Austin’s newest bond proposal balloons to $925M

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two big items passed the Austin City Council: A bond that added on more than $100 million to the previous proposal, and a mixed decision on what to do with McKalla Place, the north Austin site that could become the home for a major league soccer stadium. The stadium vote came just before 4 a.m., at the end of a 130-item agenda

Thursday marks the last council meeting scheduled before they break until August. 

Here’s a quick rundown of what happened:

November 2018 bond – Approved

City council agreed to raise the bond package proposal from $816 million to $925 million.
It passed 8-3. Council members Ellen Troxclair, Ora Houston and Jimmy Flannigan voted against it.

The new bond package proposal raises the money for affordable housing from the original cost of $161 million to $250 million dollars.

Council members have until August to make a final decision.

New $925 million dollar bond proposal:

  •     $250 million for Affordable Housing
  •     $184 million for Flood Mitigation and Open Space
  •     $162 million for Transportation Infrastructure
  •     $149 million for Parks and Recreation
  •     $128 million Libraries and Cultural Centers
  •     $38 million for Public Safety
  •     $16 million for Health and Human Services

Previous $815 million dollar bond proposal:

  •     $161 million for Affordable Housing
  •     $176 million for Transportation Infrastructure
  •     $167 million for Parks and Recreation
  •     $184 million for Stormwater and Open Space
  •     $74 million for Libraries and Cultural Centers
  •     $38 million for Public Safety
  •     $16 million for Health and Human Services.

The old bond proposal would have raised taxes about $61 for an average Austin homeowner with a house valued at $305,000.

Zilker Park transportation and parking challenges – Approved

This resolution states that Zilker Park would benefit from a comprehensive traffic and parking analysis.

The item calls on the city manager to: 

  • Identify funding for a Zilker Park Master Plan and report funding options to Council by December 30, 2018
  • Research and begin implementation of a possible shuttle system and/or other transportation and parking improvements as identified by the working group and staff by March 1, 2019
  • Conduct a traffic study to be completed no later than December 31, 2019 and brief Council by January 30, 2020 regarding determinations and recommendations for improvements.

Planning Commission charter amendments 

Back in March, KXAN reported on concerns surrounding the current makeup of the city’s Planning Commission. There are 13 voting members on the Planning Commission, including four architects, two engineers who work in land development and a non-profit real estate developer, all reflected in applications the members submitted to the city for the commission. That’s seven people with connections to real estate and land development. But the city charter, which voters approved, says there should only be four members with those ties.

In response to this, a resolution on Thursday’s agenda states, “The City Council hereby expresses its desire for members of the Planning Commission to have terms that run concurrently with council member terms, and for there to be a removal process for members of the Planning Commission, and for such amendments to be submitted for voter approval.” 

The item would direct the city manager to develop ballot language to bring to council by August 9, to be put on the November ballot. 

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