AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s what we’ll be monitoring at the Austin City Council meeting this week.
Consultant to evaluate pilot cadet class: Approved
Austin City Council approved to move forward with reinstating Austin Police Department’s cadet academy.
In March, council voted to reinstate the academy by early June.
Thursday’s resolution to restart police training also includes a requirement that Kroll Associates, Inc., will observe and evaluate the department’s “Pilot Reimagined Police Cadet Training Academy.”
Kroll reviewed APD’s former academy and developed a list of recommendations and goals for the department to implement in training academies moving forward. On Tuesday afternoon, representatives from Kroll briefed Austin City Council on the progress APD has made on those goals.
How the city plans to spend new stimulus dollars: Approved with Direction
Council voted to use $44.8 million on the city’s continued COVID-19 response. The money comes from the American Rescue Plan, the latest stimulus bill passed by Congress. City documents say the federal funds will be used to continue operating non-congregate shelters, isolation facilities, the alternate care site and the Emergency Operations Center. The money will also be spent on COVID-19 testing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and meal programs at schools and for people who are experiencing homelessness.
$500,000 in American Rescue Plan funding will be used to help Austin-based businesses, nonprofit organizations and creatives with technical support on federal assistance applications.
Casar calls for city regulations, enforcement for mold: Approved on Consent
A council resolution calls for improvement in the city’s response to mold issues in rental housing. The city approved to learn about best practices for state and local government regulations and enforcement practices regarding mold. That includes finding out whether other cities give relocation assistance to tenants during mold remediation. City staff would give council members a report by mid-August, including any recommendations on which city department would enforce mold regulations.
Council member Greg Casar of District 4 brought the resolution in the context of February’s winter storm recovery efforts. He noted there are Austinites still living with major water damage and mold issues months removed from the February storm.
Homeless contracts to be heard: Approved
Council approved a contract with Caritas of Austin to provide permanent supportive housing to people experiencing chronic homelessness and severe mental health issues. These individuals would be frequent users of the criminal justice and EMS in Austin and Travis County, according to council documents. The initial contract period is through September 2023 and would pay Caritas $600,000.
Council members also approved more money for Integral Care ($500,000) and Family Eldercare ($1.4 million) to provide rapid rehousing for people experiencing homelessness. The city would pay both through September 2022. Council approved a $2.6 million contract with Front Steps to provide shelter and housing connections for unhoused people. The shelter would be at the former Rodeway Inn off I-35, which has been used as COVID-19 protective lodging during the pandemic. These contracts are part of the city’s HEAL initiative, approved to offer temporary shelter for people camping in unsafe areas.
Meanwhile, Council member Kathie Tovo and others are sponsoring a resolution to look into putting temporary campsites on city-owned land for people experiencing homelessness.
The resolution, approved as amended, reaffirms the city “create temporary designated campsites with services such as security, lighting, restrooms, and storage,” Tovo said. It also directs the City Manager to research best practices used by other municipalities across the country, look at where to put the campsites on land available to the city and figure out how much they cost.