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TipSheet: City Council, 2.21.19

Thursday, February 21, 2019 by Elizabeth Pagano

Welcome to this week’s TipSheet. Austin City Council is back again for its regular Thursday meeting. This week’s meeting doesn’t have any time-certain items, but we’ve taken a stab at the items that might garner the most discussion. For the rest, the Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

Item 4: Authorize additional funding in the amount of $2,000,000 for the Town Lake Metro Park Alliance Children’s Garden Reissue Construction Manager-at-Risk contract with SpawGlass Contractors, Inc., for a revised contractual Construction Cost Limitation for a total amount not to exceed $6,059,000. Related to Item #10.

Item 10: Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Parks and Recreation Department Capital Budget (Ordinance No. 20180911-001) to increase appropriations by $2,000,000 for the Alliance Children’s Garden project. Related to Item #4.

Monitor’s Take: Though pricey, funding for this park is unlikely to be controversial. But it is kind of neat – though called a “children’s garden,” the backup explains that the plan is to “create an inclusive, multigenerational play venue that is comfortable, inviting, imaginative, engaging and visually striking” on the shores of Lady Bird Lake.

Item 16: Authorize negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement with Austin Independent School District for the provision of startup costs for up to five new Pre-Kindergarten classrooms to expand affordable childcare options for Austin residents, with a seven-month term in an amount not to exceed $80,000.

Item 17: Authorize negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement with Manor Independent School District for the provision of startup costs for four new Pre-Kindergarten classrooms to expand affordable childcare options for Austin/Travis County residents, with a seven-month term, in an amount not to exceed $64,000.

Monitor’s Take: Continuing with the recent theme of expanding care for children, these two items will expand area pre-K classes in Manor and Austin ISDs, creating five in AISD and four new classrooms in MISD.

Item 18: Authorize negotiation and execution of an agreement with Front Steps, Inc. for the operation and management of emergency shelter services at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless for a 12-month period with four 12-month extension options, each in an amount not to exceed $313,922, for a total amount not to exceed $1,750,000.

Monitor’s Take: This is the final agreement, expected to be approved today, for a new city contract with operators of the downtown homeless shelter. It would, somewhat controversially, reduce the number of on-site beds, but it will also guarantee a living wage for all employees at ARCH.

Item 19: Authorize negotiation and execution of a multi-term contract with Colette Holt & Associates, to conduct an availability and disparity study of minority owned and women owned business enterprises and disadvantaged business enterprises, for up to two years in an amount not to exceed $1,000,000.

Monitor’s Take: Just a note here – this is the long-awaited (?) disparity study, and it’s expected to be withdrawn today in order to re-solicit the contract. A memo in the backup explains that the MBE/WBE ordinances sunset in March 2020, and to accommodate the study timeline, an amendment to expand that sunset date will be brought to City Council later this year.

Item 24: Authorize negotiation and execution of a contract with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol LTD, or one of the other qualified offerors to Request for Proposals 8600 GLB3000, to provide consulting services for a master plan for the John Trevino Jr. Metropolitan Park, in an amount not to exceed $430,150.

Monitor’s Take: Another park! This item starts the process of planning 330 acres of parkland bound by FM 969 to the north and the Colorado River to the south that was purchased in 2003.

Item 27: Approve a resolution to create a new bonus program for affordable housing developments by initiating amendments to City Code Title 25.

Monitor’s Take: As we’ve discussed quite a bit recently, this is a measure that comes out of Council Member Greg Casar’s office. Dubbed “Affordability Unlocked,” it would create a bonus program for affordable housing construction. There are more details from Tuesday’s work session here.

Item 48: Adopt a citizen-initiated ordinance, supported by a petition certified sufficient on February 11, 2019, to amend the City Code, regarding the conveyance of city-owned property for sports or entertainment facilities.

Item 49: Approve an ordinance ordering a special municipal election to be held on November 5, 2019, for the purpose of submitting to the voters a proposed citizen-initiated ordinance, certified sufficient on February 11, 2019, regarding the conveyance of city-owned property for sports or entertainment facilities; and providing for the conduct of the special election, including authorizing the City Clerk to enter into joint election agreements with other local political subdivisions as may be necessary for the orderly conduct of the elections.

Monitor’s Take: And, finally, the soccer stadium is back before City Council. This time, Council members will be asked to consider the request of a recently certified petition that seeks voter approval for a proposed stadium at McKalla Place. Council can choose to adopt the petition or put the question up for a vote, and when.

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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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