Hitting the Books

Budget Schedule

Council began discussing the proposed budget at last week's work session. Here's the rest of the budget schedule of work sessions and three public hearings leading up to adoption in mid-September. All meetings take place in the City Council chambers, 307 W. Second.

Aug. 19

9am-noon: Work session on bond program implementation initiative, the September bond sale, transportation initiative, Public Works and Transportation and related departments, Aviation, Austin Convention Center.

1:30pm: City Council meeting; approve two-year bond sale schedule; discuss housing initiative, Library, Parks and Recreation and related departments; public hearing on proposed budget.

Aug. 26

9am-noon: Work session on neighborhood services initiative, Health and Human Services and related departments.

Sept. 2

9am-noon: Work session on Smart Growth initiative, Development Review and Inspection, Planning Environmental and Conservation Services, and Enterprise Funds, including Austin Energy, Solid Waste Services, Water and Wastewater, Watershed Protection. (If necessary, a budget work session will also be held on Sept. 9.)

1:30pm: City Council meeting; public hearings on tax rate, utility rates.

Sept. 13

1:30pm: City Council meeting to adopt budget. Should council need to delay adoption on Sept. 13, then it will convene on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, if necessary, for final adoption.

On the Road With the Budget

Here are some of the transportation-related highlights of the budget:

• Traffic Signal Network -- There's more cash in store for the ongoing installation of a new traffic signal system. This year's budget calls for the addition of three full-time employees and $148,000.

• Work Zone Safety -- Installing these synchronized traffic lights requires street and lane closures, which in turn require permits from the city. The budget has earmarked $38,000 for a new position to regulate these activities.

• Bicycle and Pedestrian Services -- Having already secured more than $3 million to initiate the plan a few years back, the proposed budget includes resources to enhance the bike and foot lanes already in place.

• Neighborhood Traffic Calming -- Currently, the city is juggling a mountain of traffic-calming requests for more than 1,150 neighborhood streets. Funding for continued construction on this front is expected to come from a $1.05 million transfer from the General Fund to the traffic-calming Capital Improvement Program.

The Capital Budget

The Capital Budget is divided between a tax-supported general government section and an enterprise section, supported by the city's enterprise funds. Combined with appropriations from previous years, the city expects to spend $164.8 million on these projects:

Traffic Signal Improvements

Traffic Calming

Street Reconstruction

Street Improvements:

Barton Springs Road, Loyola Lane, Rutherford, Dittmar, Manchaca, S. Congress, Great Streets (downtown).

Parks and Libraries:

Completion of Windsor Park Branch Library, new libraries acquisition, design of Riverside/ Montopolis branch, library technology enhancements, University Hills improvements, Design of Mexican-American Cultural Center, Greenways Initiative acquisition, Destination Parks, Colorado River Park improvements, St. John's Joint Use Facility, Chestnut Neighborhood Park improvements, Playscape renovations.

New Appropriations

Here are some of the areas targeted for new money:

Transportation $63.5 million
Social Equity $3.0 million
Neighborhood Planning $0.5 million
Neighborhood Policing *$23.0 million
Homeless Initiatives **$4.0 million

*$12.4 million will come from the General Fund, with the rest drawn from state and federal grants

**Much of this amount will come from grants

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