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TipSheet: City Council, 4.20.17

Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting again today, and 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.

19. Authorize award and execution of a 12-month contract with TEXAS HIGHWAY PRODUCTS, LTD., to provide video imaging vehicle detection systems (intersection cameras), in an estimated amount of $1,905,000, with two 12-month extension options in an estimated amount of $1,905,000 per extension option, for a total contract amount not to exceed $5,715,000.

Monitor’s Take: According to the agenda backup, this $1.9 million will go towards the purchase and installation of cameras for new traffic signals and to replace failing ones. The cameras would be an upgrade, and do things like count traffic. If the contract is not approved, the Transportation Department will just go about installing the current traffic cameras.

20. Authorize negotiation and execution of 27 contracts, for six-month terms, with ALAMO CITY CHEVROLET; AMERICAN MATERIAL HANDLING, INC; AUSTIN TRUCK AND EQUIPMENT, INC. LTD. DBA FREIGHTLINER OF AUSTIN; CALDWELL COUNTRY CHEVROLET; CENTERLINE SUPPLY, LTD; CENTRAL TEXAS EQUIPMENT; CHASTANG ENTERPRISES, INC; CLARK EQUIPMENT COMPANY DBA BOBCAT COMPANY; COOPER EQUIPMENT CO., INC; CREATIVE BUS SALES, INC; DEERE & CO; DOGGETT FREIGHTLINER OF SOUTH TEXAS, LLC; EPOKE NORTH AMERICA, INC; GUNN NISSAN, HARBEN, INC; MAGNUM CUSTOM TRAILER MFG CO., INC; NILFISK-ADVANCE, INC; NUECES FARM CENTER DBA NUECES POWER EQUIPMENT; POLARIS SALES, INC; PROFESSIONAL TURF PRODUCTS, LP; RDO EQUIPMENT CO; RUSH BUS CENTERS OF TEXAS, DBA RUSH BUS CENTERS; SANTEX TRUCK CENTER, LTD; SILSBEE FORD, INC; TEXAN WASTE EQUIPMENT, INC. DBA HEIL OF TEXAS; VERMEER EQUIPMENT OF TEXAS, INC; and ZEITH MOTORS through the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the National Joint Powers Alliance, the Texas Multiple Award Schedule, and the Local Government Purchasing Cooperative, administered by Texas Association of School Boards (BuyBoard) cooperative purchasing programs, to provide vehicles and equipment, for total contract amounts not to exceed $16,240,000, divided among the contractors.

Monitor’s Take: These 27 contracts will buy trucks and cars for the city, along with the associated environmental upgrade. It’s not like that purchase is particularly controversial, but that is a lot of contracts and $16.2 million is a lot of money, so there might be some focus on this one.

26. Approve an ordinance authorizing negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement with the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, for 24 months with an option to renew annually for three additional years, to formalize the joint funding mechanism and program plan for the Smart Trips Program; amending the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Austin Transportation Department Operating Budget Special Revenue Fund (Ordinance No. 20160914-001) to accept up to $750,000 in grant funds from the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority; and amending the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Austin Transportation Department Capital Budget (Ordinance No. 20160914-002) to transfer in and appropriate up to $750,000 from the Austin Transportation Department Operating Budget Special Revenue Fund for the Smart Trips Program.

Monitor’s Take: So, THIS smart program is basically an education campaign to make bus riding less intimidating and encourage Austinites to get out of their cars. It even has its own webpage, if you’re dying to know more about it.

28. Approve a resolution initiating amendments to the School District Land Development Standards Agreement between the City of Austin and the Austin Independent School District, relating to land use and watershed regulations applicable to Bowie High School and including property in the Barton Springs Zone.

Monitor’s Take: Basically, Bowie High School is overcrowded, but its location in the Barton Springs Zone is preventing it from expanding as much as the school district needs. To remedy that, this resolution, sponsored by Council Member Ellen Troxclair, could allow the district to transfer development rights from another parcel somewhere else, increase environmental mitigation on the school site or allow amendments to the Save Our Springs Ordinance for the school.

30. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to initiate revisions to the Allandale neighborhood and Rosedale neighborhood planning area boundaries.

Monitor’s Take: Though the Monitor has been assured that this is just a clean-up item that certainly will not be a big deal, a post by Council Member Jimmy Flannigan has given us hope that this might not be the case after all. At issue here is the fact that Rosedale is next up on the city’s neighborhood planning process. Council Member Leslie Pool, who lives in the neighborhood, has explained that her resolution “would just fix a discrepancy in the boundaries in order to keep Allandale whole.” However, in his post on the City Council Message Board, Flannigan said that he thinks “planning area boundaries should follow logical planning principles, not just neighborhood association lines. I think it makes much more sense to plan the proposed area with Rosedale and keeping Hancock as the border between areas rather than add that area to Allendale when there is no connectivity between it and the rest of the area.” Who will prevail? Stay tuned to find out!

31. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to explore the model offered by Starship Technologies, to analyze what code changes, if any that would be required to test and deploy such a pilot in this city, and to make a recommendation to Council by June 30, 2017.

Monitor’s Take: More robots! These “99 percent autonomous” robots are from the folks that brought you Skype, and they deliver packages. This resolution tests the waters for launching a pilot program.

33. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to initiate the process of renaming the “Slaughter Creek Management Unit” to the “Dr. Mary Gay Maxwell Management Unit.”

Monitor’s Take: This resolution would honor Mary Gay Maxwell for her years on the Environmental Board and conservation work by naming 646 acres in Southwest Austin after her.

48. Public Safety Labor Negotiations Update (Public comment is permitted on this staff presentation).

Monitor’s Take: Public safety labor negotiations are normal, and usually involve a bit of back and forth. What makes this one noteworthy, however, is that three of the key figures – the city manager, the police chief and the city’s police monitor – are all currently being filled on an interim basis.

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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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