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City Council Wrap-Up, F1 Trip to England for City Officials

Paulo Martins for KUT News

The Austin City Council wrapped up its Thursday meeting at 3:45 a.m. Friday morning.

Council members rejecteda proposal to build a $5 million temporary customs and immigration processing facility at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

They postponed until August a discussion on ordinance changes for short-term housing rentals.

The council approved putting the 10-1 plan for geographic redistricting by Austinites for Geographic Representation on the November ballot . And they gave initial approval to a "hybrid" plan that calls for eight district representatives, two at-large Council members, and an at-large mayor.

Council members also approved a $21 million-plus construction contract for the Lady Bird Lake boardwalk and gave initial approval for purchasing another helicopter for the Austin Police Department.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told council that APD needed another helicopter "five years ago." He cited the Bastrop Complex wildfires and a deadly police pursuit as reasons why.

"I think that the sooner we can get that aircraft online, the sooner that we can enhance the safety of the people that we serve," said Acevedo.

Acevedo hopes that the council will approve a final purchase of the helicopter and that they can have it in use by next summer.

Yesterday, it also came out that the City of Austin plans to spend more than $5,500 to send city officials to England over a few days in July to observe a Formula 1 race.

Circuit of the Americas is organizing the trip and will pay for plane tickets for two of the six officials, including Mayor Lee Leffingwell, as well as lodging for all. The idea is that the city leaders will spend the time learning about how to prepare for November’s race.

Travis County Commissioners turned down a similar offer.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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