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TipSheet: City Council, 8.9.18

Thursday, August 9, 2018 by Elizabeth Pagano

They’re baaaaack! Welcome to this week’s TipSheet. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda, but here are the items we have our eye on today. The Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

Item 12: Approve an ordinance ordering a general municipal election to be held on November 6, 2018, for the purpose of electing a Mayor (at large) and City Council Members (single member districts) for District 1, District 3, District 5, District 8, and District 9; ordering a special election to submit to the voters proposed charter amendments; ordering a special election to submit to the voters a proposed citizen-initiated ordinance, certified sufficient on April 23, 2018, regarding whether there must be both a waiting period and subsequent voter approval before any comprehensive revisions of the City’s land development laws may go into effect; ordering a special election for the purpose of authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds; providing for the conduct of the general and special elections, including authorizing the City Clerk to enter into joint election agreements with other local political subdivisions as may be necessary for the orderly conduct of the elections; and declaring an emergency.

Item 112: Adopt a citizen-initiated ordinance, supported by a petition certified sufficient on August 3, 2018, to amend the City Code, relating to a city efficiency study of the City’s operational and fiscal performance.

Item 113: Approve an ordinance ordering a general municipal election to be held on November 6, 2018, for the purpose of electing a Mayor (at large) and City Council Members (single member districts) for District 1, District 3, District 5, District 8, and District 9; ordering a special election to submit to the voters proposed charter amendments; ordering a special election to submit to the voters a proposed citizen-initiated ordinance, certified sufficient on April 23, 2018, regarding whether there must be both a waiting period and subsequent voter approval before any comprehensive revisions of the City’s land development laws may go into effect; ordering a special election to submit to the voters a proposed citizen-initiated ordinance, certified sufficient on August 3, 2018, relating to an efficiency study of the city’s operational and fiscal performance; ordering a special election for the purpose of authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds; providing for the conduct of the general and special elections, including authorizing the City Clerk to enter into joint election agreements with other local political subdivisions as may be necessary for the orderly conduct of the elections; and declaring an emergency.

Item 61: Approve a resolution relating to guidance for implementation of general obligation bond projects and programs for the November 2018 bond election.

Monitor’s Take: There’s a whole bunch of election prep going on here. Basically, Council will set the city elections today. City Council elections, which include races for mayor and Districts 1, 3, 5, 8 and 9, are pretty routine – and those items just make sure they will occur in November. But Council members will also (probably) decide on the final number for proposed bond packages, which currently have a price tag of $925 million. Though they technically have until Aug. 20 to do that, they’d have to add something to one of the upcoming budget sessions if they really want to procrastinate. Council will also get to decide whether a proposed “efficiency audit” will be on the ballot. Council has the option of adopting it outright, or leaving it up to voters.

Item 13: Approve a resolution repealing resolutions related to economic development programs and adopting economic development Guiding Principles and a Chapter 380 Policy.

Item 14: Approve an ordinance establishing a Business Expansion Program pursuant to Texas Local Government Code Chapter 380.

Item 15: 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: These three items, which aim to revamp the city’s economic incentive programs and refocus them on smaller local businesses, sparked a long discussion at Tuesday’ work session (which we covered today, in a story by Jack Craver). That’s likely to repeat today, with lots of details to work out, and the addition of public speakers to boot.

Item 19: Authorize negotiation and execution of agreements with Precourt Sports Ventures, LLC, or its affiliates, related to the construction, lease, and occupancy of a sports stadium and associated infrastructure and development on a city-owned site located at 10414 McKalla Place, under terms outlined in a term sheet.

Item 109: Council discussion and possible action related to plans submitted in response to Resolution No. 20180628-060 regarding development on a city-owned site located at 10414 McKalla Place.

Monitor’s Take: Oh hey, did you know that Austin is considering building an MLS stadium? Today, according to those who hope to bring soccer to town, is decision day. Last time around, Mayor Steve Adler made us all wait until the (bitter) end of the meeting before he took up the issue. This time, it’s not clear when exactly the presumably long deliberation will commence, but it will be into the evening. Plan accordingly?

Item 32: Approve an ordinance creating City Code Chapter 13-7 to enact regulations for vehicle immobilization services (vehicle booting); authorizing related fees; and creating offenses.

Monitor’s Take: Should car booting be regulated at a municipal level? As we reported earlier, if it isn’t, the city risks a “booting free-for-all” come Sept. 1. Let the fettering commence.

Item 52: Authorize negotiation and execution of a multi-term contract with Health Care Service Corporation D/B/A Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, to provide self-funded medical program administration services, pharmacy benefit management services, and stop-loss insurance coverage, for up to five years, for a total contract amount not to exceed $97,870,000.

Item 60: Approve a resolution to explore an independent third party appeals process for municipal employees when certain healthcare claims are denied.

Monitor’s Take: Though city staff assures us the fact that these two items appear on the same agenda is nothing more than happenstance, we’ve grouped them together for the sake of efficiency. Check out Jo Clifton’s story today for more on Item 60.

Item 59: Approve a resolution expressing Council’s desire that city resources, including fee waivers, be used only for Veterans Day events and parades that only honor those who have served in the United States of America’s Armed Forces.

Monitor’s Take: It’s unclear whether this item will garner controversy, but to clarify, it draws a hard line in the sand about city support for events and parades that honor Confederate soldiers.

Item 70: Approve second and third readings of an ordinance regarding floodplain variances for the construction of a multi-family building and associated parking at 1301 W. Koenig Lane within the 25-year and 100-year floodplains of the Grover Tributary of Shoal Creek. (THE PUBLIC HEARING FOR THIS ITEM WAS HELD AND CLOSED ON June 28, 2018).

Monitor’s Take: The last time this variance was up before Council, it didn’t have enough support to pass outright. So it’s back, and you have time to get up to speed by reading our previous coverage. Oh, the luxury.

Item 77: Briefing on the Project Assessment Report for the 218 South Lamar Planned Unit Development, located at 218 South Lamar Boulevard, within the Lady Bird Lake Watershed within the Urban Watershed (CD-2018-0003).

Item 78: Briefing on the Project Assessment Report for the Circuit of the Americas Planned Unit Development, located at 9201 Circuit of the Americas Boulevard, within the Dry Creek Watershed (CD-2018-0004).

Monitor’s Take: When new planned unit developments (known super-affectionately as “PUDs”) come to town, they first go before Council to lay out the “community benefits” that they will offer. That’s what’s happening here: a preview of things (and fights?) to come.

Item 81: C14H-2017-0055 – 500 Montopolis – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 500 Montopolis Drive (Country Club East Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to community commercial-mixed use-historic landmark-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-H-NP) combining district zoning and community commercial-mixed use-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: This once-controversial case is now being “postponed indefinitely,” meaning it probably won’t return in this form again. Adieu.

Item 88: C14-2018-0002 – Delwau Campgrounds – District 1 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 7715 Delwau Lane (Colorado River Watershed). Applicant’s Request: To rezone from single family residence-standard lot (SF-2) district zoning to general commercial services-mixed use-conditional overlay (CS-MU-CO) combining district zoning and commercial liquor sales-mixed use-conditional overlay (CS-1-MU-CO) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: This proposed campground has drawn concern from some neighbors over plans to allow alcohol sales. Developers promise that they have no intention of building a Hula Hut.

Item 100: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan by adopting the North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Plan for the area bounded by Research Boulevard to the north, Burnet Road to the east, Anderson Lane to the south, and Mopac Expressway to the west.

Monitor’s Take: Yes, neighborhood plans are moving forward, even with CodeNEXT – oh, what is CodeNEXT doing again? See Item 111. Anyway, neighborhood plans are moving forward and are as contentious as ever, as evidenced by this one, which we expect to provoke discussion.

Item 108: Approve a resolution adopting a maximum proposed property (ad valorem) tax rate of 44.82 cents per $100 taxable value that the City Council will consider for Fiscal Year 2018-2019; and setting the date that the Council will adopt the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 property (ad valorem) tax rate (Suggested date and time: September 11, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Austin City Hall, 301 West Second Street, Austin TX).

Monitor’s Take: Before approving a budget, City Council must set the maximum tax rate for the next cycle – and that’s what this is. This year, the city won’t go anywhere close to the rollback rate, which would require voter approval.

Item 111: Approve a resolution finding that CodeNEXT is no longer a suitable mechanism to achieve its stated goals and directing the City Manager to develop and propose a new process leading to a Land Development Code that achieves the stated goals of the City as outlined in the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, the Strategic Housing Blueprint, and the Austin Strategic Direction 2023 Plan.

Monitor’s Take: Considering that all but one Council member have issued statements of support for offing CodeNEXT, this will undoubtedly pass. The main question is probably whether it will end with a whimper or a bang.

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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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