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TipSheet: This week’s Council committees

Monday, April 25, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

As the Austin Monitor does weekly, we invite you to join our ongoing effort to keep readers up to date with all that is going on at City Hall by providing a tip sheet for City Council committees. As usual, we will be offering highlights of meetings, with links to entire agendas.

Audit and Finance Committee

Monday, April 25, 9 a.m.

3. The comprehensive Annual Financial Report by Deloitte & Touche LLP, the City’s external auditor (Financial Services Department). [Notes: SPONSOR: Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, CO 1: Council Member Ellen Troxclair]

Monitor’s take: This audit of the city takes place every year. In short, an outside firm looks at the city’s financials to see whether there are any inconsistencies.

4. Transportation Effectiveness Audit, which evaluated whether the City effectively manages transportation system planning and balances safety and flow concerns for all users (City Auditor). [Notes: SPONSOR: Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, CO 1: Council Member Ellen Troxclair]

Monitor’s take: This audit looks pretty interesting, especially given the place concerns about traffic and traffic fatalities hold in the public interest. Essentially, city auditors found that the city is not effectively coordinating between departments and outside entities, transportation efforts have been “largely reactive” and crash data has not been used to improve traffic safety. (We will totally be writing about this.)

5. Staff briefing on Fiscal Year 2016 activities of the City Auditor’s Integrity Unit (City Auditor). [Notes: SPONSOR: Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, CO1: Council Member Ellen Troxclair]

Monitor’s take: This audit, which breaks down the activity of the city auditor’s integrity unit over the past year, is kind of interesting. For those not in the know, the integrity unit investigates “allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse committed by employees or contractors in the City of Austin.” So, there is certainly the potential for some intrigue, at least. This is especially the case if you consider this nugget of information from the briefing: “Compared to previous years, we experienced a significant increase in allegations. For example, we experienced an 89% increase from the 1st half of 2014 to the 1st half of 2016.”

Austin City Council – Budget Work Session

Wednesday, April 27, 9:00 a.m.

1. Presentation of the City’s Economic Outlook and Five-Year Financial Forecast.

2. Discussion on policy topics for future forecast work sessions.

Monitor’s take: Hooray, folks! Budget season is upon us. Although City Council doesn’t tackle the budget in earnest until the fall, this is where it all begins. This year, things are kicking off with the traditional budget forecast, which gives everyone their bearings on how the city fared this past year. This session will also include a discussion on policy topics, and while there is no indication what these topics will be, we wager the discussion is a strategy sort of thing to help break down the approach to the multibillion dollar budget this year. We’ll let you know if it’s anything exciting, natch.

Open Space, Environment and Sustainability Committee

Wednesday, April 27, 2:00 p.m.

4. Briefing and discussion regarding the Travis County Expo Center Market Study. [Notes: SPONSOR: Council Member Leslie Pool, CO 1: Council Member Delia Garza]

Monitor’s take: As we have reported previously, the region has started taking a serious look at revamping the Travis County Expo Center. Now it’s the Open Space Committee’s turn to take a gander.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council Audit and Finance Committee: A sub-group of the Austin City Council whose members are charged with oversight of city fiscal operations and anything that falls under the purview of the Office of the City Auditor. Reports and documents for the committee can be found here.

Austin City Council Open Space Environment and Sustainability Committee: A City Council committee that reviews environmental matters, including climate change and protection, water, trees, and parks.

city budget: The city’s plan for expenditures based on income.

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