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TipSheet: City Council, 12.8.16

Thursday, December 8, 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.

2. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Section 3-1-29 (Sterilization) related to the sterilization of animals at the Austin Animal Shelter.

Monitor’s take: Today Council considers amendments to a resolution, passed in November, requiring that dogs and cats be sterilized on their first trip to the animal shelter. Taken directly from our Whispers: “City Council members voted to postpone this item to their Dec. 8 meeting in order to give people time to think over three amendments added during a previous approval. According to the Austin Monitor’s report, those changes ‘allow for exceptions if the animal could be harmed by the surgery because of age or health conditions, if the pet owner objects to the surgery up to three days after the animal has been impounded, or if the animal shelter is at or beyond capacity and the surgery would require that the animal stay overnight.’” We hear that Council offices have gotten a lot of feedback from those opposed to staff’s wish to keep the rules as is. So this could be a discussion.

3. Authorize additional funding for the New Central Library Project Construction Manager at Risk Contract with HENSEL PHELPS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY in the amount of $5,550,000, for a revised contractual Construction Cost Limitation not to exceed amount of $126,605,934, for the construction of the New Central Library and Related Improvements including 2nd Street Bridge, utilities, roadway improvements, Shoal Creek Greenbelt improvements, and the Seaholm Substation art wall. (District 9)

Monitor’s take: Since this matter was put off at last week’s meeting, here’s what we wrote in last week’s TipSheet (as a reminder): “We covered the reasons behind this $5.5 million increase in the budget for the new Central Library. Nonetheless, we are still expecting an interesting conversation to come out of this item, and we’ll be listening for any new details that might come up about increased costs and delays, as well as planning our visit to the new library when it finally opens.”

6. Approve a resolution supporting a proposal by Austin Habitat for Humanity, Inc. for the development of affordable/workforce housing on approximately 12 acres of surplus vacant land, currently owned by the Austin Independent School District (AISD), directly adjacent to the AISD Service Center located at 5101 East 51st Street. (District 1).

7. Approve a resolution supporting a proposal by Foundation Communities, Inc. for the development of affordable housing on surplus property owned by the Austin Independent School District and currently known as the Allan Center, located at 4900 Gonzalez Street. (District 3).

8. Authorize submission, negotiation and execution of all documents and instruments necessary or desirable for the acquisition of real property, offered through an invitation for bid by AUSTIN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, located at (1) the northwest corner of Doris Drive and Hathaway Drive [District 7], (2) 3908 Avenue B [District 9], (3) the northeast corner of Jackie Robinson Street and Tannehill Lane [District 1], (4) the southeast portion of 411 East Alpine Road [District 3], (5) the southwest corner of US Highway 183 and Loyola Lane [District 1], (6) 4806 Trail West Drive [District 8], (7) 110 East 9th Street [District 9], (8) 1111 West 6th Street [District 9], (9) the east portion of East 51st Street [District 1], and (10) 4900 Gonzales Street [District 3] for an amount not to exceed $2,880,000 and other consideration, including creation of permanent affordable housing, enhanced greenspace, protecting natural drainage features and protection of a spring.

Monitor’s take: These three items should be interesting. They certainly represent quick work on an agreement between AISD, Travis County and the city to explore the idea of using publicly owned lands to create more affordable housing. As a point of information, the $2.8 million in item No. 8 would be a bid on all 10 AISD properties.

9. Authorize negotiation and execution of a contract with RALPH ANDERSEN & ASSOCIATES, or one of the other qualified offerors to Request for Qualification Statements TLF0305, to provide recruiting services for the selection of a new City Manager, in an amount not to exceed $65,000.

Monitor’s take: As illustrated by Tuesday’s work session and documented by our own Jo Clifton, the process for finding a new city manager is facing some scrutiny. We fully expect more discussion today.

11. Approve an ordinance amending Exhibit A to the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 City of Austin Fee Schedule Ordinance No. 20160914-003 to set administrative fees and rental fees for considering, approving, monitoring, and licensing the use of right of way and transportation infrastructure by wireless service providers for small cell networks.

Monitor’s take: Believe it or not, we’ve been looking forward to this one. Not only does the introduction of “infrastructure by wireless service providers for small cell networks” promise to bring out an anti-flouride-like opposing force, but there is also the weirdness of why the infrastructure is proposed under the aegis of the Austin Transportation Department. Basically, all of the big cell service providers want smaller networks to help boost coverage. But how much they should pay for the privilege is the real question. For the detail-oriented, here is a memo on the revamped fee structures.

16. Approve adoption of the Lamar Beach Park Master Plan as developed in conjunction with Design Workshop, Inc., which includes 65.4 acres of existing parkland along the north shore of Lady Bird Lake between Lamar Boulevard and MoPac. (District 9).

Monitor’s take: As we reported today, this plan (which is expensive but has been fairly conflict-free, for the most part) stirred up a bit of trouble at the Parks and Recreation Board Tuesday night. Whether that drama will carry over to Council is anyone’s guess.

22. C14-2016-0052 – Removal of Historic (H) overlay and removal of Conditional Overlay (CO) – District 9 – Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 507 West 23rd Street (Shoal Creek Watershed) from general office-conditional overlay-historic landmark-neighborhood plan (GO-CO-H-NP) combining district zoning to general office-neighborhood plan (GO-NP) combining district zoning. First Reading approved on November 10, 2016.

Monitor’s take: Though we don’t expect much drama at this point, here’s a friendly reminder of dramatic glory days long gone.

57. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance establishing contract electric rates for certain State of Texas facilities.

Monitor’s take: Just like other large-scale customers, the state negotiates a contract with Austin Energy for its rates. Although we don’t know about any explicit controversy this time around, this is the state dealing with Austin, so it’s not out of the question. We at the Monitor still look back fondly on that time the state threatened to take itself off our grid. The drama!

58. Briefing on the Housing Lending Advisory Group.

Monitor’s take: In October, Council Member Delia Garza came forward with a resolution to create a Housing Lending Advisory Group intended to help the middle class buy homes. This item, we presume, is the presentation on recommendations and preliminary next steps for the group.

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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 2015, 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 as of 2015, 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

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