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Council to hash out staff recommendations for proposed 2018 bond package

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 by Syeda Hasan

City Council is set to vote tomorrow on adopting the city manager’s recommendation for a 2018 bond package. Voters would decide on whether to approve the $816 million referendum this November.

The proposal includes funding for transportation infrastructure, stormwater and open space, public safety, parks, libraries and cultural centers, health and human services, and affordable housing. However, the question of just how much money to dedicate to affordable housing has been a point of disagreement for city leaders.

City Manager Spencer Cronk recommends setting aside $161 million of bond money for affordable housing, but some Council members want that figure to be almost double. In April, Council members Delia Garza, Pio Renteria and Greg Casar called for increasing the money earmarked for affordable housing to $300 million. Casar and Renteria later said they are aiming for $250 million to $300 million.

The money would go toward affordable rental housing, homeownership programs, home repairs and acquiring land for future use.

Garza, Renteria and Casar represent three of Austin’s lowest-income districts. They point to ongoing gentrification and the displacement of residents, saying a major housing bond is needed to address those issues.

Council will vote on Cronk’s $816 million recommendation tomorrow. If it is approved, the city manager would bring proposed ballot language back to the Council members for consideration by Aug. 9.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Callie Hernandez/KUT.

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