TipSheet: City Council, 6.28.18
Welcome to this week’s TipSheet. And welcome to the last regular meeting of City Council before the July break. This one, as is traditional, promises to be a doozy. As a heads-up, Council has opted to discuss both the soccer stadium and the bond election at the end of the meeting, so we all have those late-night discussions to look forward to. In a brighter spot of insider news, please note that the agenda may appear to have 130 items on it. But! That is due to a numbering error, which skipped two numbers. There are actually only 128 items. Anyway, here are the items we have our eye on. 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.
Item 23: Approve a resolution repealing resolutions related to economic development programs and adopting economic development Guiding Principles and a Chapter 380 Policy.
Item 24: Approve an ordinance establishing a Business Expansion Program pursuant to Texas Local Government Code Chapter 380.
Item 25: Approve an ordinance repealing Part 2 of Ordinance No. 20090312-005 to the extent necessary to authorize the City Manager to develop the Locational Enhancement Program for Economic Development under Chapter 380 of the Texas Local Government Code and to return to council with this program for Council review and possible approval.
Monitor’s Take: Austin is in the midst of reconsidering the aims of its economic development incentives in order to focus on boosts to local, middle-class folks. These three items are part of that revamp, but they are likely to be postponed today. Though there is a chance that Item 24 will move forward, groups like Austin Interfaith have asked for a pause on all three items until the replacement for what is being repealed has been established.
Item 27: Approve a resolution relating to the City Manager’s recommended bond package for a November 2018 General Obligation Bond election.
Monitor’s Take: Theoretically, this is Council’s last chance to put together what will ultimately be included in November’s bond election, which is expected to include money for facilities, infrastructure, pools and affordable housing. Council is likely to work from Council Member Ann Kitchen’s proposal, which lists $250 million for affordable housing, $38 million for public safety, $162 million for transportation infrastructure, $184 million for open space and flood infrastructure, and $291 million for parks and recreation facilities.
Item 31: Approve a resolution authorizing negotiation and execution of an amendment to the interlocal agreement for Regional Mobility and Transportation Projects with Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) that authorizes the program to fund certain mobility and transportation projects using the City’s pro rata share of 25% of Capital Metro’s one cent sales tax imposed by Capital Metro on sales within Capital Metro’s service area in a certain fiscal year (the ‘Quarter Cent program’).
Monitor’s Take: Council is considering allowing Capital Metro to keep $6 million in quarter-cent funds in order to further study Project Connect. As we reported yesterday, Council members Ora Houston and Ellen Troxclair have signaled their discontent with the plan.
Item 32: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Section 9-4-13 relating to prohibited solicitations.
Monitor’s Take: This ordinance, which was endorsed by the Public Safety Commission, reworks the city’s panhandling laws somewhat. According to the staff report: “The proposed ordinance is intended to mitigate legal risk to the City, eliminate the prohibitions against non-aggressive solicitation, and also leave the prohibition against aggressive solicitation in place in areas where people face greater risks from the behaviors associated with aggressive solicitation. The proposed changes do not affect the ability of officers to enforce other laws that also might prohibit behaviors commonly associated with aggressive solicitation, including assault and disorderly conduct.”
Item 54: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 13-2 (Ground Transportation Passenger Services) related to regulation of taxicabs and limousines, and repealing certain requirements.
Item 55: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 13-2 (Ground Transportation Passenger Services) related to regulation of taxicabs and limousines, and repealing certain requirements.
Monitor’s Take: Basically, the city is (now) looking to give taxis a fighting chance against transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. Here’s our report from yesterday.
Item 60: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to solicit plans for the development of 10414 McKalla Place.
Item 64: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to analyze the proposal from Precourt Sports Ventures and to begin negotiations for a Major League Soccer stadium to be located at 10414 McKalla Place.
Item 130: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to analyze the proposal from Precourt Sports Ventures, begin negotiations for a Major League Soccer stadium to be located at 10414 McKalla Place, and to solicit plans for the development of affordable housing on another City-owned tract.
Monitor’s Take: Will Austin get an MLS franchise? Will they play on the city land at McKalla Place that is suddenly so popular? With a looming deadline for an answer, expect some of those questions to be answered, most likely, late tonight.
Item 63: Approve a resolution relating to notification and relocation assistance for tenants who reside or resided at a multi-family or mobile home property that is the subject of an application that will result in displacement.
Monitor’s Take: This resolution is essentially a follow-up to the tenant relocation ordinance that Council has already approved. Why? As the resolution itself notes, it’s to address situations like those “where developers have circumvented the spirit and intent of the City’s Notification and Relocation Assistance Ordinance.” In other words, it closes a few loopholes.
Item 66: Approve a resolution establishing an efficient, centralized Public Information Request staffing model and the associated budget item for Council consideration for Fiscal Year 2018-2019.
Monitor’s Take: Apparently, the work of fulfilling public information requests is quite a weight on Council office staff (sorry!). This resolution, from Tovo’s office, looks to centralize and streamline the process to make it more efficient.
Item 70: Approve a resolution regarding a potential contract with the Austin Rowing Club for the management and operation of the boathouse on Lady Bird Lake.
Monitor’s Take: This resolution would extend the current rowing club contract, instead of opening it up to a public bidding process. Why? Read on.
Item 71: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to strengthen the City’s integrated pest management program and implementing a policy that restricts the use of glyphosate and bans the use of chlorphyrifos and neonicotinoid based pesticides on City property.
Monitor’s Take: This resolution, which comes from Council Member Alison Alter’s office, would change the city’s pest management plan to avoid chemicals that have been linked to bee deaths.
Item 72: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to take actions related to improving transportation options and addressing parking challenges in and around Zilker Park.
Monitor’s Take: A once-simple plan to (quietly?) add more parking in Zilker Park has gotten quite loud, as complaints about the process have come to the fore. Here’s the latest.
Item 81: Approve a resolution authorizing the filing of eminent domain proceedings for the fee simple title acquisition of approximately 0.852 acre (37,104 SF) out of the Santiago Del Valle Survey, Abstract No. 24, Travis County, Texas; and being a portion of that called 1.82 acre tract conveyed by deed recorded in Volume 1297, Page 401, Deed Records, Travis County, Texas in the amount of $362,000 for the public use the restoration, programming, and maintenance of 500 Montopolis Drive as a historic museum. The owner of the needed property is KEEP Investment Group, LLC. The property is located entirely in District 3, at 500 Montopolis Drive, Austin, Texas 78741.
Monitor’s Take: Oh, remember the Montopolis Negro School? It’s back. Apparently, after approving a deal that would preserve the school, using city Hotel Occupancy Tax funds, parties could not agree on a sale price. So the Law Department is requesting authorization to file an action in eminent domain – condemning the building to preserve it.
Item 124: Approve a resolution related to the opposition of federal anti-family and child immigration policies and the creation of an Office of Immigrant Affairs.
Monitor’s Take: According to a press release about this resolution, it “demonstrates the Council’s strong opposition to federal anti-family and anti-child immigration policies and directs the City Manager to explore the creation of an Office of Immigrant Affairs.”
Item 125: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to convene a group of design and development professionals and technical experts to obtain review, modeling, and testing of regulations proposed in CodeNEXT.
Monitor’s Take: We hear this may be withdrawn. But, if it isn’t, this directive would model out the proposed new Land Development Code (and somehow get the results of that back to Council by the end of August!).
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.
Do you like this story?
There are so many important stories we don't get to write. As a nonprofit journalism source, every contributed dollar helps us provide you more coverage. Do your part by joining our subscribers in supporting our reporters' work.
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.