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TipSheet: City Council, 9.1.16

Thursday, September 1, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting Thursday. 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.

4. Authorize award and execution of a construction contract with GADBERRY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC. for the Historic Rehabilitation of the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel in the amount of $1,077,250 plus a contingency of $107,725 for a total contract amount not to exceed $1,184,975. (District 1)

Monitor’s take: Just over a year ago, plans to restore the chapel at the city’s Oakwood Cemetery kicked up some dust at the Historic Landmark Commission. Judging from this week’s questions from City Council, Council Member Don Zimmerman is still somewhat skeptical of the plan, so there’s certainly an opportunity for some spirited discussion.

10. Approve a resolution regarding Travis County’s creation of the Wildhorse Public Improvement District (PID).

Monitor’s take: Although the county did the bulk of the heavy lifting on the creation of this PID, City Council still needs to sign off on it, which already caused a bit of consternation at Tuesday’s work session.

13. Approve a resolution consenting to the issuance of Multi-family Private Activity Bonds by Austin Affordable PFC, Inc., an affiliate of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, in an amount not to exceed $25,000,000 to finance, in part, the construction of a multi-family rental development located at 1143 Shady Lane. (District 3)

47. Conduct a public hearing and consider a resolution supporting an application to be submitted to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs by thinkEAST Apartments, Ltd., or an affiliated entity, for the new construction of an affordable multi-family development to be located at 1143 Shady Lane. (District 3)

Monitor’s take: Hey, remember ThinkEAST? Well, here it is! The first item will allow the city to lend $25 million in tax-exempt bonds to the project to finance a portion of the costs of constructing a 182-unit residential rental development. The second item is that letter of recommendation that ultimately counts toward winning tax credits. You might remember how that works from the recent saga at Elysium Park.

20. Authorize negotiation and execution of a contract with MUNICIPAL CODE CORPORATION to publish the City’s revised Land Development Code in an amount not to exceed $100,000.

Monitor’s take: Just a note that this is in addition to the current contract to rewrite the city’s Land Development Code, to be used exclusively toward publishing the rewrite, including online and hardcopy publication of the code.

28. Approve a resolution related to addressing mortgage fraud.

Monitor’s take: In essence, this is a first step toward figuring out a way to protect those affected by mortgage fraud. The resolution asks the city manager to coordinate with other relevant jurisdictions to do so, identify resources and report back within 90 days.

29. Approve a resolution requiring that any future incentive program for expedited permit review include worker protection standards for nonresidential projects.

Monitor’s take: Obviously we find this prospect fascinating – today’s edition features two sides (here and here) to the story behind this resolution, which – spawned by the Zucker Report – could be a way to aid construction workers in the city. However, we’ve heard word that it might be delayed (which makes a bit of sense, given the strong feelings on all sides of the issue).

34. Discussion and possible action on the appointment of an interim City Manager.

35. Discussion and possible action initiating the selection process for appointment of a City Manager.

Monitor’s take: Well, it’s too early for a new city manager, but we are expecting to get word of who will be filling in when Marc Ott leaves at the end of October. According to our very own Jo Clifton, it’s likely to be either Assistant City Manager Robert Goode or Chief Financial Officer Elaine Hart.

36. Discussion and possible action on the Council Budget Concept Menu.

44. Conduct a public hearing to receive public comment on the City of Austin Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Proposed Budget.

Monitor’s take: Council has spent a spell talking about the budget and the budget concept menu already, of course, but these items offer an opportunity for members of the public to weigh in. Traditionally, this has mostly consisted of groups advocating for their own funding. We’ll be paying attention to who shows up this time around.

38. Development Services Update

Monitor’s take: Presumably, this is a followup to the infamous Zucker Report that all but demanded change at the city’s planning department(s). We’re all ears.

50. Conduct a public hearing and approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 to establish requirements for tenant notification and tenant relocation assistance for certain multi-family and mobile home projects.

Monitor’s take: When last before City Council, the new tenant relocation ordinance passed on first reading. Given the state of the city at the moment, it’s been a high-profile item, but given the budget crunch currently underway, one wonders who might balk at a new $1.55 million for the project’s initial funding.

51. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.

Monitor’s take: Most of the updates to the city’s comprehensive plan are fairly benign this time around. But a proposal to name Guadalupe Road from 29th Street to 51st Street an “activity corridor” has garnered some opposition, despite staff’s explanation that it was originally omitted as a mistake. At the Planning Commission, this item also sparked a discussion about the looming five-year update to the plan in general, but we’re not sure that this late in the agenda it will have the same impact at Council.

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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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