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As 10-1 Council Steps Forward, Meet the New Committees

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Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT
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Austin's City Council holds a rare work session today before tomorrow's scheduled council meeting.

The new 10-1 Austin City Council will gavel in for its first regular meeting this week, and one of their ambitions is to be a more open, efficient council. To that end, they've indicated they want to move much of the nuts and bolts of policy-making to council committees, much in the way the state legislature works. The number of committees proposed is a big jump, from eight to at least 14 so far.

Here's what we know so far about the different committees:

  • Audit: This committee would deal with "audit reports, bond oversight, citizen commission oversight, purchasing and contract audits."
  • Finance: This committee would cover" financial policies, bond programs, retirement systems, employee benefits, banking/investment policies, performance metrics/reporting, bond oversight, budget alignment with priorities, policy impact on affordability."
  • Mobility: This would deal with all things transit and transportation: "roads, ABIA, transit, pedestrian, bicycle ground transportation, taxi, Lone Star Rail, TX High Speed Rail, core transit corridors."
  • Public Utilities: This committee would cover all utilities except for Austin Energy: "Austin Water, Austin Resource Recovery, Drainage, Utility, utility / telecommunications regulatory issues."
  • Austin Energy: This committee would be devoted to everything dealing with the city's energy utility. 
  • Health & Human Services: This would cover "equity, social services, education, public health, health care services, animal welfare, targeted populations, sustainable food."
  • Public Safety Public Safety: This committee would deal with "criminal justice, code enforcement, disaster preparedness, fire, police, EMS, judicial/quasi-judicial."
  • Planning and Neighborhoods: This would deal with land use, including "Imagine Austin, Land Development Code, development processes, neighborhood planning, noise, zoning, annexations, eminent domain, landmark review, design."
  • Open Space, Environment, and Sustainability: this would cover "climate protection, forestry, waterfront, heritage trees, open space, parks, rivers and lakes, trash, recycling and compost, sustainability."
  • Housing and Community Development: this committee would deal with "affordable housing, community services block grants."
  • Economic Development: business development in Austin, including "job training, small and minority business development, economic incentives, improvement districts, economic development corporation oversight, general trade and commerce, MBE/WBE contracting practices."
  • Innovation and Creative Industries: this one's something of a catchall, covering "emerging technology, tourism, events, entertainment, live music, film/TV production, sports, library, art."
  • Intergovernmental Affairs: this committee would deal with how Austin deals with its partners at the federal, state, and local level.

The council will meet for its first regular meeting Thursday. 

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