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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

College Station to consider perpetual “state of disaster” declaration

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College Station first declared a state of disaster over seven months ago on March 17. Since then, Mayor Karl Mooney has issued a variety of “mayoral orders” from limiting restaurants to requiring face coverings for the entire city. On the agenda this Thursday, City Council is considering an indefinite extension of this declaration.

Some federal funds are distributed to cities that declare a disaster as part of the CARES Act, but it also allows the municipal governments to assume additional powers. The City of Bryan interpreted the disaster declaration as giving them the power to delay reducing the voter approval tax rate, which was reduced by the legislature in the last session.[1] Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote an opinion that the exemption for disasters only gives leeway to cities with physical damage, not economic damage.

The City of Rockport pushed through $14.72M in ‘Tax Notes’ without voter input citing state-of-emergency orders.[2] This was not during the shutdown earlier this year but at the end of August.

College Station is still under a Mayoral Order for face coverings from June 29, even though the conditions for the decree no longer exist. If the State and Brazos County removed all restrictions tomorrow, the citizens of College Station would still be under these restrictions.

The College Station City Council meeting is on Thursday at 6PM, and can be accessed by Zoom.

To make written comments for the Council or to speak to the Council, fill out the comment form on the Council website. City Council Comments

[1] https://texasscorecard.com/commentary/commentary-bryan-and-college-station-a-tale-of-two-cities/?highlight=limit%20tax%20increase

[2] https://texasscorecard.com/commentary/rios-rockport-pushes-through-14-72m-in-tax-notes-without-voter-input/?highlight=%22city%20hall%22

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