The Austin City Council met Thursday for its final meeting before the July recess. Council met past midnight and into early Friday, passing several measures, including the approval to move forward with a $720-million mobility bond.
Police body cameras
Also approved was a $17.2-million contract to provide Austin Police Department with body-worn cameras and smartphones. The negotiation includes 60-month contracts with Taser International and the Texas Department of Information Resources' cooperative program with AT&T.
According to the recommendation to the Council, the cameras will “allow APD officers to video and audio record their daily activities while on duty.” Taser International will provide 500 cameras to APD within the first year, with 1,200 more to come over the next three years.
In the wake of the city's battle with Uber and Lyft, City Council also passed an ordinance that amends a code relating to Transportation Network Companies’ (TNCs) data reporting and criminal background check requirements. The ordinance outlines specific data that TNCs must report, including numbers of trips and passengers, total hours and miles driven and progress on meeting public accessibility needs.
With the ordinance, the Department of Transportation plans on implementing procedures for drivers to obtain fingerprint-based background checks. TNCs operating in Austin will have to comply with these requirements in order to avoid penalties.
Taxicab business license
After the third reading, the council granted ATX Coop Taxi a franchise license to operate a taxicab business in the city. The grant is currently set to last four years with periodic reviews. Within the agreement, council holds ATX Coop Taxi to certain requirements, such as holding an operational Global Information System (GIS), compiling quarterly reports and undergoing inspections by the Austin Transportation Department. The ordinance takes effect Aug. 23.
Mobile public restrooms
Council also approved a resolution to provide two temporary wheelchair-accessible public bathroom facilities. Council approved two temporary facilities and then directed the City Manager to identify funding and a process for a permanent facility. According to the approved resolution, the temporary facilities are meant to resemble San Francisco’s Pit Stops program, which trucks public toilets to and from designated sites each morning and evening after overnight servicing.
Pay and benefit increases for city staff
The City Council also approved a 7.6-percent raise for City Manager Marc Ott. The raise comes with other increases in compensation and benefits for city employees including the City Clerk, City Auditor and Municipal County Clerk.