AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here are some important items up for discussion at the Austin City Council meeting Thursday.
Austin Energy software upgrades: Approved
Council approved to amend a contract with KUBRA Arizona, Inc. to upgrade Austin Energy’s Storm Center software. The goal is to improve communication with customers during power outages, according to council documents. The documents say the upgrades would fulfill expectations listed in the city’s after-action review of its response to the February winter storm.
The contract amendment will upgrade Austin Energy’s platform for outage reporting and supporting communication with customers’ mobile devices, like their cell phone or iPad. The project is promised to enhance text alerts to Austin Energy customers during a power outage.
Council paperwork says while these plans were already in the works, Austin Energy revisited the proposed upgrades to see if they covered the concerns that come out of the February winter storm.
The city’s current contract with KUBRA Arizona, Inc. expires in September 2022, but since the contract amendment was approved, it will extend the agreement for another year. The upgrades would add $925,547 to the city’s contract with KUBRA Arizona, Inc.
Amending city code to offer room for more residential housing: Approved
Council approved to adopt a resolution to begin amending the city code to create a voluntary housing incentive program that allows residential uses in commercial zoning districts.
This comes after leaders discussed affordable housing options during a special meeting last month. Council members explained then that allowing residences to be built in some commercial zones would boost home inventory and drive prices down.
ZACH Theatre repairs: Approved
Two items on the agenda deal with repairs to the ZACH Theatre for damages caused by the February winter storm.
Approved: The first item ratifies a contract with a water damage restoration company to provide cleanup and repair services to the theatre, costing $136,373.
Approved: The second item allows for the execution of a construction contract with the same restoration company, which would cost $569,000.
Council documents say a pipe busted during the winter storm, which caused “significant water damage” to the theatre. “The theatres, theater floors, facility walls, plumbing, bathrooms, entrance area, hallways, and studios all experienced damage,” the documents read.
Paid parental leave for police, fire, EMS: Approved
City council members voted to approve a resolution that directs the city manager to hash out options for paid parental leave for sworn police, fire and EMS personnel.
According to a draft of the resolution, those employees did not have any paid parental leave benefits through the city of Austin before, while their civilian counterparts did receive six weeks of paid family leave.