Austin
1:43 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Midday Council Update: Trail of Lights Switched On, Austin Energy Pushed to Evening

Nearly four hours into today’s Austin City Council meeting, and it’s still barely getting started.

While action hasn't yet occurred on several high-profile items, the council approved Item 15, which should bring back the Trail of Lights this holiday season under the sponsorship of the RunTex Foundation. As we’ve written, the foundation plans to raise at least $500,000 three months prior to the event, which would then be appropriated to city departments. The total cost of the event is tabulated at $716,078, including city fee waivers.

RunTex founder Paul Carrozza tells KUT News the foundation’s goal is to “keep it free to the public, keep it free to the taxpayer, and bring it back to the grandeur of 2007, 2008 when it was at its peak.” Asked how the RunTex Foundation saw itself successfully sponsoring the event following an abandoned attempt by another company last year, Carrozza predicted “building collaborations with sponsors – the business community and corporate community of Austin, along with volunteerism and nonprofits. I feel like I can reach out with the support of the city and the mayor, and talk to the right people in the corporations – give them a value that would be worth investing in.”

Passing with barely more discussion were items 30 and 31, the second reading of an ordinance approving 30 more permits for Lone Star Cab, and 15 more for Austin Cab. The measure passed 6-1, with council member Chris Riley voting no. Second reading means one more vote must take place before the permits’ final award. You can read more about the city’s taxi issues here.

Action on other major items won’t happen until later today. Item 50 which would extend Hosteling International’s lease along Lady Bird Lake has been postponed until after council’s executive session. So has Item 48, looking at moving city money to small banks and credit unions.  And Item 46, proposing the interim Austin Electricity rate increase, has been moved from at least 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.