Council votes on housing for homeless, ‘Muny’ negotiations, Zilker Zephyr

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s what to look out for this week on Austin City Council’s agenda:

Another step in changes to old library – Passed

Council will take up an agreement for architectural design services ahead of renovations at Austin’s old library. The total cost is $1.6 million.

The second and third floors of the Faulk Library building would be used for a more expansive Austin History Center. The fourth floor would house additional Austin History Center staff.

According to council documents, the selected firm will provide architecture design, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering services for the Faulk Library and Austin History Center.

Permanent housing for homeless — Passed

Approval of one item will authorize the city to negotiate and execute a $2.25 million agreement with Front Steps, which operates the ARCH. Front Steps would provide 27 units of permanent housing for those experiencing homelessness through the Downtown Austin Community Court’s case management program.

The agreement would begin with an initial seven-month term through September 30, 2020, with four 12-month renewal options at $500,000 per year.

Austin seeks film company to help market the city – Passed

Council will vote on a contract with a videography company to promote and market the city. Over the full length of the contract, Woody Harrison Films would receive $675,000 over five years.

Council documents say the company would document a variety of events including meetings, consumer shows, banquets and receptions.

Documents say “these promotional pieces will demonstrate the City’s facilities, capacities, versatility and functionality when marketing to potential clients seeking to plan their events in Austin, thus promoting economic opportunities and future business growth.”

City departments funding the contract would include the Convention Center, Economic Development, Financial Services, Communications and Public Information and Building Services.

Muny negotiations to begin — Passed

Council will vote to negotiate with the University of Texas to extend the lease that allows it to operate the historic Lions Municipal Golf Course, or Muny. The current agreement expires in May.

Last month the city asked UT to extend the lease on a month-to-month basis but with a five-month notice of termination. 

The City of Austin cited its cooperation with the university on the Red River realignment and its accommodations for the new Moody Center basketball stadium.

More money for Waste Management – Denied

Council will vote on an extension with Waste Management for garbage collecting while the city works to negotiate a new contract. The extension would last up to one year and be worth more than $1 million.

Waste Management operates the unpopular Austin Community Landfill, which has garnered numerous complaints ranging from odor to traffic.

During Tuesday’s work session, a couple of council members expressed concern that Waste Management was automatically chosen by Austin Resource Recovery, rather than city staff open it up for competitive bidding.

Directions to City Manager to explore options to find a temporary vendor to oversee repairs and operations of the Zilker Zephyr – Passed

If the City Manager cannot come to an agreement with Austin Parks Foundation or another non-profit, alternatives would be explored to get the ride operational as quickly and as safely possible.

“The Zilker Park Master Plan, which will be developed over the next few years, may provide opportunities for the train ride to evolve or potentially expand, and we want to have the opportunity to incorporate the train ride into that Master Plan,” said Austin City Council Member Paige Ellis. “Once the Master Plan is developed, there would be a competitive process for future train operations. In the meantime, I am grateful for the many community members and groups that have come forward to offer help to get the ride operational again.”

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