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TipSheet: This week’s Council committees

Monday, November 16, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

As part of our ongoing effort to keep readers up to date with all that is going on at City Hall, we present our tip sheet for Austin City Council committees. As usual, we will be offering highlights of meetings, with links to entire agendas.

Mobility Committee

Monday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m.

3. Chair briefing and committee discussion related to Rocky Mountain Institute’s selection of Austin for their Mobility Transformation Project and a proposed agreement for the project.

Monitor’s take: Back in September, the city announced that it would be partnering with the Rocky Mountain Institute to “develop innovative mobility solutions.” That agreement is now moving forward with a co-development agreement. While the backup remains fairly vague, we are looking forward to any illumination this Council meeting might offer.

4. Staff briefing and discussion on ground transportation providers, including transportation network companies.

Monitor’s take: Another Mobility Committee meeting means another discussion about transportation network companies (e.g., Uber and Lyft).

5. Discussion and possible action on a recommendation related to proposed projects available to utilize the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority quarter-cent fund.

Monitor’s take: Earlier this year, Council opted to distribute about $21.8 million in Capital Metro quarter-cent funding throughout the districts in an equitable fashion, and the distribution of those funds is now moving forward. Each district office has been working to establish its priorities, and we are looking forward to seeing how the individual assignments shake out.

9. Briefing by Glasshouse Policy on the Mobility ATX findings report related to the transportation policy of Austin.

Monitor’s take: In October, Glasshouse Policy released a report on transportation policy in the city. The report included support for funding the Austin Bicycle Master
Plan, burying I-35 through the downtown core and creating dedicated bus lanes throughout the city, which means talk of a transportation bond may be starting in earnest.

Audit and Finance Committee

Monday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m.

3.The Prioritization of Affordable Housing Development Audit, which evaluated the effectiveness of Neighborhood Housing and Community Development department’s strategic planning efforts to prioritize and address the City’s affordable housing goals and needs (City Auditor).

Monitor’s take: Affordable housing is obviously one of the most pressing topics in Austin, and at City Hall. This audit, which took a look at the city’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department, found some real problems with the city’s affordable housing programs.

5. Draft resolution regarding lobbyist reform, including proposed changes to City Code Chapter 4-8 pertaining to regulation of lobbyists, and City Code Chapter 2-7 pertaining to the Ethics Review Commission.

Monitor’s take: Proposed changes to the city’s lobbying regulations now move on to Council’s Audit and Finance Committee for real. Although the Ethics Commission endorsed the changes unanimously, Council Member Leslie Pool’s resolution still has its detractors, and we expect them to be out in full force at today’s meeting.

6. Proposed amendments to Title 2 of City Code, relating to the functions and duties of the City Auditor and the Ethics Review Commission.

Monitor’s take: In the wake of the mess caused by ethics complaints against a Zero Waste Advisory Commission member last year, the city vowed to revamp its process for handling such complaints. Committee members will now get the chance to weigh in on this restructuring.

Planning and Neighborhoods Committee

Monday, Nov. 16, 4 p.m.

4. Discussion and possible action on recommendations relating to permitting requirements for non-peak hour concrete installation within portions of the Central Business District (CBD) and Public (P) zoning districts.

Monitor’s take: With accessory dwelling units and short-term rentals behind the committee for the time being, committee members are now free to dedicate their full attention to the downtown concrete-pouring ordinance.

Housing and Community Development Committee

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m.

6. Update on Homestead Preservation District Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone creation.

Monitor’s take: For the most part, Wednesday’s meeting looks to be fairly routine, but this update on homestead preservation districts could prove interesting. As a reminder, Council voted to move forward with a plan to use the districts early this summer.

Public Utilities Committe

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 3 p.m.

4. Discussion and possible action regarding Austin Water Utility billing issues.

Monitor’s take: As the Mobility Committee has its TNC discussion, so does the PUC have its discussion about resident billing complaints against the city’s water utility. That conversation will be picked up again at Wednesday’s meeting.

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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 Housing and Community Development Committee: A City Council committee that reviews land use, housing and community development, and other concerns related to housing.

Austin City Council Mobility Committee: A City Council committee that reviews matters related to all modes of transportation.

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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