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TipSheet: This week’s Council committees

Monday, February 15, 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 reading our tip sheet for Austin City Council committees. As usual, we will be offering highlights of meetings, with links to entire agendas.

Planning and Neighborhoods Committee


Monitor’s take: Do note that this week’s Planning and Neighborhoods Committee has been canceled.

Austin City Council (special called meeting)

Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 17-19, 10 a.m. (each day)

Monitor’s take: Though not technically a committee meeting, this special-called meeting of City Council also doesn’t really merit its own TipSheet, so we’re mentioning it here. Though Council decided Thursday to hold an election in May to determine what should be done with transportation network companies, it needs to make it official this week through these three meetings. As a note, the election will take place on May 7 and is expected to cost the city an unbudgeted $500,000 to $900,000 from the Support Services Fund.

Public Utilities Committee

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 3 p.m.

3. Discussion and possible action regarding stage 1 and stage 2 water restrictions.

Monitor’s take: The battle over water conservation continues. At the moment, the Austin Water utility is considering whether to make once-per-week watering permanent. Since August, Council Member Don Zimmerman has been trying to get the city to move to Stage 1 watering restrictions and is decidedly against the plan to make stricter restrictions permanent. In his most recent post on the City Council Message Board, Zimmerman takes issue with AW’s interpretation of its public survey results. The utility maintains that the permanent restrictions are cool with the public, but Zimmerman disagrees, saying the survey results show the opposite to be true.

4. Discussion and possible action regarding Austin Water’s General Fund transfers and impact to water bills.

Monitor’s take: Transfers from utilities to the city’s General Fund – and whether those utilities should pay for general city operations – have long been a point of contention in Austin. During our end-of-year interviews, Council Member Ellen Troxclair said that she was hoping to tackle the issue this year, and we at the Monitor are looking forward to the discussion (and, perhaps, how it relates to the Pilot Knob planned unit development deal, which also uses AW cash to fund other department operations, in a sense).

Audit and Finance Committee

Friday, Feb. 19, 9 a.m.

1. Staff briefing, discussion and possible action regarding appointment of Municipal Civil Service Commissioners.

Executive Session: 2. Discussion regarding candidates for appointment to the Municipal Civil Service Commission (Personnel Matters – Section 551.074 of the Texas Government Code).

Monitor’s take: If you’ve ever wanted to skip an Audit and Finance Committee meeting, here’s your chance! The committee will focus its Friday efforts on appointments to the Municipal Service Commission for the entirety of this meeting, which might well be interesting, but it also might take place behind closed doors during their executive session.

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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 Planning and Neighborhoods Committee: A City Council committee that reviews neighborhood issues, including neighborhood planning and code issues.

Austin City Council Public Utility Committee: A City Council committee that reviews issues related to water and drainage utilities.

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