City Council discussed a grant opportunity from the Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program to buy and install at city-owned facilities up to 10 electric vehicle charging stations residents could use.
According to city documents, the grant would have provided up to $2,500 in reimbursements toward the cost of buying and installing a single station on up to 10 stations. To be eligible for the reimbursement, the city must own the land and charging station.
Despite the reimbursement, at least half the cost of the stations would have fallen on the city; it costs about $5,000 to $10,000 to install a single station, said David Hoover, director of economic development.
Mayor Pro Tem Hank Dugie said he opposed the idea on the basis the city would have to pay for part of them. If the program offered free charging stations, that would be great, but the program requires the city pay for most of each station and their future maintenance, he said.
“I have no interest in this grant program,” Dugie said, noting he does not want the city to subsidize charging stations but is open to other opportunities for private companies to perhaps partner with the city on installing charging stations.
Council Member Nick Long agreed, saying businesses, not necessarily the government, should be doing this.
“I think the private sector can handle this,” he said.
Council Member John Bowen also agreed, noting there should be a more self-supporting system than the city paying for the most of each unit.
“There’s a way for it to pay for itself,” he said. “I think there’s a better alternative.”
After their comments, Hoover pointed out this program made it to the agenda because during City Council’s most recent strategic planning session, council members indicated they wanted staff to work on bringing charging stations to the city.
“It was a council initiative to do so,” he said.
Hoover noted there are other charging station programs the city could explore, but they all cost money.
“This one doesn’t; it’s free,” he said.
Hoover said installing charging stations would align with the city’s goal to attract more visitors and have them stay longer, putting more “heads in beds” and increasing hotel and other revenues for the city. There are two electric vehicle charging stations in the city Hoover could think of, he said.
City Council voted down the proposal 0-7 with Mayor Pat Hallisey absent.