Council: Turn Out the Lights ...
It's the very last meeting of Council, and it's stuffed to the gills
The base City Council agenda for today's meeting (Dec. 11) lists no less than 201 Items, which as far as I know sets a City Hall record. And it doesn't end there – another 30 Items are listed on the Addendum, for a whopping total of 231. That would still be a record even if there weren't 54 Items sponsored by Council members: Together with staff, everybody's trying to clean up outstanding business in what is not only the last meeting of 2014 – barring special-called exceptions – but also the final meeting of the seven-member at-large Council. Many of the agenda items appear to be end-of-year housekeeping (the same thing happens to a lesser degree before the summer hiatus), but there's also much of substance.
At the work session Tuesday, Council did unofficially decide to punt 'til next year one of the most contentious current issues, the Decker Lake golf course proposal (at the request of the developers – see "Decker Golf: Not Tee Time," p.26). And they're at least considering meeting both today and Friday; indeed, with 230 Items remaining, they may have no choice.
Some (highly selective) highlights:
• Item 10: the latest update to the Austin Energy Resource Generation and Climate Protection Plan (still subject to tweaking, but closer to a AE/Council/public consensus).
• Item 50: third reading of the ordinance that would ban "source-of-income" discrimination in housing rentals – still under objection by landlords, and a simmering campaign issue.
• Item 104: initiation of the process to create a Neighborhood Plan Contact Team for the Mueller Neighborhood (be careful what you wish for).
• Item 106: initiation of the process to create an "innovation zone" for the northeast area of Downtown, in collaboration with Central Health, and to start moving toward land planning.
• Item 109: $60,000 from the music venue assistance loan program "to analyze urban noise levels."
• Item 113: move to prohibit the use of cruel devices on circus animals.
• Item 114: attempt to develop a metric to use in developing future social service budgets (trying valiantly to set a priority list on "needs").
• Item 115: move to develop a city "quality of life initiative" for students (lowering city rents?).
• Item 125: a resolution expressing support for President Obama's executive action on immigration.
• Item 127: dedicate $24 million from Capital Metro quarter-cent sales tax fund for infrastructure improvements along Airport Boulevard Corridor (this one got quite a bit of pushback at the work session, for the price tag and particular location).
• Item 128: initiate code amendments leading to ordinances regulating recycling for construction and demolition waste (see above).
There's plenty more: incorporating transgender-inclusive health care benefits in city employee benefits package (see "The Right Man for the Job," Nov. 20); the return of the Springdale Farms zoning case; swimming regs for Barking Springs; fishing regs for Lady Bird Lake; a public hearing on Imagine Austin revisions; the Colony Park Master Plan....
All this, accompanied by rockabilly from the John Evans Band, and it's Butterfly Girl Day!