The Austin Chronicle

The Daily Hustle: 10/26/10

By Wells Dunbar, October 26, 2010, 9:45am, Newsdesk

At least 75 items straddle the medium-high boundary of City Council meeting items. Normally, you'd expect some hot topics.

But when nearly half your zoning items are postponed, and items from council are barely more interesting than parade waivers – well, you have this Thursday's meeting.

Below, agenda highlights for City Council's Thursday, October 28 meeting:

Item 7: A $987,705 contract, including a $36,911 addition up today, for improving Bullick Hollow road, in order to facilitate construction of Water Treatment Plant No. 4's pump station and plant.

Item 11: Speaking of water plants, a $189,000 contract to repair four of six clarifier bins at one of Austin's two existing water treatment plants, Ullrich Water Treatment Plant.

Item 12: More Ullrich – this time, $714,926 worth of deferred maintenance in the form of roof improvements.

Item 15: Paging John Bush, it's an update of FEMA-recommended Hazard Mitigation Action Plans for the city of Austin. Shame the related black helicopter expenditure was pulled.

Item 17: Offering use of the South Austin Recreation Center for Go Project classes, continuing education for older special-needs students offered by AISD.

Items 18-29: Eleven annexations on the Planning and Development Review portion of the agenda, including the Springwoods Municipal Utility District and others.

Item 32: Sure Strayhorn will dig this one: accepting $569,509 in an advance funding agreement with TxDOT, allowing Austin to use Federal Transportation Enhancement Funds to build several bike lanes over the city; the city also contributes with matching funds.

Item 33: A $1.5 million:contract, including four optional, 12-month extensions, with Creative Consumer Research to conduct marketing research of Austin Energy customers via phone calls, surveys, groups and more.

Items 40-43: Items repealing and replacing code in the city's Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Procurement Program in four separate areas: professional services, construction, non-professional services, and commodities. As a whole, the four amendments increase MBE/WBE subcontracting goals for bidders through a few different means: “Soliciting certified MBEs/WBEs through at least two reasonable, available and verifiable methods of communications (i.e. fax, email, and phone); Advertising through a local newspaper, trade association publication, or electronic/social media; Breaking out portions of the work to increase the likelihood of meeting goals or subgoals; Using the services of minority and women community organizations; and Seeking the assistance of SMBR [Small and Minority Business Resources Department].”

Items 44-50: Lackluster items from council include a code cleanup so food vendors at farmers markets don't need new permits for every weekly market event (Item 46, sponsored by Mike Martinez, Chris Riley and Sheryl Cole), and an item stating municipal judges receive the same pay-raise as non-public safety city employees (Item 47, from Bill Spelman, Martinez and Lee Leffingwell).

Item 52: The morning's sole 10:30am briefing, recommendations on city green roof policy.

Items 53-72: The zoning agenda, which includes a staff-opposed zoning upgrade at 209 E 38th Street (in Hyde Park) from single-family to multi-family (Items 56-57), and proposed cocktail lounge zoning for a former auto garage at 1901 S. Lamar, opposed (surprise!) by the Zilker Neighborhood Association (Item 61). Nine annexation zoning cases related to the Greenshores subdvivision northwest of Austin appear to be postponed by staff until Nov. 18 (Items 64-72).

What the hell else is happening?

On the city calendar: City Council's Audit and Finance Committee meets in the Boards and Commissions room in City Hall, 301 W. Second, 10am.

The Parks and Recreation Board meets in the Parks and Recreation Department Conference Room, 200 S. Lamar, 5pm. (Note: This is the Water Treatment Plant No. 4-related meeting; we were originally told by staff it was occurring at City Hall, so note the difference.)

The Planning Commission meets in City Hall's Council Chambers, 6pm.

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