AUSTIN (KXAN) – Just before 10:30 p.m. Thursday, council members voted 9-2 to appoint Joseph Chacon as Austin’s Police Chief. Council members Alison Alter and Mackenzie Kelly were opposed. This came after hours of questioning Chacon, who was named the interim chief in March.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler congratulated Chacon in a statement Thursday night, saying he has “reaffirmed” his commitment to keeping the city and public safe. Adler also said Chacon has brought about positive changes as part of the city’s reimagining public safety initiative.
“Throughout this process, Chief Chacon has advocated for his officers and department, supported data-driven approach to address staffing levels, expressed his opposition to setting arbitrary staffing levels like in Proposition A, and shown his integrity by setting the record straight on misinformation that would question the high level of public safety in Austin,” Adler said in a statement, in part.
Additional mental health workers: Approved
Council approved funding for three additional licensed mental health workers to accompany community health paramedics, as they connect those experiencing homelessness to resources. The funding will also pay for associated costs such as computers, program supplies, and expenses related to client services.
City to pay homeless consultant: Approved
The city aims to pay a consultant to help plan and develop homeless services programs. Austin would pay Social Finance $240,000 under the contract.
Social Finance works with “public, private, and social sectors to build innovative partnerships and investments that measurably improve lives,” according to its website.
Climate Equity Plan vote: Approved
Austin City Council approved its climate equity plan Thursday. As part of Austin’s climate equity plan, the city looks to accelerate its net zero-emissions goal from an initial target of 2050 down to 2040. The equity plan expands the focus into addressing the disproportionate impacts climate change has on lower-income and predominantly non-white communities. KXAN digital reporter Kelsey Thompson has more on the plan.
New water conservation requirements for developers: Approved
Council will vote on new water conservation requirements for developers of new commercial, multi-family and mixed-use sites. These include water tracking and benchmarking and mandatory onsite water reuse for certain new developments. It also requires the City Manager to come back with a report about the impact of these requirements on housing affordability. Read more here.
City attorneys to fight new abortion law: Passed
Council passed a resolution directing the City Manager to provide legal resources to support current lawsuits that challenge SB 8. These resources would be in the form of writing amicus briefs of support in state and federal court cases.
SB8 is the new state law banning abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which could be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Contract extension for homeless housing: Approved
The city looks to extend a contract with Integral Care to provide housing services for those who have been chronically homeless. The services would be for people staying at the Terrace of Oak Springs, an apartment complex opened by the nonprofit in 2019.