Vanilla Ice and city surveillance: Buda considers security cameras

By C.J. Vetter

BUDA – Last week, the Buda City Council tabled grant funds to the police department for surveillance cameras and an automatic license plate reader (ALPR).

The grant would include up to $20,000 in funds for the purchase of an APLR by the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority. If awarded, the Buda Police Department would partner with APLR manufacturer Flock Safety to install the cameras. Other cities, such as San Marcos, have already begun to receive a grant for APLRs. This would be separate from the partnerships that Flock already has with any homeowners’ associations in Buda.

 “We’ve had several specific issues. I know that this would have made a difference, the donut shop burglaries, with that we had just another surveillance camera that captured a side profile of a vehicle. We knew it was a black Camaro, but we didn’t have anything further,” said Community Affairs Officer Freddy Erdman. “We’ve had some with the downtown merchants. We’ve had criminal mischief with somebody with a pellet gun going up and down Main and shooting through those windows. Again, with things like that, it would certainly help us get a workable lead by having these cameras in the right of way.”

 While some of the council members were open to the idea of installing the cameras due to upticks in criminal behavior, there were concerns regarding the privacy of citizens. There was also the issue of possibly eroding the trust of citizens in the police department, as well as the question of data retention and security. City council chose to leave the option open to wait for further information from other communities in the area.

The council was also presented with reports on the Brewers Fest featuring Vanilla Ice and the Buda Birthday Celebration. There were an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 attendees at the Buda Birthday.

There were 4,000 plus rides on the carnival attractions, 19 parade participants, 7 food vendors, 26 craft vendors, and 24 local legend nominations, with a grand total of $67,371 spent on the celebration between logistics and marketing. In addition, 22 rooms were booked for the birthday according to local hotels. The suggested improvements include more signage to help attendees find more parking and move around the event, as well as more food vendors, more shaded areas, changing times, and discussion with other local organizations to avoid overlap.

 “As far as revenue, our revenue was small this year, but I will note that due to the timeline we had to put this together in, we did not seek sponsorships and that is something we will be doing moving forward,” said Lysa Gonzalez, Destination Services Director. 

Brewers Fest was  awarded a grant of $10,000 previously, with $8,459 eligible to be reimbursed, had an attendance of 1,200 and filled 97 rooms.  The event was organized by Happy Hobo LLC, a private company, and had an estimated expenditure of $80,000.

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