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TipSheet: City Council, 2.20.20

Thursday, February 20, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

This week, Council convenes again for its regular Thursday meeting and from this vantage point, it looks as though we may be in for another short (or at least reasonable) evening. We’ve recapped the items that hold particular interest below. As always, the entire agenda may be found online.

Item 9: Authorize negotiation and execution of a professional services agreement with Lord Aeck and Sargent, Inc., (staff recommendation) or one of the other qualified responders for Request for Qualifications Solicitation No. CLMP282, to provide architectural design services for the Faulk Library/History Center and Archival Repository Expansion project, in amount not to exceed $1,600,000.

Monitor’s Take: As we reported yesterday, plans to expand the Austin History Center into the site of the old central library could be complicated. The main issue is whether to locate the city’s community court at Faulk, and that will certainly be a topic of discussion today, as it was Tuesday.

Item 13: Authorize negotiation and execution of an agreement with Front Steps, Inc. to provide permanent supportive housing services, for an initial seven month term ending September 30, 2020, in an amount not to exceed $250,000, with four 12-month renewal options not to exceed $500,000 per option, for a total contract amount not to exceed $2,250,000.

Monitor’s Take: Unlike many of the homelessness issues that have popped up at City Hall over the past year, this contract is unlikely to be controversial. It comes out of a September ordinance that was part of the budget process and will lead to “27 scattered site units of permanent supportive housing, financial assistance to obtain housing, and case management for persons experiencing chronic homelessness referred by DACC. Front Step’s Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program offers a comprehensive array of supportive services that promote long-term housing stability, independence, recovery, and improved health with a client to case manager ratio of 10:1,” according to the backup.

Item 15: Approve a resolution updating the City of Austin’s Public Improvement District Policy.

Monitor’s Take: So, public improvement districts, or PIDs, are tools that allow the city to fund public improvements and services, and the city is now looking to revamp its current policy. Here’s a nice presentation that explains it. PIDs are kind of involved, but the city wants to update its policy because it has been a while and the current policy doesn’t specifically reference maintenance and operation PIDs, which allow property owners in a specific area to enhance services and make improvements in a way that benefits them, through things like stabilizing commercial businesses and promoting growth. Right now the city has three such PIDs, in East Sixth Street, South Congress and downtown. This Q&A shows the revenue, and projected revenue, for those three PIDs.

Item 22: Authorize negotiation and execution of an agreement with the Austin-Travis County Collaborative for the provision and coordination of Census 2020 outreach and education services in an amount not to exceed $200,000.

Item 23: Authorize negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement with Travis County to coordinate Census 2020 outreach and education services by hiring a program manager.

Monitor’s Take: The U.S. census is coming. These two items are particularly interesting, and indicate an ongoing commitment to count as many people as possible. That makes sense, because the more people that are counted, the more federal money our area will receive. Plus, everyone loves accurate data.

Item 37: Authorize negotiation and execution of an emergency multi-term contract with Waste Management of Texas Inc., to provide collection, transportation, processing, and disposal of refuse, recycling, brush, and compostable materials generated by City facilities, for up to one year in an amount not to exceed $1,068,000.

Monitor’s Take: As we reported today, there is yet another contentious waste-management contract before Council. This time, staffers are asking for a bridge contract while the city runs a request for proposals (RFP). However, mixed recommendations from commissions and the usual behind-the-scenes politicking has caught the attention of more than one Council member, and this will likely be a topic of discussion this afternoon.

Item 45: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to create an urban trails stakeholder group to examine and make recommendations on how to improve the administrative processes and requirements associated with the design and permitting of urban trails.

Monitor’s Take: Looks like Council Member Paige Ellis is making a push for more urban trails. This resolution, which comes out of his office, aims to make the process for getting trails in place more streamlined and effective, and creates a working group to figure out how to do just that.

Item 46: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to explore options to procure a temporary vendor through an expedited process to oversee the repairs and operations of the Zilker Park train ride.

Monitor’s Take: Despite frantic reports to the contrary, the city is NOT getting rid of the Zilker Zephyr, but there is some work that needs to be done to get it up and running. To that end, this resolution from Council Member Paige Ellis looks for short-term solutions like repairs to the track and finding a partner in Austin Parks Foundation as a temporary operator. That would happen as the city looks for a longer-term operator.

Item 62: C14-2019-0152-Castle East-Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1109 West 11th Street (Shoal Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from multifamily residence high density-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (MF-5-CO-NP) combining district zoning to multifamily residence highest density-neighborhood plan (MF-6-NP) combining district zoning.

Item 63: C14-2019-0151-The Colorfield – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1006 Baylor Street (Shoal Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from multifamily residence high density-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (MF-5-CO-NP) combining district zoning to multifamily residence highest density-neighborhood plan (MF-6-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: As we reported last month, the recommendation for this rezoning of Graffiti Park was mixed. The Planning Commission liked half of the proposal for this highly visible Castle Hill location, but wasn’t crazy about the other half. We expect this to be an interesting discussion as Council looks to approve zoning for an unusual, once-beloved property that many people feel emotionally invested in.

Item 72: C14-2019-0137 – Delwau Campgrounds- Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 7715 Delwau Lane (Colorado River Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from single family residence standard lot (SF-2) district zoning to general commercial services-mixed use-conditional overlay (CS-MU-CO) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: After more than a year and a half, this case is back. Though the plan has been modified to eliminate the sale of hard alcohol, the proposed camp would still sell beer and wine, and that remains the crux of neighbors’ complaints.

Item 78: Authorize negotiation and execution of the Fourth Amendment to the Brackenridge Development Agreement regarding property located near the intersection of Lake Austin Boulevard and Exposition Boulevard with the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System to extend the term of the Agreement beyond the current May 25, 2020 termination date on a month to month basis.

Item 79: Authorize negotiation and execution of the Fifth Amendment to the Lease Agreement for the Lions Municipal Golf Course located near the intersection of Lake Austin Boulevard and Exposition Boulevard with the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System to extend the term of the Lease beyond the current May 25, 2020 termination date on a month to month basis.

Monitor’s Take: As widely reported, the city’s lease of Muny with UT Austin expires in May. As usual, there is a very vocal and powerful contingent looking to preserve the golf course and the lease that the city has held since 1936. Right now, Council must decide whether to move forward with a request for a month-to-month lease on the golf course and a whole slew of negotiations about other UT properties around town.

This TipSheet has been corrected. It originally mistakenly attributed the Urban Trails Resolution to CM Renteria, who is a cosponsor, the the sponsor. 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.

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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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