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TipSheet: City Council, 8.3.17

Thursday, August 3, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting again today, after taking most of July off. 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.

2. Authorize negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement with the Capital Metro Transportation Authority for an amount not to exceed $30,000 for costs related to the design and construction of an oversized water main and appurtenances associated with the Capital Metro “Downtown Station” located at 401 East 4th Street. (District 9)

Monitor’s Take: In this week’s questions from City Council, there appeared to be a little frustration showing through that this item was not included with the previous agreement to build a new downtown station for $3 million. That was explained as a bid for organized accounting, and a wish to keep Austin Water Utility’s costs separate. We will note that this additional agreement does not resolve the question that dominated that last talk about the station – will it have a public restroom? – though, apparently, the water main could accommodate a facility should the Question of Our Time ever resolve.

4. Authorize negotiation and execution of an amendment to the professional services agreement with URS CORPORATION, for additional professional engineering services for the Barton Springs Road Bridge over Barton Creek project in the amount of $692,387 for a total contract amount not to exceed $1,049,387. (District 5)

Monitor’s Take: A 2014 attempt to replace the Barton Spring Road Bridge didn’t go well at all. But now, after deciding to move forward with fixes in 2015, it looks like a “low-profile” fix of the existing bridge won’t work. So, this contract will evaluate whether the existing bridge can stand a more extensive renovation or whether a full replacement is necessary.

14. Authorize negotiation and execution of an amendment to the legal services agreement with Renea Hicks to provide legal services related to Donald Zimmerman v. City of Austin, Cause No. 1:15-cv-00628, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in the amount of $75,000, for a total contract amount not to exceed $255,000.00.

Monitor’s Take: Though former Council Member Don Zimmerman is no longer on the dais, he continues to cost the city money. These legal fees are related to his campaign finance suit.

16. Approve a resolution declaring the City of Austin’s official intent to reimburse itself from November 2013 Proposition 1 General Obligation Bonds to be used for expenditures in the amount of $5,500,000 related to affordable housing. Related to Items #18 and #19.

17. Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department Capital Budget (Resolution 20160914-002) to appropriate $5,500,000 in General Obligation Bond funds for expenditures related to affordable housing. Related to Items #17 and #19.

18. Authorize the negotiation and execution of an amendment to the 2016-2017 service agreement between the Austin Housing Finance Corporation and the City of Austin in the amount of $5,500,000 for a total amount not to exceed $29,054,297. Related to Items #17 and #18.

19. Approve a resolution adopting the City’s Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Action Plan related to the allocation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant funds and the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Community Development Program; authorizing the City Manager to submit grant applications and certifications related to the HUD grant funds; and authorizing the City Manager to execute documents necessary to carry out the above purposes.

Monitor’s Take: Here’s a nice little wrap-up of what these items are all about.

23. Authorize negotiation and execution of an encroachment agreement with CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF TEXAS for the aerial encroachment of right-of-way by a 2nd floor and roof structure and a surface encroachment of right-of-way of existing fire escape stairs at the intersection of West 22nd Street and Guadalupe Street, located at 2200 Guadalupe Street. (District 9)

Monitor’s Take: Clear … your … thetans? The universe is expanding, and so is the Church of Scientology. To be totally honest, it looks like they are building an awning or something, but we had some time on our hands, so why not point this out?

50. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 14-4, relating to the regulation and permitting of sidewalk cafes.

Monitor’s Take: Basically, this would make Austin’s Transportation Department the sidewalk cafe authority, not the Public Works Department. Also, it would allow tenants who occupy an entire property to apply for sidewalk cafe permits without getting permission from the building’s owner.

56. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to initiate the process of renaming “Water Treatment Plant 4″ to the “Berl L. Handcox, Sr. Water Treatment Plant.”

Monitor’s Take: Council Member Berl L. Handcox Sr. was the first African-American Council member elected under the Manager-Council form of government, serving from 1971 through 1975. He fought to make sure water and wastewater infrastructure was clean and served all of Austin’s citizens. Now Council Member Jimmy Flannigan is leading the charge to name our most expensive water treatment plant after him.

57. Approve a resolution relating to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

Monitor’s Take: As we reported Wednesday, this resolution is aimed at aiding a more even distribution of affordable housing projects across the city, sponsored by Council Member Greg Casar.

58. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to add certain information to the City’s Resources for Renters webpage.

Monitor’s Take: City Council has done a number of things to help renters who are being displaced or dealing with substandard housing. This resolution works to make those measures more accessible for renters. It also encourages the city manager to keep working on “a database of subsidized and unsubsidized affordable housing developments within the Austin city limits” – possibly with an eye toward creating a budget item for this year’s budget to maintain the data hub, if needed.

87. NPA-2017-0013.01 – Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Plan Area-Wide Neighborhood Plan Amendment to Add Garage Placement Design Tool – Conduct a public hearing to approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20020523-32, the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Plan, an element of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, to adopt the Garage Placement design tool for Single-Family, Duplex, and Two-Family Residential uses (Sec. 25-2-1604) area-wide in this planning area. If adopted, text will be added to the plan document with general information on Section 24-2-1604.

88. C14-2017-0026 – Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Plan Area-Wide Neighborhood Plan Amendment to Add Garage Placement Design Tool – Conduct a public hearing to approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20020523-33, the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Plan zoning ordinance, an element of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, to adopt the Garage Placement design tool for Single-Family, Duplex, and Two-Family Residential uses (Sec. 25-2-1604) area-wide in this planning area.

Monitor’s Take: This week’s zoning agenda looks pretty mellow, save this tiny potential for drama. Though the “neighborhood” would like to postpone action on this change, the neighborhood contact team is opposed to the postponement. Oh, did you think those groups were the same thing? Think again.

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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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