About the Author
Mike Kanin is the Publisher of the Austin Monitor. As such, he doesn't report on much--aside from the workings of the Monitor--any more. In his previous life as a freelance journalist, Kanin has written for the Washington City Paper, the Washington Post's Express, the Boston Herald, Boston's Weekly Dig, the Austin Chronicle, and the Texas Observer.
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Outreach is expensive
The current phase of the CodeNEXT rewrite of the city’s Land Development Code is fast coming to an end, and that phase is already set to cost the city about $500,000 more than originally anticipated. The current contract with Opticos Design, Inc. will end in October 2014, and has had several adjustments to its scope and schedule. Council originally approved up to $2 million for the rewrite process. About $1.25 million of that has already been spent, leaving just $750,000 for Phase II of the project. The second phase will cover drafting new or revised code, reformatting and reorganizing the code, and testing new code through modeling software. A memo responding to a budget query from Council Member Laura Morrison details how Phase I costs accrued, and explains that staff did not anticipate a number of costs that have arisen. Items that pushed the budget a half-million bucks over the line include: public CodeTALKs, additional Envision Tomorrow software modeling, integration of other code amendments currently in process, monthly trips by the lead consultant to talk with stakeholders, and the cost of shifting the timeline for so the new 10-1 City Council can vote on it.
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