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TipSheet: City Council, 4.6.17

Thursday, April 6, 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.

5. Authorize negotiation and execution of an amendment to the professional services agreement with OPTICOS DESIGN, INC., for additional architectural, urban design, planning, and engineering services for CodeNEXT, the comprehensive Land Development Code revision to complete Phase IV of the project in an amount of $1,627,200 for a total contract amount not to exceed $6,191,520.60.

Monitor’s Take: CodeNEXT, CodeNEXT, have you heard about CodeNEXT? With the first draft of the code out, and maps on the way, this $1.6 million will go toward “Draft maps, Adoption draft, and Phase 4,” bringing the total to just over $6 million. The backup indicates that Phase 5 of the plan will require an additional $1 million or so, and funding after that has yet to be determined. We wouldn’t be surprised if there was some discussion on this, in other words.

21. Authorize negotiation and execution of a 60-month contract through the LOCAL GOVERNMENT PURCHASING COOPERATIVE, administered by TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL BOARDS (BuyBoard) with TASER INTERNATIONAL, to provide body worn cameras including software, cloud storage, licenses, and equipment maintenance and support, for a total contract amount not to exceed $4,000,000.

Monitor’s Take: Delays due to lawsuits (and just normal city slowness) have pushed this contract for body cameras from agenda to agenda, though it looks ready to go at last. And, in a bit of timing weirdness, Taser just announced they would be giving body cameras to every police officer in the U.S. for one year? There is little doubt that this will be a point of discussion today, free cameras or no.

22. Approve an ordinance waiving Chapter 2-7, Article 6 (Anti-lobbying and Procurement) of the City Code regarding solicitations for organics processing services and refuse, recycling, organics, and special waste collections for City facilities.

23. Approve an ordinance waiving Chapter 2-7, Article 6 (Anti-lobbying and Procurement) of the City Code for solicitations for the collection, disposal and processing of municipal solid waste, recyclables, compostables, special waste collections for City facilities, and other solid waste matters related to these items.

Monitor’s Take: At its last meeting, Council pulled an inscrutable bit of procedural weirdness in an attempt to postpone and change an ordinance that would allow it to discuss solid waste contracts with those hoping to secure the contracts. And so, now we have two items. The original did not include future solicitations, essentially, which will be a factor once the recently established working group to address these issues starts meeting.

29. Approve a resolution receiving the report and recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism & Systemic Inequities and directing the City Manager to review the report and recommendations and to return actionable items back to council for approval.

Monitor’s Take: This was taken up during Tuesday’s work session in the form of a briefing, and though Council members didn’t really get into the details at that time, we sure did via our partners at KUT. Here’s our story from Wednesday, which offers a rundown of the report (as well as the report itself, embedded at the bottom).

30. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to include labor peace agreement requirements in the terminal concessions solicitation and contracts at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and identify other City solicitations and contracts which may include labor peace agreement requirements.

Monitor’s Take: With the expansion of the airport comes the expansion of the airport’s labor force. This resolution is intended to make sure that goes as smoothly as possible – at least in terms of the operation of the airport, and in terms of making sure that airport service isn’t disrupted during the negotiations and contract solicitations.

35. Staff presentation regarding a proposal to create an economic development program for Merck Sharp & Dohme Corporation. (Public comment is permitted on this staff presentation).

Monitor’s Take: As we teased on Tuesday, the incentives package on the table is worth up to $856,000 and will boost an information technology hub in the downtown “innovation zone” attached to the medical school that could create around 600 jobs by 2023.

49. Conduct a public hearing to amend the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan by adopting the Austin Strategic Housing Plan.

Monitor’s Take: We’ve already given this topic a fair bit of ink. Essentially, this plan lays out the city’s housing plans for the future, particularly when it comes to affordable housing. Though there doesn’t seem to be much disagreement about the plan per se (it’s sailed through the boards and commissions process), there might be some hemming and hawing over the many details in the plan. We shall see!

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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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