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TipSheet: City Council, 11.3.16

Thursday, November 3, 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.

29. Authorize execution of a 12-month interlocal agreement with Dallas County Texas acting through the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas, for forensic services in an estimated amount not to exceed $1,600,000 with five 12-month extension options not to exceed $400,000 per extension option, for a total estimated contract amount not to exceed $3,600,000.

Monitor’s take: During budget season, the shuttered DNA lab was one of the most pressing stories. At the time, the police department said it had the funds to outsource testing of kits that had piled up, but there was no concrete plan for where to outsource them. Here is that plan, which we dove into today, in this article.

44. Approve a resolution relating to commercial demolitions and notice.

Monitor’s take: There hasn’t been too much chatter about this item to come out of City Council Member Pio Renteria’s office. A quick read of the resolution, which proposes making it illegal to demolish a building without giving commercial tenants notice, makes it clear that this comes out of the sudden demolition of Jumpolin, which happened last year.

45. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to develop a process for coordinating with other governmental and quasi-governmental entities to strategically leverage real estate opportunities to advance community policy priorities.

Monitor’s take: There are a lot of moving parts in the recently hatched plan to create more affordable housing on publicly owned land. Here’s another one! This resolution asks the city to create a process to get all of the entities (Austin Independent School District, Travis County, Austin Community College, etc.) working together. While the overarching plan is interesting, this is pretty dry stuff. Perhaps the most interesting part is that the resolution directs the city manager to return by February 2017 with a plan, which shows an eagerness to get moving on it.

47. Approve a resolution relating to community meetings and on-site supervision for children.

Monitor’s take: While the provision of childcare is available at some types of community meetings, it’s certainly not yet standard practice. This resolution kicks off the business of getting that to be more of the norm.

52. Approve a resolution related to improving access to municipal services for residents with limited English proficiency.

Monitor’s take: Essentially, this resolution asks city staff to take a hard look at fixing language barriers that currently exist in city government. For background, check out our story about how the city is currently “disorganized” when it comes to bilingual services.

53. Approve a resolution initiating historic zoning for the property located at 1618 Palma Plaza and initiating an amendment to City Code Chapter 25-11 relating to the release of certain demolition permits.

Monitor’s take: Yeah, so, we wrote two stories about this on Wednesday. If we were a betting organization, instead of an unbiased and upright nonprofit, we’d wager that this potential revamp will be the most heated item on the agenda. Not only is the case in question a corker, but the idea of changing the process for releasing demolition permits already has Twitter aflutter (even if no one quite understands the current process).

66. Approve a resolution related to the sterilization of animals impounded at the Austin Animal Shelter, and directing the City Manager to return to Council with a related City Code amendment.

Monitor’s take: This deals with when the city animal shelter can and cannot spay and neuter impounded animals. It’s unclear whether this will be a big deal, or not much of a deal at all. It all depends on who shows up, most likely. While waiting to see who that is, here is our latest coverage on the proposal.

76. Conduct a public hearing for the full purpose annexation of the Wildhorse/Webb Tract annexation area (approximately 104 acres in eastern Travis County at the northeastern corner of the intersection of Decker Lane and Lindell Lane; contiguous to District 1).

Monitor’s take: You know, to be honest, we think that the whole WildHorse PID thing has simmered down. But who knows.

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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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