AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here are some of the Austin City Council items we’re following this week.
Path to a cadet class (approved)
Austin City Council will vote Thursday on a plan to reinstate the city’s police training academy by early June. The Austin Police Department’s 144th cadet class would begin June 7 if the department can implement dozens of short-term recommendations. They include finalizing replacements for outdated training videos, reviewing the academy’s curriculum and bringing in a variety of community members to help teach courses.
“The City Manager shall not bring budget amendments for Council approval for the Pilot Class unless all steps are complete or will be complete within 14 days of the budget amendment,” reads amendment language by District 4 Council Member Greg Casar.
When the 144th class starts, it will be essentially be a pilot for observation as longer-term recommendations are implemented, according to council documents.
The city says key elements like reordering the curriculum to move Spanish, cultural diversity and oral communication earlier in the training schedule have already been sent to the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement (TCOLE) for approval.
Spending the stimulus (approved)
Council is expected to vote on a resolution authorizing City Manager Spencer Cronk to come up with Austin’s spending framework for the American Rescue Plan, the most recent stimulus measure passed by Congress.
Here is how much money several local municipalities are expected to receive:
- Austin – $195.8 million
- Pflugerville – $6.71 million
- Round Rock – $16.84 million
- Travis County – $247.08 million
Rainey Street Developments (approved on initial readings)
Three separate developers of proposed residential high-rises — 9092 Rainey, 84 East and the River Street Residences — are asking for waivers to exceed the city’s cap on the amount of square footage that can be built on their lots. City code requires council approval when a project’s floor-to-area ratio (FAR) is greater than 15:1.
Members of the Rainey Neighborhood Association have called for a pause to the applications, saying the neighborhood lacks proper infrastructure for increased density.
Winter Storm Audit (approved)
Council will vote on a resolution asking the Austin City Auditor to conduct an audit into the city’s response to February’s winter storm.
There aren’t many specifics in council documents. The documents say at a minimum, the audit will consider the city’s pre-storm preparations, its response during the storm and recovery operations post-storm.
- Approved on consent: Council is expected to authorize a contract with PeopleFund to distribute $5 million in funds through the Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant. PeopleFund would provide application assistance, process applications and administer funds, according to council documents.
- Approved on consent: Council will vote to accept $29.6 million from the United States Department of the Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program requires no less than 90% of awarded funds be used for direct financial assistance.
- Approved on consent: A council vote would authorize Austin Public Health to contract with Equidad ATX, which provides access to affordable groceries, health and wellness and financial literacy resources to underserved communities. Equidad ATX will retrofit a bus donated by Capital Metro and use it as a “mobile resource hub,” according to council documents.
- Approved on consent: Council will vote to accept a grant that will be used for Atlas 14-based flood studies and floodplain mapping.
- Approved on consent as amended: Council will vote on a resolution asking the city to encourage employers to create programs that will increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Another item proposed by city Housing and Planning staff would allow seven proposed affordable housing developments in the City of Austin to participate in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program. According to council documents, the program creates 5,000 units of affordable housing each year in Texas.