Council Watch

The Austin City Council did not meet last week. The council returns to the dais today (Feb. 25) to tackle a meaty agenda. The prickly issue of the day may well center on the city's solid waste contract. The city staff has recommended awarding a joint landfill contract to Browning-Ferris Industries and Texas Disposal Systems -- a recommendation strongly opposed by the city's Solid Waste Advisory Committee. SWAC opposes BFI getting a piece of the contract because of the company's failure to meet minimum requirements in the city's original request-for-proposal and because of environmental liability concerns at the aging landfill, which is expected to reach full capacity in 2008. A third contender, Waste Management Inc., was knocked out of the running because of industrial waste buried at the WMI site nearly 30 years ago. At any rate, the city staff want to act fast to seal a deal with a private trash disposal site because the city's own landfill is scheduled to close Feb. 27. In other controversial debates, the Forum PUD -- a proposed multi-use development in southwest Austin -- was scheduled for council action today, although sources say a postponement is likely to allow for additional mediation between opposing sides. Councilmembers will also move into executive session for a debriefing on negotiations on the downtown Computer Sciences Corp./City Hall proposal before the issue reopens for public discussion. City officials have tentatively set March 25 for council action on the deal.

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Council, City Council, Jenny Staff

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