City Council

Looks like an all-nighter

After a few weeks away, the City Council returns today, Thursday, June 11, to a torrential backlog of unfinished business. Here's a tip-off to what the day's looking like: A briefing on the city's $45 million "menu" of potential budget cuts isn't even the main attraction. Take a look:

On the consent agenda, Item 12 marks the return of the infamous $1.5 million contract to develop an Integrated Solid Waste Management Master Plan for Solid Waste Services. Will the management shake-up there that scuttled former Director Willie Rhodes to Code Compliance mean the controversial contract will now pass? Local engineering firm HDR is still recommended by staff... Item 15, alluded to in "City Hall Hustle," allows for a $250 hike in EMS transport fees... Item 16 is the re-emergence of the polarizing proposal to rework staffing in the upper ranks of the Austin Fire Depart­ment. As council postponed Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr's original proposal for five assistant chiefs, questioning the cost, it now looks like the number of assistant chiefs has been downgraded to four... Item 32 codifies new parking regulations created by the city's upcoming switch from parking meters to an electronic pay-station model. It includes free meter parking for motorcycles and mopeds and a minimum parking-time purchase of 15 minutes.

Moving onto items from council, Item 38 requires any member of a board advising the city on development or contractual matters to file a public financial statement and spells out rules overseeing the Public Safety Commission as it transitions from a temporary task force to a permanent commission... Item 39 oversees creation of an Austin Generation Resource Planning Task Force to examine the utility's mix of energy sources; there were worries at the time the task force was proposed that it would be dominated by business interests, but the resolution says it "shall not be weighted in favor of any one interest group or customer class."... And Item 40, from Council Members Randi Shade and Lee Leffingwell, names "transparency as a core value" in the redesign of the city website, ensuring it doesn't get lost in all the newfound tech hoopla over its design.

The aforementioned briefing on the budget development process is scheduled at 10:30am, while a briefing on new amendments to tree regulations comes before council at 2pm; 6pm public hearings include Item 71, an appeal of Planning Commission approval allowing adult-lounge-zoned male strip club LaBare to set up shop in Lincoln Village, across from Highland Mall. And lastly, Item 75 is the 2009 Bicycle Master Plan update, returning for certain council approval after a procedural error kept council from okaying it last month. This meeting's certainly not stuck in first gear.

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City Council, Solid Waste Services, Austin Fire Department, Public Safety Commission, LaBare, Bicycle Master Plan

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