About the Author
Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
Most Popular Stories
TipSheet: City Council, 11.12.20
Thursday, November 12, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano
Today City Council will once again convene virtually for its regular Thursday meeting. As has been the practice throughout the pandemic, Council will take public comment on the main agenda at the beginning of the meeting, followed by zoning speakers around 2 p.m. This week, because of the Veterans Day holiday on Wednesday, speaker signup was cut off a day early, so very few people have signed up. We’re guessing that will make for a shorter meeting as well. As usual, we’ve highlighted the items on the agenda that we found interesting, and the entire agenda can be found online. As a bonus, updates and amendments will be posted to the City Council Message Board, so head over there if you’re looking to stay on top of things in real time.
Item 2: Approve an ordinance amending Section 3-1-1 (Definitions) of City Code Title 3 (Animal Regulation) to add a new definition of provoked biting, and to amend the definition of unprovoked biting by a dog, and to renumber the remaining definitions accordingly.
Monitor’s Take: This recently adopted ordinance will further clarify city code to define what an “unprovoked” bite is. The new language defines a provoked bite as one that “occurs because the dog was being taunted, or the dog was acting in defense of self, a person, another animal, or property, or the dog was acting from maternal instinct, or the dog was reacting to hunger, pain or fear, or the dog bites accidentally, as when playing. To be provoked a biting must occur contemporaneously with or immediately following the provocation.” On the other hand, unprovoked biting “means biting that is not provoked. Unprovoked biting includes biting that occurs during ordinary care, including feeding, walking and placing a collar, leash or harness on a dog, or from merely initiating interaction with a dog, or standing and facing the dog, walking toward a dog or its owner, or addressing the dog’s owner.”
Item 8: Authorize negotiation and execution of a construction manager at risk agreement with Flintco, LLC for preconstruction and construction services for the Colony Park District Park and Givens District Park Aquatic Facilities in an amount not to exceed $14,000,000.
Monitor’s Take: Pools! With this $14 million contract, a relatively straightforward pool is coming to Givens Park and a fun-looking Aquatics Center will be built at Colony Park.
Item 10: Approve the draft service plan and petition language for the proposed creation of an Austin Tourism Public Improvement District (ATPID); the ATPID would raise funding through a 1% assessment on the rates for non-contiguous hotel properties with one hundred or more rooms within the City of Austin limits for the purpose of special supplemental services for increased marketing and sales initiatives, sales incentives to retain and secure meetings and conventions at the Austin Convention Center and Palmer Event Center; a portion of the assessment would be paid to the Austin Convention Center which can transfer these funds to the City’s General Fund for use by the City.
Monitor’s Take: Though this PID will be postponed today, it might be worth noting the details now. Here’s a good rundown from the backup for those trying to get acquainted.
Item 11: Approve a resolution authorizing the creation of temporary Chapter 380 programs that support tenants operating a childcare business, live-music venue, arts venue, or restaurant/bar and exempting these temporary Chapter 380 programs from the requirements of Resolution No. 20180830-056.
Monitor’s Take: Though many are eager to see more support for these businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic and the response to the pandemic, this particular resolution won’t be up for a vote until Dec. 3, as it’s going to be postponed today.
Item 17: Approve a resolution adopting the City’s Federal Legislative Program for the 117th U.S. Congress.
Monitor’s Take: Curious about the city’s federal goals this year? Check out Austin’s legislative program for Congress, which includes priorities for pandemic relief, transportation, power, housing, immigration, public safety, and elections (among other things).
Item 20: Authorize the negotiation and execution of a lease agreement with an option to purchase with 3423 Holdings, LLC, a Texas limited liability company, for approximately 30,000 square feet of office space for the Downtown Austin Community Court, located at 1719 East 2nd Street, for a 120 month lease with one ten-year extension option, in an amount not to exceed $21,562,500.
Monitor’s Take: As we reported Wednesday, Council Member Pio Renteria is not in favor of moving forward with the new Downtown Community Court location without talking to neighborhood residents. He’s said if that doesn’t happen, he’ll just vote against the plan.
Item 39: Authorize negotiation and execution of a contract with Kroll Associates, Inc., to provide an assessment of the Austin Police Department training academy and conduct analysis of recruitment and promotions, use of force incidents, and public interactions with officers, in an amount not to exceed $1,300,000.
Monitor’s Take: As the city continues its work to “reimagine public safety,” this contract will give Council outside data on how the department is currently operating. According to the backup, this contract will allow Kroll to:
· Analyze APD training practices, including courses, materials, internal reports, and interviews with
· Research national standards in policing, including best practices for police academies, reducing use of force, and improving communications with diverse communities
· Recommend improvements to APD recruitment and promotion practices, including screening candidates for cadet classes and promotion
· Recommend incorporating the participation of community groups representing those disproportionately affected by policing in the development of
new police training
· Assess recruitment and promotion practices related to diversity and inclusion, including role of assessment centers
· Review use-of-force incident reports from June to November 2019, analyzing them by location, any resulting charges, the outcome of each incident, and demographic information (including race, ethnicity, and language spoken) of all persons involved
· Review aggregate data on every recorded interaction from June 2019 to November 2019 between APD and with any member of the public, including type of interaction and its outcome (search, arrest with charges, citation with charges) and an evaluation on whether there are racial and/or ethnic or other disparities in searches, arrests, charges and citations
Item 43: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to develop a planning scope and process for a comprehensive, long-range district plan for the area roughly bounded by U.S. Highway 183 to the west, U.S. Highway 290 to the north, Toll Road 130 to the east, and FM 969 Road to the south to encourage equitable transit-oriented development, economic development, job stability, and high-quality public spaces; and analyze and recommend a financing plan for development of City assets within the district area.
Monitor’s Take: This 12-page resolution from Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison looks to create a long-term vision for the eastern crescent. Looking forward to the discussion today, because there’s a lot in the resolution!
Item 44: The Mayor will recess the City Council meeting to conduct a Board of Directors’ Meeting of the Austin Housing Finance Corporation. Following adjournment of the AHFC Board meeting the City Council will reconvene.
Monitor’s Take: Though there probably isn’t anything super discussion-heavy on this week’s agenda, there are a number of affordable housing projects, including a three-acre purchase at 4011 Convict Hill Road, five acres at 6200 Menchaca Road, a multifamily development at 1934 Rutland Drive, and an ownership development at 5519 Jackie Robinson Street.
Item 73: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance adopting the Street Impact Fee Land Use Assumptions, Street Impact Fee Capacity Improvements Plan, Street Impact Fee Service Area Boundaries, and Street Impact Fees. Related to Item #74
Item 74: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 (Land Development) to include a Street Impact Fee program. Related to Item #73.
Monitor’s Take: While it will probably only be on first reading, the long-in-the-works Street Impact Fee Ordinance is likely to get a vote today. We wrote about the latest version of the plan in October for the unacquainted, and the city also has an overview.
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.
Do you like this story?
There are so many important stories we don't get to write. As a nonprofit journalism source, every contributed dollar helps us provide you more coverage. Do your part by joining our subscribers in supporting our reporters' work.
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.