Visit Austin budget and the ARCH up for council discussion

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s a quick rundown of some of the items topping city council’s Thursday agenda.

The Austin Resource Center for Homelessness (ARCH)

The ARCH’s current contract expires in 2018. The Ending Community Homelessness Coalitions (ECHO) annual point in time count data showed the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in the downtown area increase 50 percent between January 2015 and January 2017. This item would direct the city manager to engage stakeholders to redefine the scope of the ARCH ahead of rebidding for the ARCH contract. The goal would be to allow the ARCH to operate “within its intended build capacity.”

Visit Austin (Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau) budget

Following a KXAN investigation, two weeks ago council voted to postpone approval of Visit Austin’s budget and marketing plan. Thursday, they plan to pick the discussion back up. Several questions came up amid controversy over the largely tax-dollar funded organization’s spending on food, alcohol and entertainment over the past two years. Council Member Leslie Pool said she is exploring a city audit of Visit Austin’s spending, as well.

Cross Creek Apartments

Council is schedule to approve a settlement in the City of Austin v. Cross Creek Apartments lawsuit. The city sued the complex based on code violations at the property, located at 1124 Rutland Dr. KXAN has reported extensively on the complex since the beginning of 2016. As recently as August, tenants were continuing to fight for basic needs that have run the gamut from hot water to structural safety. The complex remains on the city’s repeat offender list for code violations.

“It’s important in cases like this one, where the property owner does not meet the city expectations, for us to hold them accountable and for us to keep working together with the people who live in these buildings, everyday Austinites, to make sure that they are taken care of,” Council Member Greg Casar said during a rally at Cross Creek.

School-to-Prison Pipeline and Youth Justice Workgroup

This would direct the city manager to put together a School-to-Prison Pipeline and Youth Justice Workgroup to come up with recommendations on non-criminal policies for youth. The workgroup would end at the end of 2018. The item states stakeholders should include, but not be limited to, those who studied non-criminal responses to juvenile curfew violations.

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