D.C., lobbying trip

Several San Marcos City Council members will be in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday to lobby federal lawmakers.

Several San Marcos City Council members will be in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday to lobby federal lawmakers.

Several San Marcos City Council members will take a trip to the U.S. Capitol this week to lobby for regional transportation efforts, workforce housing and economic development.

Mayor John Thomaides and council members Lisa Prewitt and Scott Gregson will be attending the two-day lobbying trip Tuesday and Wednesday.

Their agenda, obtained by Community Impact Newspaper through a Texas open records request, shows the local officials will meet with officials from the Federal Transit Administration, and Enterprise Community Partners Inc. on Tuesday. They also have meetings with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio), the Texas Department of Transportation, the Employment Training Administration and U.S. senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Wednesday.

The itinerary for the council members also includes a dinner hosted by The Normandy Group, a government relations firm hired by the city to prepare its legislative priorities.

On April 17, the council approved its 2018-19 legislative priorities, or guiding principles, which included:

  • supporting federal funding solutions to develop regional partnerships to maximize solutions for both current and future flood resilience;

  • supporting potential federal legislative action on infrastructure to provide necessary transportation funding—while protecting the environment—for better connectivity and to keep pace with the city's priority infrastructure needs for air, highway, transit, pedestrian, bicycle and rail transportation;

  • seeking federal funding to help address the deteriorating concrete on the taxiway and ramp at San Marcos Regional Airport;

  • supporting efforts related to a regional commuter rail;

  • supporting adult education initiatives, including facilitating partnerships with Gary Jobs Corps;

  • supporting federal initiatives that promote diverse housing choices for the community's local workforce;

  • supporting federal grant programs for policy and fire public safety; and

  • supporting federal action to encourage the protection and preservation of spring flows and the rivers in San Marcos.


Prewitt also stressed on April 3 during a staff briefing to the council she wanted to emphasize the importance of local control to federal lawmakers during the council's trip to Washington, D.C.

"We know our communities the best; we know our flooding, we know our waterways, we know our rainfall, we know the type of communities we have when it comes to short-term rentals and things like that, so I don't know if that would be something we could highlight as we're just visiting with our elected officials in D.C. and just mentioning how important that is for us in certain, specific areas that local governments do maintain control over certain things because we're the ones that see it better than anybody," she said.

The council will also create a list of state legislative priorities in the future. Council Member Melissa Derrick asked that when the council creates a list of state legislative priorities, she wants to support the creation of a water-oriented recreation district, which allows a county to impose fees on tubing rentals and shuttles associated with tubing, and to enter the river. Collected revenue would go to paying police officers to monitor the water recreation safety zone.

Mayor John Thomaides said he wanted feedback from The Normandy Group regarding the support of two topics: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"They are topical, I think they pertain to us in a dramatic way and they are federal issues," he said of DACA and NAFTA.

In September, President Donald Trump ordered an end to the President Obama-era program that protects so-called "Dreamers," or immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, from deportation, but courts have blocked his decision.

Thomaides said a third issue that he wanted to bring up based on conversations with the U.S. Conference of Mayors was the U.S. Census citizenship issue. The U.S. Department of Justice has added a question on the 2020 census that asks residents for their citizenship status.

"The mayors are very concerned this would have a chilling effect on people returning the census," he said.



By Marie Albiges
Marie Albiges was the editor for the San Marcos, Buda and Kyle edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covered San Marcos City Council, San Marcos CISD and Hays County Commissioners Court. Marie previously reported for the Central Austin edition. Marie moved to Austin from Williamsburg, Va. in 2016 and was born in France. She has since moved on from Community Impact in May 2018.


MOST RECENT

Clem Cantu, San Marcos CISD board president, introduced an agenda item for a proposal to temporarily increase the district's hourly pay during the Sept. 21 meeting. (Screen shot courtesy SMCISD)
San Marcos CISD board votes against temporary raise for hourly employees

Hourly employees at San Marcos CISD were looking at a proposed temporary $2 per hour pay bump starting Oct. 1, but the district's budget numbers cannot currently bear the weight of that increase.

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Hays County. (Community Impact staff)
Hays County's active COVID-19 cases and what you should know

It is not known how many active cases of the coronavirus there are in Hays County. This is why.

San Marcos CISD campuses will receive 4,000 classroom dividers this week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
San Marcos CISD updates district officials on in-school learning plans, safety protocols

San Marcos CISD officials received an update on the latest guidelines for in-school learning, which include numerous safety protocols designed to keep COVID-19 positivity rates as low as possible.

City Post is located at 113 E. Eighth St., Georgetown. (Courtesy City Post)
Georgetown to get steakhouse, speakeasy plus more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

School districts in San Marcos, Hays County face the unknown as semesters commence in the fall

Fall semesters began for the campuses within San Marcos CISD and Hays CISD on Sept. 8, as both districts contended with the reality that administrators, teachers and students were swimming in uncharted waters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ampersand owner Elaine Salazar, fourth from right, stands with several members of her team at Ampersand's Buda headquarters. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Buda's Ampersand Art Supply a global leader in surface panels for artists

Salazar’s company, now called Ampersand Art Supply, was born in 1993 as Ampersand. Salazar and three other students at the University of Texas Austin created a business plan for the company.

The Bulgogi Philly is another genre-bending dish at Casa Choi. (Courtesy Casa Choi)
Casa Choi brings fusion of Korean and Mexican cuisine in San Marcos

By combining the hallmarks of Mexican cuisine with the flavors of Korea, owner Jason Choi elevates both with combinations of kimchi, tortillas and bulgogi.

Pflugerville's testing location is operated from 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Saturday where a maximum of 300 people can be tested each day at the site. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Coronavirus testing site in Pflugerville to move and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Central Health administrative building in Austin
Central Health finalizes budget with increased tax rate, more health care services for low-income residents

Local health care district Central Health is budgeting a nearly $20 million increase in health care delivery services for Austin’s low-income residents.

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Baylor Scott & White Health to host 9 Austin-area drive-thru flu shot clinics

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.