Referred to Committee

Quite a few items pushed to the curb in late Council session

City Council's Decision Flowchart
City Council's Decision Flowchart (Flowchart illustration by Jason Stout)

Despite his late public email push, Mayor Steve Adler’s proposal for more staffing was sent to committee last night for further research and review. It wasn’t alone: “Referred to Committee” sprinkled the action summation last night, as the new Council wrestled over contentious items until nearly midnight.

The headline debate was over “Item 40” – the mayor’s latest version of his proposal that his office acquire more staff – after an earlier version (Item 35, withdrawn) that would have relied on private fundraising for the Mayor’s Better Austin Foundation to underwrite new staff went down in public flames. Despite a Wednesday email blast for public pressure on his colleagues – which appeared to have created its own backlash – Council eventually voted 6-5 to refer the proposal to the Audit and Finance Committee. It remains a tentative proposal – the resolution asks only that the city manager identify five vacant positions in the existing budget and another $250,000 to parcel out to 10 Council members, limited to FY2015 – but that discussion will now take place in Audit and Finance, where chair and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo – who's been skeptical of the entire proposition – will try to advance the discussion quickly enough to return to Council with recommendations by late March.

In other actions:

• Referred to committee: A construction manager-at-risk contract for a new parking garage at ABIA

• Approved: negotiation and execution of a contract with Webb & Webb to represent the city at the Public Utility Commission in the water rate case filed by residents of River Place

• Referred to committee: amendment to long-standing agreement with West Austin Youth Association regarding use of Lamar Beach and Town Lake Metropolitan Park

• Approved on consent: resolution for amendments to city code that would block an adult-oriented business (strip club) on Congress near Sixth

• Approved: a conditional use permit for a mixed-use development on Springdale Road opposed by some neighborhood reps

• Approved (first reading only): a compromise 13,000 vehicle trip limit on a Garza Ranch tract that would enable development of the final tract on the land – very unsettled and tentative, and to return to Council in due course

For more on City Council, follow the Newsdesk and next week’s print edition.

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City Council 2015, Steve Adler

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