City Council: Bad Apples
Council wades through the Red River Cultural District
Last Thursday, City Council adjourned at a relatively civilized 9:30pm, although that was in part because they had kicked several noisy cans down the road: notably a revised urban farms ordinance (expected to return, subject to mediation, in November) and the protracted ongoing argument over the overnight bike trails pilot. That one's back again today, Oct. 24 (Item 61), although whether it's been effectively resolved (with a compromise version that would open certain sections near dangerous streets without requiring additional police patrols) is not yet certain.
Council also managed to address a couple of vexed questions, most surprisingly Austin Water Impact fees – closing the meeting with an initial vote to raise them across the city to the maximum, part of an effort to help make "growth pay for itself." It was a first vote only, so the matter may return in a somewhat adjusted form. With a wave of their hands they ended tubing on and swimming in the eastern end of the Colorado (see "The Secret's Out," p.20), and with just a little more strain added Rainey Street to the Density Bonus Program, and established the Red River Cultural District.
This week, the hottest button is likely to be revisions to the economic incentives policy – most prominently an insistence on a living wage floor for companies seeking city incentives to locate or build here, which is the subject of a 6pm workers solidarity rally prior to consideration of the Items (55, 56) proposing a revision of the program. However, in Tuesday's work session it appeared that the initiative had lately developed some still-unfinished moving parts – notably a proposed loan bank intended to protect small construction subcontractors from too much short-term financial risk – and it wasn't clear if the proposal was quite yet ready for a vote.
Maybe another first reading.
We may also see second and third readings on those AW impact fees – a previously controversial issue that seems to have moved toward consensus in recent months. There are a half-dozen annexations that have been pending for a while, most of them having completed the public hearings – not likely to raise much controversy. This week's proclamations carry a distinctly self-help air, including Save for Retirement Week, and National Healthy Eating Day. Oddly enough, they will be preceded by this week's musical honorees, who may not keep the doctor away: Manzanas Mala.