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TipSheet: This week’s Council committees

Monday, August 24, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

As part of our ongoing, tireless attempt to keep readers up to date with all that is going on at City Hall, we present our tipsheet for Austin City Council committees. As usual, we will be offering highlights of meetings, with links to entire agendas. Note that this week, Council will meet on Thursday as the Austin Energy Utility Oversight Committee. We will have a separate tipsheet for that committee of the whole. Council will also continue discussing the city budget on Tuesday during a specially called meeting and on Thursday during a budget work session.

Economic Opportunity Committee

Monday, August 24
Agenda here

4. Report on Urban Land Institute’s Technical Assistance Panel regarding the proposed expansion of the Convention Center (related to Resolution No. 20141211-218) and update on the Convention Center’s long-range master plan.

Monitor’s take: On the table here is a proposal to expand the city’s convention center. The committee will consider a long-term plan that could see the center expanding westward with 200,000 more square feet of exhibit space, 65,000 more of meeting space and 56,700 additional square feet of ballroom space, at a cost of $400 to $600 million — excluding land acquisition.

5. Presentation regarding the Austin Music Census.

Monitor’s take: When the Austin Music Census came out in June, it sparked citywide conversations about the state of Austin’s music industry. And though it has come up several times in Council chambers, we think this is the first time Council will take an official look at the report.

Public Safety Committee

Monday, August 24
Agenda here

4. 4:40 PM: Staff briefing, invited testimony, and policy discussion regarding Police Department Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.

5. 5:10 PM Staff briefing, invited testimony, and policy discussion regarding Emergency Medical Services Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.

6. 5:40 PM: Staff briefing, invited testimony, and policy discussion regarding Fire Department Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.

7. 6:10 PM: Staff briefing, invited testimony, and policy discussion regarding Code Compliance Department Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.

Monitor’s take: In addition to tackling the hiring of a new Municipal Court judge, this week the Public Safety Committee is also poised to take a closer look at the proposed budgets for Code, the Austin Fire Department, EMS and the Austin Police Department.

Audit and Finance Committee

Wednesday, August 26
Agenda here

3. Austin Police Department Evidence Section Follow-Up Audit, which followed up on two prior audits involving the Austin Police Department Evidence Section (City Auditor)

Monitor’s take: This audit is a follow-up to a previous audit that revealed serious problems with how APD managed its evidence. We reported on that initial audit and are looking forward to the sequel.

9. Water Loss Management Audit, which evaluated Austin Water’s efforts to mitigate and report water loss (City Auditor)

Monitor’s take: It looks like the Auditor’s Office is investigating how the city is managing and controlling water loss, which seems interesting! We’ll let you know if it is.

10. Discussion of draft resolution regarding lobbyist reform

Monitor’s take: This is a preview of Council resolution that would overhaul the city’s current lobbying ordinance, which many say is in dire need of reform. Given the subject, it should be a very interesting discussion.

Open Space, Environment and Sustainability Committee

Wednesday, August 26
Agenda here.

5. Review and consider potential changes to policies related to the renaming of City facilities, including Parks and Recreation Department facilities.

Monitor’s take: As we reported, the city is working to simplify the currently fraught process of naming parks and park facilities.

Housing and Community Development Committee

Wednesday, August 26
Agenda here.

4. Presentation and discussion of the City of Austin Code Department Repeat Offender Program (Ordinance No. 20130926-012).

Monitor’s take: It’s no secret that Austin’s current Repeat Offender Program for rentals isn’t working very well. The committee will discuss a Council motion to add penalties to the program and strengthen it.

5. Update on the fee-in-lieu option for the affordable housing requirement for planned unit developments (Resolution No. 20150925-090).

Monitor’s take: As is the case with the density bonus programs in the city, Council is also exploring the idea of making it a requirement that Planned Unit Development affordable housing is built on-site, not achieved through a fee-in-lieu.

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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 Economic Opportunity Committee: The Economic Opportunity Committee reviews the city’s economic opportunities and matters related to fair wage and business contracting policies.

Austin City Council Public Safety Committee: A City Council committee that reviews safety issues, including code enforcement, disaster preparedness and criminal justice.

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