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TipSheet: Austin City Council 5.28.15

Thursday, May 28, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

The Austin City Council will meet Thursday. Below is a list of items we’re watching. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda here. The Office of the City Clerk hosts a copy at its website, here.

1. Approve third reading of an ordinance amending the electric rate schedules in Ordinance No. 20140908-003 with regard to contract rates for hospital systems receiving large primary voltage service. (THE PUBLIC COMMENT FOR THIS ITEM WAS HELD AND CLOSED ON MAY 21, 2015.)

Monitor‘s take: Last week, City Council voted to extend long-term contracts for its two largest customers. It also punted this decision, which would grant six-month contract extensions to St. David’s North Austin Medical Center and Seton Medical Center.

4. Approve a resolution directing the city manager to file a challenge petition with the Appraisal Review Board relating to the level of appraisals of commercial property values by the Travis Central Appraisal District pursuant to Chapter 41 of the Texas Tax Code.

Monitor‘s Take: This will most certainly be the biggest story of the day. As we reported yesterday, City Council will make a decision about whether to challenge TCAD today. Though challenging the valuation of commercial properties could mean more money for the city (and hopefully more affordability for its residents), it could also cause trouble for local taxing entities’ budget processes.

5. Approve a resolution appointing a city auditor and setting compensation.

Monitor‘s Take: The Audit and Finance Committee unanimously recommended interim City Auditor Corrie Stokes for the permanent position of city auditor. She has held the position since the departure of Ken Mory and will most likely be appointed today.

9. NPA-2014-0009.01 – Waller on Swede Hill – District 1 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 011213-41, the Central East Austin Neighborhood Plan, an element of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, to change the land use designation on the future land use map (FLUM) on property locally known as 908 East 15th Street, 807 East 16th Street, 1506 Waller Street (Waller Creek Watershed) from Multifamily and Single Family land use to Mixed Use land use.

10. C14-2015-0006 – Waller on Swede Hill – District 1 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 908 East 15th Street, 807 East 16th Street, and 1506 Waller Street (Waller Creek Watershed) from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor‘s take: This case, which combines gentrification, preservation and good old-fashioned neighborhood opposition, is always pretty interesting. It was at Council last week, where there was some talk of postponing until September, and some talk of not honoring developers’ requests for postponements. We’ve covered this case in the past, here and here. Since then, we’ve heard rumors that the case has gotten even more complicated and contentious, and we are looking forward to seeing how that is possible.

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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.

Austin Energy: As a municipally-owned electric utility, Austin Energy is a rarity in the largely deregulated State of Texas. It's annual budget clocks in at over $1 billion. The utility's annual direct transfer of a Council-determined percentage of its revenues offers the city a notable revenue stream.

East Austin: East Austin is the quadrant of Austin that, generally speaking, is east of IH-35.

Office of the City Auditor: This city department is created by the city's charter in order to establish and ensure "accountability transparency, and a culture of continuous improvement in city operations."

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