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The Five Topics at City Council's Policy Retreat

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Council heads to the Palmer Center to talk policy today.

Think about corporate retreats, and you’ll likely envision team-building exercises. But no zip-lining or “trust falls” are on the Austin City Council’s retreat agenda today – just policy planning.

This morning, the council is decamping to the Palmer Events Center for a “policy retreat work session,” a chance to meet and discuss upcoming topics and initiatives. Five topics are on the agenda:

  • Using the upcoming Comprehensive Plan “for policy guidance and planning,” a topic from council member Laura Morrison.
  • Fostering collaboration with counties and school districts in the city limits, sponsored by council member Kathie Tovo.
  • A “review of past and existing City youth programs,” also from Tovo.
  • “Community public safety goals and resource allocation priorities,” from council member Bill Spelman.
  • A discussion of the structuring of council committees –  groups tasked with delving into specific topics like public health or city finances – as proposed by council member Chris Riley.

Some items are relatively straightforward, but others could inspire some heated discussion. The public safety item from Spelman will likely follow through on concerns the council member raised during budget deliberations last year. Spelman proposed minor adjustments to the Police Department’s two-officers-per-thousand-residents policy, arguing that hiring additional analysts and technicians instead of maintaining a strict ratio for uniformed police could produce better results. The item was not adopted, but Spelman is raising the topic again.
The retreat begins this morning at 9 a.m.   

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