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TipSheet: City Council, 9.28.17

Thursday, September 28, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting again today, and here are the things 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.

64. Public Safety Labor Negotiations Update.

Monitor’s Take: This year’s public safety contract negotiations have featured a bit of conflict around the current “meet and confer” policy and whether it should continue. There’s no indication that this subject will be broached during the morning briefing, but given the amount of city dollars that go into public safety, we’ll pay attention to this one regardless.

3. Approve negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement with Travis County for the enrichment and training of canines by incarcerated individuals for an initial 12-month term, with two 12-month renewal options.

4. Approve negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement with Travis County for the fostering of kittens by incarcerated individuals for an initial 12-month term, with two 12-month renewal options.

Monitor’s Take: Kittens and puppies for prisoners!

15. Approve a resolution adopting the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau (doing business as Visit Austin) 2017-2018 Marketing Plan and Proposed Budget; setting the contract payment as required by the Chapter 351 of the Texas Tax Code; and authorizing the City Manager to file the approved documents with the City Clerk’s Office as required by the Texas Tax Code.

Monitor’s Take: Given the role that the Austin Convention Center has taken in Hotel Occupancy Tax Debates and Downtown Puzzles of late, this item always had the potential to be fun. Add a well-timed series of reports from KXAN on Visit Austin spending, and you have a budget discussion that promises to be very interesting.

18. Approve a resolution ratifying the collective bargaining agreement between the City and the Austin Firefighters Association relating to wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment for Austin firefighters.

Monitor’s Take: A recent audit of the Austin Fire Department confirmed big problems with how the city has been managing overtime at AFD. Council is now considering a new (and presumably less expensive) tack.

19. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 2-10 (Municipal Court) to revise and add provisions regarding indigency.

Monitor’s Take: According to Council Member Delia Garza from Tuesday’s work session, this item will be postponed so that the Law Department and stakeholders can continue to work out the details. However, she said, “it’s looking very positive.”

29. Approve negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement regarding the exchange of extraterritorial jurisdiction (“ETJ”) with the City of Manor, whereby approximately 27 acres will be released from Austin’s ETJ to Manor’s ETJ and approximately 7 acres will be disannexed from Manor’s city limits and released to Austin’s ETJ.

Monitor’s Take: This is included to note the concept of “disannexation,” which is something that Manor is doing, apparently.

50. Approve a resolution relating to the creation of Neighborhood Empowerment Zones and a Multifamily Property Tax Exemption Program to improve access to affordable housing.

Monitor’s Take: This appears to be another weapon in the city’s increasingly diverse arsenal of ways to incentivize the creation of affordable housing. Basically, this resolution (sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo) would explore the idea of tax exemptions for the creation of affordable housing in multifamily construction and mobile home parks.

52. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to explore funding options such as public improvement districts, tax increment financing, public-private partnerships, and increases in hotel occupancy taxes to fund improvements to downtown Austin, to address homelessness in downtown Austin, to support the local music industry, and to fund park, civic, and historic facilities and districts including expansion of the Convention Center.

Monitor’s Take: This, the “downtown puzzle,” continues to puzzle a number of Council members (and reporters), but Tuesday’s work session made it clear that the mayor would like to see it move forward in one way or another. One way might be through a working group designed to look at the many moving pieces of the puzzle. We will find out after the dinner break, when this is scheduled to be taken up.

55. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to convene a stakeholder process to gain feedback on elements of a paid sick days policy for private employers in Austin.

Monitor’s Take: This will also be taken up after the dinner break. Council Member Greg Casar’s resolution will kickstart a citywide policy that would require all businesses to have paid sick days (and the city has about two years to explore this idea before state legislators return…).

56. Approve a resolution authorizing negotiation of the acquisition, restoration, programming, and maintenance of 500 Montopolis Drive as a historic museum that would attract tourists.

72. NPA-2016-0005.04 – 500 Montopolis Drive – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20010927-05, the Montopolis Neighborhood Plan, an element of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, to change the land use designation on the future land use map (FLUM) on property locally known as 500 Montopolis Drive (Country Club East) from Single Family to Mixed Use land use.

73. 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: Well, despite the city dropping the ball the first time around, it looks like folks have come up with an alternate way to preserve the Montopolis Negro School, which technically has a demolition permit from the city and could be legally demolished at any time. Apparently the Planning Commission’s unanimous rejection of the current (now indefinitely postponed) zoning case and public outcry reached the second floor easily. The current plan would buy the property from the developer using Hotel Occupancy Taxes and turn it into a museum.

60. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to initiate an amendment to City Code Section 11-1-28(C) to change the calculation for the maximum number of years for which additional taxes may be collected from three years to the fullest extent the law allows prior to the date of historic designation removal.

Monitor’s Take: Yeah, so it turns out that Council may not be so wild about giving historic tax abatement to properties that are then redeveloped. Right now, when that happens they can collect taxes from the past three years. How much can they collect under state law? Stay tuned to find out!

100. Set a public hearing to receive recommendations from the stakeholders group established by City Council to make recommendations concerning non-criminal alternatives to City Code Chapter 9-3, relating to a juvenile curfew, and to consider an ordinance that continues, readopts, or amends City Code Chapter 9-3, relating to a juvenile curfew.

103. Conduct a public hearing to receive recommendations from the stakeholders group established by City Council to make recommendations concerning non-criminal alternatives to City Code Chapter 9-3, relating to a juvenile curfew, and to consider an ordinance that continues, readopts, or amends City Code Chapter 9-3, relating to a juvenile curfew.

Monitor’s Take: This summer, City Council got rid of the daytime juvenile curfew in the city, but shied away from eliminating the night time curfew. Months later, the Austin Police Department and the Public Safety Commission are pushing to get rid of the whole thing, so odds are that is exactly what will happen.

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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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