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At Austin City Council: Property Tax, Budget Hearings; Tweak to 10-1 Council; Google Fiber & More

Wells Dunbar, KUT News

The Austin City Council convenes today to another crowded agenda. Here’s a rundown:

  • Sound off on the proposed city budget, property taxes and fees

Lots of council action won’t happen until much later today: Several public hearings are set for this afternoon related to City Manager Marc Ott’s proposed city budget, which the council is currently discussing. There’s public hearings on the proposed property tax rate, Austin Energy and Austin Water rates, and additional proposed fee increases (trash, drainage, etc.)

You can review the proposed budget here. The hearings are set for a 4 p.m. time certain, which means they won’t be heard before that time.

  • The council may expand a program helping music venues reduce their sound impact

The program gives locally-owned venues microloans to help them install technology and make architectural changes to serve as sound buffers. The idea is to work with venues that are complying with city code but still receive noise complaints. The maximum loan would be $35,000 and would have to be paid back with interest within three years.

  • Changes to terms for the first 10-1 council

Austin voters approved a change to geographic council representation last year.  But voters also decided to move city council elections from May to November.  That requires the current council to make some changes to city ordinances – including changing the start-date for the new council members from June to December.

And as voters also approved staggered terms for the new council – elections every two years, ensuring council seats doesn’t turn over all at once – council is also set to approve “clean up” language stating that when 10 new council members are elected next November, half will serve just two-year terms instead of four-year terms.

“That just puts in some generic language that allows the new elected council to determine who’s going to get the shorter term of office,” says city clerk Jannette Goodall. The council is expected to meet behind closed doors on Thursday to talk about the election changes.

Also on the agenda: council members will also talk about the criteria for public organizations and non-profits in the city to receive free Google Fiber internet service. View a list of the criteria the council is considering. (Update: The Google Fiber item passed as part of council's consent agenda.)   

Additionally, the “TacoPUD”  apartment development proposed on the site of the South Lamar Taco Cabana, returns for additional readings and likely approval.

And that’s just part of the 126 item agenda. Watching the council today? Let us know what you’re keeping an eye on in the comments section below. 

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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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