Council moves on STRs, Springdale Farm, and budget
By Michael King,
8:00AM, Fri. Aug. 21, 2015
Late Thursday evening, City Council was still hearing from residents requesting more support for city employees, working families, social services, cultural education, and more. The initial budget public hearings began in the evening, following a long day of regular business.
We’ll have more on the ongoing budget deliberations – what’s in the proposed FY 2016 budget and what’s not – next week. Notably, Austin Interfaith and other advocates have called on Council to re-allocate a large portion of funds dedicated to public safety to other community needs. In a statement released prior to the meeting, AI said: “Austin Interfaith leaders condemn a budget that prioritizes a non-existent public safety crisis, instead of an inequality crisis. Austin Interfaith budget priorities include Prime Time afterschool programs, Victory Tutorial, the Summer Playground Program, parks, pools, libraries and a living wage increase for all city workers. These budget priorities reflect priorities from hundreds of small group and individual meetings with constituents in our congregations, school PTAs, unions, and associations.”
In other actions taken throughout the day, Council:
• Approved a resolution initiating revised regulations of short-term rentals, especially aimed at “Type 2” commercial rentals and “bad actors” who are violating or evading current regulations. City management was strongly encouraged to take stronger City Code enforcement action while the regulations are being formalized into ordinance.
• Expanded the on-call construction firm rotation list from five to 14 firms, after hearing from minority business advocates in previous meetings asking for broadened opportunity.
• Approved the appeal by Springdale Farms for a Conditional Use Permit (to allow a negotiated number of public events) that had been denied by the Planning Commission (vote was 10-1, Council Member Ora Houston dissenting)
• Approved a 40-year lease of a six-acre city site on Bolm Road to Skillpoint Alliance for worker training.
• Discussed, but did not act upon, approval for a construction staging area on city land at 64 Rainey Street for a residential tower project near the Mexican American Cultural Center. Status of the item is uncertain because of pending scheduling deadlines.
Council will be developing and amending the budget through the next two weeks, and public budget hearings resume at next week’s meeting, Aug. 27. For more City Council news, follow the Daily News and next week’s print edition.