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DAA wants to postpone vote on downtown court

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 by Jo Clifton

The Downtown Austin Alliance has written to City Council asking it to postpone consideration of three items on Thursday’s agenda that are necessary for renovating the old Municipal Building on Eighth Street so it can serve as the new Downtown Community Court. Council members have been talking about doing this for some time, but the DAA argues that they cannot take an informed position on the proposed relocation without a “transparent engagement process involving the community.” While the DAA has not officially taken a position on the relocation, according to a letter to Council from DAA President and CEO Dewitt Peart, “many downtown property owners, business owners and residents have expressed concerns, primarily over the lack of a transparent process.” Council Member Kathie Tovo, whose district includes downtown, told the Austin Monitor she intends to signal her intent to request a postponement of the court-related items from this Thursday’s agenda at today’s work session. Those include approving the issuance of $27 million in certificates of obligation to pay for the renovation of the building, as well as approving a resolution to use the design/build method of contracting for the renovation. Tovo said she had anticipated asking for a one-week postponement before receiving the DAA’s request that the item not be heard before March. So, it seems likely that the item will be postponed for at least a week. Tovo said she needed to talk to Peart to fully understand the group’s request.

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