All This and TNC’s Too!

First 2016 Council meeting promises plenty of action

All This and TNC’s Too!

The first City Council meeting of 2016 is not until Jan. 28, but the draft agenda suggests there will be plenty of contentious business: health care contracts, EMS staffing, transportation projects, PUD regs, neighborhood plan contact teams, short-term rentals, and (probably) transportation network companies. Should be fun!

The draft agenda doesn’t yet include most Council-sponsored items, but even without them it’s a burgeoning 86-Item list, suggesting the total might break 100 once again when the official agenda is posted (generally by Friday). A couple of proposals said to be in the pipeline – most notably, a continued discussion of how best to “incentivize” public safety measures for ride-hailing companies (e.g., Uber and Lyft) – haven’t hit the agenda yet, and the existing schedule is already daunting.

Selected highlights:

EMS Staffing: discussion of adjustments to administrative ranks are continued from an earlier meeting, with the hope that management and the staff union (ATCEMSEA) would come to a consensus about the changes.

Transportation projects: Council members have submitted their project priorities for the remaining $21.8 million in Capital Metro “Quarter-Cent” sales tax funding – staff is expected to bring the full list to the dais for final approval.

PUD zoning: Previously unzoned lands (e.g., the state land underlying the Grove PUD) need only a Council majority to approve a PUD plan rejected by the Planning Commission; Grove neighbors are pushing for a super-majority (the standard for land already zoned).

NPCT regs: Neighborhood plan contact teams – with official authority to speak for neighborhoods – are embattled in some areas, with few established procedures to allow oversight or enforcement. Here’s an attempt to write some.

• If they get through all that (and plenty more), short-term rentals are currently the final agenda item (that could change). These are the revised regs, limiting STR's, that seem to have a (wobbly) Council consensus.

TNC’s (aka “ridesharing”) companies don’t currently appear on the agenda, but there’s plenty going on behind the scenes: Uber and Lyft are underwriting an extensive petition campaign to block any stronger ordinance, and Mayor Steve Adler is scrambling to find a middle ground that will accommodate the companies while satisfying a Council majority that voted to include fingerprinting for drivers – under rules still to be written. Council members have been reluctant to sign on to the mayor’s compromises – we’ll see if that changes by next week.

For more, follow the Daily News and this week’s print edition.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More City Council 2016
Council: Robert Rules, OK?
Council Wrap Feb. 16
Plaza Saltillo inches forward, Capitol views move East, and tears flow

Michael King, Feb. 20, 2017

Council: Tuesday Work Session … & Then Some
Council Preview
Grove public hearing and briefings extend the working agenda

Michael King, Dec. 6, 2016

More by Michael King
Dana DeBeauvoir Fought for Election Access in a Year of Barriers
Dana DeBeauvoir Fought for Election Access in a Year of Barriers

Nov. 27, 2020

Texas Book Festival 2020: Isabel Wilkerson on <i>Caste</i>
Texas Book Festival 2020: Isabel Wilkerson on Caste
Festival talk highlights structural foundations of U.S. divisions

Nov. 17, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

City Council 2016

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle