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TipSheet: Austin City Council 6.17.15

Thursday, June 18, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

The Austin City Council will have 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. The City Clerk’s office posts a copy on its Web site, here.

5. Approve an ordinance authorizing an increase in the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Austin Water Utility Capital Budget (Ordinance No. 20140908-002) to appropriate $4,644,753 for the Water Treatment Plant No. 4 Project Construction Manager At Risk Agreement with MWH Constructors, Inc. Related to Items #24 and #101.

24. Approve mediated settlement agreement with MWH Constructors, Southland/Mole Joint Venture, Laughlin Thyssen, and STR Constructors for final resolution of all claims and final completion of the Water Treatment Plant No. 4 Project and authorize additional funding under construction manager at risk agreement with MWH in the amount of $4,644,753. Related to Items #5 and #101.

101. Discuss legal issues related to claims and final completion of Water Treatment Plant No. 4 Project. (Private consultation with legal counsel pursuant to 551.071 of the Government Code). Related to Items #5 and #24.

Monitor’s take: As we reported today, this $4.6 million settlement could be the final chapter in the Saga of WTP4. Or, you know, just another chapter.

8. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Section 2-5-28 relating to general citizen communications at city council meetings.

Monitor’s take: A quick read through the draft ordinance shows that, if approved, it would eliminate all of the ways people can speak more often than once out of every three regularly scheduled Council meetings.

25. Discussion and possible action relating to a challenge petition with the Appraisal Review Board for the Travis Central Appraisal District relating to commercial property values set by the Travis Central Appraisal District.

102. Discuss legal issues related to a challenge petition with the Appraisal Review Board for the Travis Central Appraisal District relating to commercial property values set by the Travis Central Appraisal District. (Private consultation with legal counsel – Section 551.071 of the Government Code). Related to Item #25.

Monitor’s take: Though there is zero backup for this posted online, we are looking forward to this follow-up to City Council’s unanimous decision to challenge TCAD’s commercial property appraisals last month. The Austin Chronicle has a pretty good recap of the situation here.

30. Authorize a lifetime swim pass and waiver of admission fees to Barton Springs Pool for Lynn C. Cooksey and former Mayor Frank Cooksey.

Monitor’s take: As we wrote in our Whispers today, this item is based on a city law that allows those over 80 to swim at Barton Springs Pool for free if nominated. At the work session, Council Member Ora Houston suggested the nomination part of the ordinance be waived (thus showing she does not fear the upcoming Silver Tsunami’s impact on the spring’s fragile ecosystem, we guess).

19. Authorize additional contingency funding for the construction contract with Oscar Renda Contracting for the Waller Creek Inlet Facility at Waterloo Park Project in the amount of $6,260,625 for a total amount not to exceed $34,781,250.

73. Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Watershed Protection Department Capital Budget (Ordinance No. 20140908-002) to increase appropriations by $5,600,000 for the Waller Creek Tunnel.

74. Approve a resolution declaring the City of Austin’s official intent to reimburse itself from Certificates of Obligation to be issued for expenditures relating to the Waller Creek Tunnel in the total amount of $5,600,000.

104. Discuss legal issues related to Waller Creek Tunnel Project (Private consultation with legal counsel – Section 551.071 of the Government Code).

Monitor’s take: On Tuesday, we reported that staff is seeking about $5.6 million for the Waller Tunnel, although the hope is that those funds won’t be used. Although some of the more-interesting legal discussion will take place in Council’s executive session (104), hopefully there will be plenty to talk in open chambers, too.

78. Approve a resolution relating to short-term rentals.

Monitor’s take: To be honest, we couldn’t really follow the discussion about when to have this discussion at the Planning and Neighborhoods Committee or the work session, but we think Council is planning to discuss this at their August 20 meeting, after a report from the City Manager on the same topic is presented the week before.

80. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Section 2-1-127 relating to the Community Development Commission.

81. Approve a resolution relating to the geographic areas for the Community Development Commission and designating the organizations making nominations to the Commission.

Monitor’s take: These two resolutions will expand the CDC by one in order to include a new North Austin seat. The area, which is north and northwest of the St. John’s region, is in Districts 4 and 7.

84. Approve a resolution creating an Austin-Travis County Intergovernmental Working Group and appointing its members to make recommendations regarding a location, governance structure and funding plan for a sobering center and directing the City Manager to return to Council for approval of funding to be incorporated in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget sufficient to advance progress toward establishing a sobriety center.

Monitor’s take: Here is the latest chapter in the city’s attempt at a proposed sobriety center. We’ve covered this issue plenty, most recently here, here and here.

93. Approve a resolution relating to expenditure of the Capital Metro ¼ Cent funds to pay for infrastructure improvements to improve mobility throughout the city.

Monitor’s take: Though the Mobility Committee has recommended that the $21.8 million in quarter-cent funds be split equally among districts, Council Member Greg Casar has already said he would rather prioritize fund distribution based on need. Should be an interesting discussion.

94. Approve an ordinance relating to permitting requirements for non-peak hour concrete installation within portions of the Central Business District (CBD) and Public (P) zoning districts.

Monitor’s take: Honestly, we’ve written a lot about the ongoing drama surrounding downtown late-night concrete pouring, and we’re about ready to wrap it up. However, Council might not be. At Tuesday’s work session, things were still very much up in the air, and though they are up against a hard deadline, Council may choose to extend the interim ordinance rather than the real deal.

95. Approve a resolution affirming CodeNEXT Approach 2.5, relating to the degree to which the Land Development Code will be amended.

Monitor’s take: Roughly one million years ago, City Council approved the compromise “2.5” approach to the CodeNEXT code rewrite. They also stipulated that the severity of the rewrite should be reaffirmed by the new Council. The Planning and Neighborhoods Committee has reaffirmed the “2.5 approach” unanimously, and now it heads to Council.

97. Approve third reading of an ordinance amending City Code Chapters 15-2 and 15-9 relating to the drainage charge.

Monitor’s take: As we reported today, this will be delayed another 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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