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TipSheet: Austin City Council, 3.24 & 3.26

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 by Michael Kanin

Council has two meetings Thursday: Its inaugural Austin Energy committee of the whole and the regular Council meeting, pushed back to 11 a.m. to accommodate for the AE committee. Their agenda continues to be light, relative to those of their predecessors.

As always, the Austin City Council meets in an agenda work session Tuesday and for its regular meeting Thursday. Below is a list of items we’re watching for the upcoming week. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda here. The City Clerk’s office hosts a copy at its website, here.

4. Authorize the use of the construction manager-at-risk method of contracting for construction of the new Parking Garage with Administration Offices Project at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

Monitor’s Take: The return of an item that would select the Construction Manager at Risk procurement method for what looks to be a roughly $120 million garage and office expansion for Austin Bergstrom International Airport. As we reported in a TipSheet when this item first surfaced, the CMAR process drew some frustration from the previous Council during the construction of Water Treatment Plant 4.

On February 23, staff issued a memo that outlines the CMAR method.

5. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 9 relating to audible noises and music and solicitation.

Monitor’s Take: This is the return of an item left over from previous Council that would allow busking in the city’s right of way. However, the director of the city’s Economic Development Department — who has oversight here — has written a memo to Mayor and Council asking for a withdrawal of any city action on the matter. He’s also offered an executive session to, presumably, explain all that.

6. Approve a resolution authorizing the City to be a co-applicant with the Film Society of Austin on an application for grant funding in an amount not to exceed $1,008,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration to create a creative media facility on City-owned property leased to the Society.

Monitor’s Take: Another one from Economic Development. This would start an application for a federal grant that would, if awarded, allow the city to expand Austin Studios.

7. Approve an ordinance establishing classifications and positions in the classified service of the Austin Fire Department; creating and eliminating certain positions and repealing Ordinance No. 20140908-004 relating to the Austin Fire Department classifications and positions.

Monitor’s Take: This is a reshuffle of the number of positions in the city’s Fire Department. At the top level, the service will add two Division Chiefs, and lose one Battalion Chief. It will also add five Fire Specialist positions while decreasing the number of allotted Firefighter positions by six.

9. Approve a settlement in Sanchez et al v. City of Austin, Cause No. A-11-CV-993-LY, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Monitor’s Take: This would settle a lawsuit brought by Occupy Austin protesters cited for criminal trespass who then sued the City of Austin, arguing that their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated. They prevailed at a lower court. The case is currently on appeal.

15. Approve an ordinance extending the expiration date of Ordinance No. 20141120-056 relating to requirements for nonpeak hour concrete installation within portions of the Central Business District (CBD) and Public (P) zoning districts.

Monitor’s Take: The return of the proposed limits on concrete pouring in the downtown region. Monitor coverage is here, here, and here.

25. Authorize award and execution of a 60-month revenue contract with LONE STAR RIVERBOAT, INC. to provide boat excursion services on Lady Bird Lake for an estimated revenue amount of $150,000, with one 60-month extension option in an estimated amount of $150,000 for a total estimated revenue amount of $300,000.

Monitor’s Take: This is the return of the Lone Star Riverboat contract. In early March Council Member Leslie Pool and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo raised issues with improper documentation of liquid waste disposal. Monitor coverage of that is here.

37. Set a public hearing to consider an ordinance amending City Code Title 2 and Title 25 to dissolve the Residential Design and Compatibility Commission. (Suggested date and time: April 23, 2015, 4 p.m. at Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second Street, Austin, TX).

38. Set a public hearing to consider an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 to add notification and meeting requirements to the East Riverside Corridor Regulating Plan amendment process. (Suggested date and time: 4 p.m.  April 23 at Austin City Hall).

Monitor’s Take: Before anyone gets too excited, these items will simply set public hearing dates and times for these actions. No dissolving or requirement adding will happen this week.


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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

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