But some people have expressed concerns that the districts the commission has drawn so far don’t accurately represent communities. For example, right now, District 7 runs along Mopac from North of Parmer Lane to Lady Bird Lake.
Update: Austin City Council members unanimously approved a rental registration program early this morning (Items 11, 12).
Council members were considering two different proposals. One would have required the owners of rental property in certain areas of the city to register. But the proposal the council approved will require rental properties with multiple health and safety violations to be registered – no matter where the properties are located in the city.
The program requires properties on the registration list to be periodically inspected.
Out of a population of 24,000, who will be the one person to represent Dove Springs?
Last November, Austin voters agreed to adopt a geographic form of city government: one mayor and 10 districts with one council member each.
Advocates for geographic representation argue the old way left large parts of Austin unrepresented. The seven members of the current Austin City Council all live north of Lady Bird Lake, and close to the city’s core.
This week, the Austin City Council approved a $3.3 billion budget of for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts in October.
As part of the deal, they increased funding for youth programs by over $1 million. That includes an increase in the Austin School District afterschool program, Prime Time, which was started by Austin Interfaith in the 1990s.
Update: For the first time since 2007, the Austin City Council has voted to lower the city’s property tax rate. The council finalized the fiscal year 2014 budget this afternoon.
Granted, the tax rate hasn’t fallen by much: two-hundredths of a penny (from 50.29 to 50.27 cents) for every $100 dollars of valuation. For the owner of a $200,000 home, that amounts to a savings of 40 cents a year. Mayor Lee Leffingwell had pressed for a bigger cut.
The Austin City Council convenes today to another crowded agenda. Here’s a rundown:
Sound off on the proposed city budget, property taxes and fees
Lots of council action won’t happen until much later today: Several public hearings are set for this afternoon related to City Manager Marc Ott’s proposed city budget, which the council is currently discussing. There’s public hearings on the proposed property tax rate, Austin Energy and Austin Water rates, and additional proposed fee increases (trash, drainage, etc.)
Every budget year, public safety – police, fire and EMS – take the biggest chunk of money from the funds used to finance city services. Today, Austin City Council Member Bill Spelman asked if the city was getting a good return on its investment.
The Austin City Council is considering the city budget for the next fiscal year. And the Austin Police Department was among the groups presenting budget requests to the council today. Police Chief Art Acevedo spent over an hour discussing the city manager's proposed city budget – which preserves Austin’s informal policy of two police officers for every thousand Austin residents.
Update: The developers of the J.W. Marriott convention center downtown won’t be getting nearly $4 million in fee waivers.
In a late night hearing, the Austin City Council declined to act on an item that would have forgiven “past non-compliance” on developer White Lodging’s part. In return for $3.8 million in fee waivers, White Lodging agreed to pay construction and trade workers the prevailing wage on the project. But the company instead paid many workers a differently calculated, lower wage.
When Austinites voted last fall to create the independent commission that will draw the city’s new geographic City Council districts, 14 citizens from all walks of life were chosen to be part of this commission.
The understanding was that average Austinites would lead the process. But it turns out the commission may hire an entire staff to give them a hand.
Austin voters will likely be asked to approve bond dollars for affordable housing, after a similar proposition was voted down in last November.
On Monday, city council members Sheryl Cole, Bill Spelman and Chris Riley, along with housing advocates from Keep Austin Affordable, announced their support for a $65 million bond program on the November 2013 ballot. They said the spending could finance more affordable housing – without raising the tax rate.
The Austin City Council is getting ready for summer recess, but before members take off they’ve been approving projects that eventually could drastically change the look and feel of the city. Thursday’s session may not have seemed like a game-changer, but it has huge implications for the future.
Update (June 20): This morning Austin City Council members decided to go ahead and approve a resolution supporting a I-35 National Environmental Policy Act study for a plan to reconnect East & West Austin by submerging it from approximately River Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
Council also directed the City Manager to develop an economic impact study and look at associated financing options.
A debate over two Austin City Council proposals to track problem rental properties continued into the early hours of the morning.
After hearing from many Austinites about the issue, council members voted unanimously to pass an effort to create a registry for properties with a history of violations. A similar move to track all rental properties in certain parts of the city passed 5 to 2.
City employees will soon be able to take 30 days of paid parental leave.
The Austin City Council got a look at the final version of a plan to redevelop the land along Waller Creek into a chain of three parks at its Thursday meeting.
The multi-million dollar public-private partnership, designed by architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, includes hike and bike trails, playgrounds, a pavilion for hosting live music and theater events and even a pontoon bridge that could connect the north and south shores of Lady Bird Lake.
City Council's got a full plate today, with everything from parking, rental registries, ride-shares, a possible closure of Auditorium Shores and a measure that could make Austin the first city to offer paid parental leave for city employees.