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TipSheet: Austin City Council, 3.31.16

Thursday, March 31, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting Thursday. Below is a list of items we’re watching. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda. The Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

15. Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Support Services Fund Operating Budget (Ordinance No. 20150908-001) to increase the beginning balance by $650,000, to appropriate and increase expenditures by $650,000 within the Office of the City Clerk; and decrease the Support Services Fund Operating Budget ending balance by $650,000 for costs associated with a May 7, 2016 municipal election.

Monitor’s take: Though it might not provoke as much discussion as the ballot language did, here is the cost of the Proposition 1 election that the city will hold in May to address transportation network company regulations. Because the city doesn’t have anything else on the ballot, it’s fair to say that this $650,000 cost can be attributed directly to this issue. We’ll leave it up to you whether you hold the TNC companies or City Council responsible for that cost.

16. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 2-2 relating to revision of campaign finance forms.

Monitor’s take: As we reported Wednesday, the city clerk has rounded up a list of amendments to the current city code that are intended to make electronic campaign filing a little easier for candidates and (thankfully) for those interested in reading through reports. Currently, reports are posted online but as scanned PDF documents that can’t be searched and are often handwritten.

23. Approve an ordinance extending the expiration date of Ordinance No. 20141120-056 relating to requirements for non-peak hour concrete installation within portions of the Central Business District and Public zoning districts; and declaring an emergency.

Monitor’s take: This one has been lingering in the wings for a good long while. There is a chance that all construction in Austin will be complete by the time it actually comes up, but there’s a really short agenda this week, so we might as well mention it. Basically, City Council has yet to make rules about nonconcrete … well, concrete. Instead, Council has extended the interim rules four times since passing them in November 2014, and the most recent expiration date is March 31 (aka, today.)

44. Authorize negotiation and execution of a 24-month contract with UNISYS CORPORATION to provide for the migration of legacy systems into the Application Management and Data Automation (AMANDA) case management software system, expansion of online services for citizens via the public-facing AMANDA Portal, integration between AMANDA and other systems, and improvement in internal processes for all departments using the AMANDA system in an amount not to exceed $2,410,000, with three 12-month extension options in an amount not to exceed $1,175,000 each, for a total contract amount not to exceed $5,935,000.

Monitor’s take: According to the answer to a question posed by Council Member Don Zimmerman’s office, the almost $6 million contract for improvements to the AMANDA system will address a number of issues raised in the Zucker Report. (The AMANDA System, for reference, is the city’s online permitting system.) This contract will allow the city to post daily inspection schedules, add historic preservation applications, implement a system-wide fee structure, integrate variance and waiver data, add tree permit functions, add live music permits and integrate food enterprise inspections, among other things, according to the long list provided by city staff.

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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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