TipSheet: Austin City Council, 9.15.22
Thursday, September 15, 2022 by Elizabeth Pagano
Today City Council will convene for a regular meeting. As usual, we aim to give you an overview of the meeting, but those who want to dive into the details can check out the full agenda or tune in to watch the whole thing online starting at 10-ish this morning.
First, a recap: Despite having a number of important issues left to discuss, Council did not opt to continue its previous meeting past 10 p.m. Judging from the conversation on Tuesday, it looks like this is a practice Council may adopt moving forward, which could mean extending meetings over several days in the future. For this meeting, it means that we’ll have a repeat of speakers and discussions about parkland dedication fees, proposed changes to the 11th and 12th Street NCCDs and the Statesman planned unit development. Council members will also take up the issue of license plate readers for APD because, though it first appeared on the agenda in June and has been discussed several times since then, they have yet to take a vote.
If there’s any reprieve to be offered during this Groundhog Day of an agenda, it might be that the actual vote on the Statesman PUD is expected to be postponed to Sept. 29 – though that is not entirely certain, as several Council members have travel plans that will conflict with the meeting. We do expect a firm date to be locked in, however, after several Council members expressed chagrin that “people from Chicago” had flown in to discuss the project and were surprised when the meeting unexpectedly ended.
It’s unclear whether the related revisiting of the South Central Waterfront District Regulating Plan will also be postponed.
Unlike other things on the agenda, Council is bound to vote on the Equity Austin petition that was recently validated by the city. Now that it’s been validated, Council must either put it on the May ballot or vote to adopt the petition’s language as an ordinance. A vote to adopt the ordinance must be taken within 10 days of certification, and with seven affirmative votes. To make sure that happens, meetings are set for Saturday and Monday of this week where the issue can be taken up, if needed. If Council chooses to put it on the ballot, however, they have until February to do so.
In terms of new, state-related things, Council will vote to approve this year’s legislative agenda (you can take a look at that here) and execute a $150,000 contract with Jane’s Due Process. The contract is for “services, resources and practical support related to sexual and reproductive health and overcoming barriers that impede access to health care,” though the backup stipulates that funds cannot be used to pay abortion providers. The backup clarifies that the city may not ask for funds to be returned in the event of a court order or lawsuit, perhaps anticipating trouble from the state.
Council will also continue two convention center-related things, both sponsored by Council Member Kathie Tovo. The first is a proposed renovation for an adjacent historic home that is currently vacant and unused. The second looks into revamping parking fees for the convention center garage and including it in the city’s affordable parking program.
The Austin Monitor’s work is made possible by donations from the community. Though our reporting covers donors from time to time, we are careful to keep business and editorial efforts separate while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here. This article has been corrected. While Council has a 10-day deadline to adopt the petition ordinance, they have a longer deadline if they choose to put it up for an election.
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