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Council Wonders How to Pay for Additional Staff

Callie Hernandez for KUT News
Callie Hernandez for KUT

Austin Mayor Steve Adler wants to hire more staff. The rationale for his request: The city's needs are great and need more people to be solved. City Council members agree with that. What they don't agree on is how to pay for additional staff.

Adler wants to hire five new people. And he's offering the council three options. One would be to hire those people "from positions that are already budgeted but are not filled."

The second option would be to grab some sales tax money to pay for the new positions since the city's sales tax revenue has been better than projected.

Lastly, the council could look at exactly how many more people would be needed. Five? Six?

Once that number is determined, council could present a recommendation to the budget and finance committee for future planning.

Adler says the hiring needs to happen soon "to ensure the success of the 10-1 system."

If hired, these five new employees would work under Adler. Mayor Pro-Tem Kathy Tovo is not comfortable with that idea. She says it's "difficult to understand how employees within [the mayor's] office would be able to serve the entire council."

Those are some of the questions the Austin City Council will ask again during Thursday's council meeting. The council is expected to take action on this issue.

Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
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