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Council: Beep Beep!

This week's agenda has plenty to strike sparks and eat up the day and evening

By Michael King, Fri., Aug. 29, 2014

City Council has been hosting heavy agendas lately, and today's (Aug. 28) is no exception: the whole thing (including late addendum) comes in at 159 Items, with plenty to strike sparks and eat up the day and evening. A few highlights:

Enterprise fund rate and fee hearings (Austin Energy and Austin Water) as well as the first formal public hearings on the overall budget and the property tax rate (Items 133-137).

Potential prohibition of use of all handheld "portable electronic devices" while driving (or bicycling, Item 41).

Morning briefing by APD on the potential creation of a "Magistration Center" to handle minor arrests -- one response to the ongoing "Secure Communities" controversy with the Travis County Sheriff's Office, and potentially a more efficient operation, long-term (Item 101).

Public hearing and potential adoption of the Urban Trails Master Plan (Item 143), the Ann and Roy Butler Trail at the Southeast Shore Master Plan (Lady Bird Lake, Item 99), and the much-postponed Fiesta Gardens/Holly Shores Master Plan (Item 149, 7pm time certain).

Also, resolutions to explore:

Permitting swimming and an off-leash dog area in or near the Barton Springs Spillway (Item 82).

Partnering a review of "wage distribution [e.g., inequities] within governmental institutions" (Item 83).

Establishing "gender-neutral signage requirements for single-occupancy restrooms" (Item 84, see above for more detail).

A $5,000 (flat) homestead exemption on property taxes, if it can be designed under state law mandating percentage exemptions only (Item 86).

And if that's not enough, resolutions to:

Create a "coyote conflict management strategy" and develop an "urban forest management plan" (Items 80 and 81) – perhaps the coyotes could consult on the urban forest plan, and the Roadrunner on the coyotes.

There's plenty more where all that came from, and although the resolutions will likely pass quickly on consent, the over/under on adjournment is probably somewhere around midnight.

And we have not forgotten the most important moment of the day, at least for Chronicle heads: Among this week's proclaimed honorees (including Aztlan Dance Company's 40th Anniversary), CM Laura Morrison will be recognizing our own longtime News staffer, Amy Smith, for distinguished service to the city of Austin.

May she run free as the Roadrunner forever! Beep Beep!

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