Point Austin: Beside the Point

What's on the agenda

Point Austin
As the year begins, most everybody's attention is on the proposed city bond package that's looming on the City Council schedule (see "To Bond, or Not to Bond?"). But in its inaugural 2006 session tonight (Thursday), council has several nuts-and-bolts items to decide, including: funding for East Sixth Street public improvement (Items 4 & 5), and a refugee health screening service (Item 7). Potentially juicier is Item 27, directing City Manager Toby Futrell to ask for an attorney general's opinion on city-employee union AFSCME's request to create a contract consultation process.

But the likeliest fireworks will be lit during Citizen Communications, when a string of environmental activists led by Karin Ascot and Bill Bunch will urge a council resolution against Advanced Micro Devices relocating in the Lantana tract over the Edwards Aquifer – a gesture that at least a few members have already rejected as only "symbolic." Not coincidentally, Council Members Jennifer Kim and Lee Leffingwell will be requesting (Item 20) a staff presentation on the Regional Water Quality Plan – presumably in the fond hope of heading off any subsequent AMDs.

As it happens, later this evening the council is scheduled (Item 54) to hold a hearing over the disputed Lumbermen's Tract on Davis Lane – which involves some of the same SOS/grandfathering issues as Lantana (see "Who's Your Grandpa? AMD or Lumbermen's," Dec. 16). (Latest buzz is that the Lumbermen's discussion will have to be postponed because of an incorrect agenda posting.)

The debate will follow the usual zoning backlog, which this week considers unresolved aspects of the Greater South River City neighborhood plan (bounded by Town Lake, Ben White, I-35, and South Congress) and the East Riverside/Oltorf neighborhood plan. Indeed, if it weren't for zoning, council might be tempted to get into real mischief.

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