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What council wishes YOU Knew…  Answers to your most asked questions

SEGUIN – City Council members have submitted their most-asked questions and comments from their constituents. Here’s their top questions and comments they wish YOU knew:
1. Why does the city work on more than one project at a time?  
Due to the high number of streets that need/demand improvements, the city must complete a certain number of projects per year in order to complete them in a timely fashion.

2. How does the city decide which roads to repair and in what order?
Every two years, the city hires two engineering interns to evaluate our entire street network using a pavement management software.  The software is used by the armed services, cities, counties, and states throughout the world.  The interns evaluate every street in the City in conformance with the standardized rating criteria and enter that information into the database.  The database is used to monitor street conditions, develop maps and create a street maintenance plan (crack sealing, chip sealing, surface treatments, reclamation, overlays, rehabilitation and total reconstruction) for future years.  The roads are prioritized based on condition and the amount of funding available to pay to fix them. City Council uses that information when prioritizing which roads need to be funded in a given budget year. They also consider distributing that funding as equally as possible throughout the city.

3. A. What is the difference between TxDOT-maintained roads and city-maintained roads?
All state highways and F.M.s (farm-to-market) roads are maintained by the State, or TxDOT. For example, Court Street (Highway 90 Alt), Kingsbury St.  (Highway 90), King St. (FM 466) and Austin St (BS 123) are TxDOT roads and are maintained by the State. All other streets like College, Jefferson and Vaughan are city-maintained roadways.  There are 179 miles of city-maintained paved streets in Seguin.
 
B. Who maintains and repairs traffic signals?
TxDOT oversees all traffic lights/signal maintenance in the city.
 
4. A. How do I report a pot hole?
Please call the Citizens’ Relations Coordinator Kimberly Allison at 830-401-2445 or by email at kallision@seguintexas.gov. She will send a report to the streets department.
 
B. What causes pot holes? How does water negatively impact the roadway? According to Wikipedia, “a pothole is a structural failure in a road surface, usually asphalt pavement, due to water in the underlying soil structure and traffic passing over the affected area. Water first weakens the underlying soil; traffic then fatigues and breaks the poorly supported asphalt surface in the affected area. Continued traffic action ejects both asphalt and the underlying soil material to create a hole in the pavement.” The city has prioritized improving drainage on streets so that when it rains, water is quickly diverted off the roadway and into the storm sewer.

5. Why do Firefighters/paramedics sometimes drive their fire trucks or ambulances to grocery stores to buy food or to restaurants to eat lunch? Isn’t using this city equipment this way a waste of the taxpayers’ money?
Seguin firefighter/paramedics work 24-hour shifts.  When they report for duty, they are assigned to a piece of equipment and they are required to be accessible to that equipment during their entire shift.  If a call comes in while they are picking up groceries for the fire station or eating a meal, they must stop what they’re doing, report to their equipment and respond to the call.  Sometimes this means leaving the shopping cart as is or leaving a meal when it’s half eaten.

6. “I went to City Council to speak during the ‘Citizens to be Heard’ part of the meeting.  I explained my issue.  After I finished, the City Manager indicated he would talk with his staff and get back with me.   However, not one of the council members said a word.  I expected more interaction from them.”  
The Texas Open Meetings Act requires that any subject to be discussed, debated or voted on by City Council members MUST be placed on the council agenda prior to such discussion, debate or vote, and that agenda MUST be posted for public viewing 72 hours before the meeting when the items will be discussed.  Since information voiced during the “Citizens to be Heard” is not on the agenda, the Council must listen, but make no comments. However, the Council may take notes during this time and work with the City Manager and staff to get the issue resolved.

7. A. Do I need a permit to install an above ground pool?
Yes! A permit is required for any swimming pool 2 feet or more in depth; this includes all types of pools or spas, above-ground, on-ground or in-ground. The City has adopted the International Swimming Pool and Spa code of 2015. The City of Seguin requires a 48-inch fence around the swimming pool or spa with a maximum clearance under the fence of two inches. There are other access requirements, such as self-closing gates, self-latching mechanism, and audible warning when doors are opened. Call the Planning/Codes Department for further information or visit the City’s website for a press release at https://www.seguintexas.gov/news_detail_T8_R254.php
 
B. Why does the City have this code?
An unsecured swimming pool or spa can become a safety issue. Last year, there was 163 drownings in the US of children younger than age 15. A pool not enclosed with fencing or another type of barrier is a temptation to a child during a hot summer day. Eye opening stat: In Texas last year, there was 14 swimming pool drowning deaths of children. Visit Pool Safely campaign at http://www.poolsafely.gov for more safety tips.

8. Why do I need to bag my leaves and lawn waste?
Lawn waste such as grass clippings and twigs can clog up the city street drainage system. When people blow their grass out into the streets, storm sewer drains get clogged up causing streets to flood because the water cannot easily be drained off.  Please, do not blow your grass clippings and/or leaves into the street.

9.What can I recycle?
Items you can throw in the blue recycling bin include: Rinsed plastic bottles and jugs, rinsed glass bottles and jars, clean paper, books, magazines, newspaper, rinsed metal and aluminum cans, clean food boxes, cardboard (flattened). Recycling instructions can be found online (in English and Spanish): https://www.seguintexas.gov/Citizens%20Relations/cos-recycle%20flier%20English.Spanish.pdf

10. Who can I call when I’m not sure who I need to speak with at City Hall?
You can call the Citizens Relations Coordinator, Kimberly Allison, at 830-401-2445. She represents the businesses, citizens and community organizations at City Hall. The coordinator also receives questions, complaints and concerns regarding provision of city services. To make a request such as reporting a pot hole, property that has high weeds/grass, junk vehicle, etc. You can also complete a Citizen Request Form online: https://www.seguintexas.gov/residents/citizens_relations/citizen_request_form.php

11. If you are planning to buy a piece of property for a specific purpose (ex. commercial business), please check with the Planning Department before buying it. Do not rely on marketing material to ensure that your plan for the property complies with the zoning of the property. For example, you cannot open a commercial business if the area is zoned residential.

12. When is the construction on North Austin Street/BS 123 going to be finished? TxDOT’s most recent estimated completion date is May 2019. If residents or business owners have questions they can call the Seguin TxDOT office at 830-379-5362.

13. “Why can’t we demolish all the vacant, dilapidated houses in our neighborhood?”
 A structure in the City can only be demolished if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
  • Vacant for more than 12 months and doesn't meet the requirements for habitation (based on International Codes)
  • is in danger of collapsing
  • vacant and unable to remain secured
  • unsanitary and may cause sickness, disease or injury
  • show evidence that it has been or is being used in connection with criminal activity.
The Buildings and Standards Commission is the governing body that authorizes city staff to start demolition procedures. The city cannot demolish a structure without their approval. The Commission can order a structure to be repaired with a certain time frame or have a structure secured (because it doesn't meet all the above criteria).  The Commission works with the property owners by providing them a reasonable amount of time to bring the structure up to codes.
What might appear as a dilapidated structure to the public might not meet the criteria. Staff does evaluate each structure before it goes to the Commission; they provide a written report that identifies any structural, electrical, plumbing, mechanical or safety/health concerns.
 
Staff is always looking for structures to be placed on the Buildings and Standards list to either bring them up to code, secure them or demolish them. Just like weedy lot and junked vehicle violations, we need the public to assist us. Please call the Citizens Relations’ Coordinator at 830-401-2445 or by email kallison@seguintexas.gov to report a property that you feel meets the criteria to be condemned.

14. Who is responsible for low hanging limbs over streets?
Ultimately, low hanging limbs are the responsibility of the homeowner or property owner. The City’s Brush Department trims overhanging limbs, but only after they have completed their designated routes, and all work orders. Higher priority is given to higher traffic roads or roads that are planned for street improvements so that the paving equipment has room to maneuver.

15. Who can I call about overgrown lots, vacant homes and illegal dumping?
Please call the Citizens Relations Coordinator at 830-401-8445 or by email kallison@seguintexas.gov to report a violation or ask questions. She will make a report for one of our Code Enforcement Officers. They enforce the city's weedy lot and junk vehicle ordinances, investigate illegal trash dumping, insect and rodent control, sewer violations, and other situations which may pose a threat to public health.  You can also make a report online: http://eportal.seguintexas.gov/CitizenAccess/Site/CitizenRequest/Create.