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TipSheet: City Council, 5.23.19

Thursday, May 23, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Welcome to this week’s TipSheet. Austin City Council is back again for its regular Thursday meeting, and we’ve taken a stab at the items that might garner the most discussion. As always, the Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

Item 11: Approve a resolution finding that the design-build method for buildings, as authorized by Subchapter G, Chapter 2269 of the Texas Government Code, is the project delivery method that provides the best value to the City for the project to build a new neighborhood public health center on the adjoining Cooper Tract adjacent to the Dove Springs Metro Park. (Note: MBE/WBE goals will be established prior to issuance of this solicitation.)

Monitor’s Take: Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza pulled this item at Tuesday’s work session to talk about ways to speed up the roughly four-year project timeline. Garza said the center has been needed for the past 10 years but is losing its importance as every year passes and Dove Springs neighborhood families are replaced by more affluent residents. There may be some further discussion on this, but Council is likely to comply with the Capital Contracting Office request to prevent further prolonging the project.

Item 16: Authorize negotiation and execution of Amendment No. 2 to the interlocal agreement with Austin Independent School District for the provision of resources connecting parents and families to family-centered and other social services, to increase funding in an amount not to exceed $290,000 for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2019 and each of the three remaining 12-month extension options, for a total agreement amount not to exceed $6,300,000.

Monitor’s Take: They say education begins at home, and the city seems to agree. This item increases funding the city gives to AISD for its Parent Support Specialists program this year with possible extensions in subsequent years depending on available funding. The program aims to provide education and skill-building services to parents and families of AISD students with the ultimate goal of improving student performance and life outcomes.

Item 24: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 13 (Transportation Services) to add a new Chapter 13-8 related to franchise requirements for Shared Bicycle Services and Shared Micro-Mobility Services.

Item 25: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 14-9, (Traffic or Sidewalk Obstructions) to broaden services regulated in the City’s right-of-way, to include bicycles and micro-mobility devices, and repealing certain City Code sections.

Monitor’s Take: Austin Transportation has been appearing at various city boards and commissions over previous months while refining its proposed dockless mobility regulations. The first of these items, a request to place dockless operators under a franchise model, has been hotly debated in recent weeks due to the notorious failures of the city’s taxicab franchise model. If the city isn’t careful, critics say, scooters may end up as comfortable and outdated as taxicabs were shown to be when rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft hit the streets and caused an uproar among cab drivers. The proposal also includes changes to the city code that will give clarity to proper scooter use on city streets and sidewalks while giving the city codified tools to enforce those rules with fines.

Item 26: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Section 12-4-64 (D) (Speed Limits) to delete from the table of speed limits Ralph Ablanedo Drive from South 1st Street to South Congress Avenue, which will revert the segment to a 30 mph speed limit, and to reduce the maximum speed limit to 20 mph in a school zone on Ralph Ablanedo Drive at Peaceful Hill Lane.

Monitor’s Take: Park Ridge and Parkridge Gardens neighborhood residents will be celebrating their hard work Tuesday when Council will likely approve a speed-limit reduction from 40 mph to 30 mph on Ralph Ablanedo Drive in South Austin. Additionally, the speed limit along a stretch of that road on both sides of Peaceful Hill Lane – a road leading to Williams Elementary School – will be reduced to 20 mph during active school zone times.

Item 29: Approve resolution related to creating the Palm District Master Plan and Waller Creek District Master Plan, designating the Fifth Street Mexican American Heritage Corridor, negotiating options for public ownership and operation of the Palm School and surrounding site, providing funds for the Rainey Street District Fund, expanding the Austin Convention Center, and creating a Tourism Public Improvement District.

Monitor’s Take: Council will be discussing further amendments to the Palm District Master Plan, meant to coordinate planning and investments in east downtown, specifically with an eye to the future of the convention center. For now, Travis County still has ownership over a major piece of that plan, the former Palm School property. Council Member Kathie Tovo has been pushing for the property to be incorporated as a functional piece of the various downtown district plans now in the works. Travis County has made it clear that the city could acquire the property, for the right price.

Item 55: Ratify an emergency professional services agreement with HDR Engineering, Inc., to provide engineering consulting services for the Shoal Creek Emergency Landslide Repair near the 2500 Block of North Lamar Boulevard project in an amount not to exceed $92,247.82. Related to items #56, #57, and #60. (Note: Emergency contracts are exempt from the City Code Chapter 2-9B Minority Owned and Women Owned Business Enterprise Procurement Program; therefore, no subcontracting goals were established).

Item 56: Ratify a professional services agreement with Freese & Nichols, Inc. to provide engineering consulting services for the Shoal Creek Storm Drain emergency contract in an amount not to exceed $268,357.00. Related to items #55, #57, and #60. (Note: Emergency contracts are exempt from the City Code Chapter 2-9B Minority Owned and Women Owned Business Enterprise Procurement Program; therefore, no subcontracting goals were established).

Item 57: Ratify a professional services agreement with Geostabilization International, LLC to provide engineering services for the Shoal Creek Emergency Landslide Repair in an amount not to exceed $494,169.13. Related to items #55, #56, and #60. (Note: Emergency contracts are exempt from the City Code Chapter 2-9B Minority Owned and Women Owned Business Enterprise Procurement Program; therefore, no subcontracting goals were established).

Item 60: Ratify an emergency cost reimbursement agreement with Michael MacDougall and Bremond MacDougall for preliminary design alternatives analysis for the Shoal Creek Emergency Landslide Repair near the 2500 Block of North Lamar Boulevard for a total contract amount of $185,000. Related to items #55, #56, and #57.

Monitor’s Take: Recent rainstorms have worsened conditions at a collapsed hillside on Shoal Creek near 24th Street and North Lamar Boulevard. This series of contracts is meant to repair the damage and get the section of the trail stabilized and re-opened to the public.

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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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