Packed agenda sends council meeting to second day

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council’s weekly meeting spilled into Friday after council members weren’t able to fit all 150 items into meetings the day before.

The agenda included public hearings on topics that could impact wallets, including decisions on whether to approve tax and fee hikes that add up to more than $12 a month.

City Of Austin FY 2015 Tax Increase
Monthly Proposed Tax and Fee Increases

  • Austin Energy = $2.72
  • Austin Water = $2.62
  • Austin Resource Recovery = $1.85
  • Clean Community Fee = $0.75
  • Transportation User Fee = $0.45
  • Drainage User Fee = $0.60
  • Property Tax Bill = $3.49

Several people signed up to speak to city leaders about the proposals Thursday night, but many didn’t make it back on Friday.

“I was the only one brave enough to come back today after being here late yesterday,” said George Oswald, who like many others, waited hours Thursday night to speak in front of Austin Council Members.

Thursday night council members said there was more than 14 hours of testimony signed up for the agenda. Many people clapped when they heard that, but the roar didn’t last long once the council decided not to burn the midnight oil and pushed the meeting to Friday.

The split meeting resulted in a thinner crowd and roll calls that didn’t get much feedback on Friday. Mayor Lee Leffingwell called for seven different people who had signed up to speak about the drainage fee, but only Oswald was there.

“When I was working for the city I was over past midnight for many council meetings, but that makes it very inefficient for the citizens who come down to address a specific topics,” said Oswald, a former city employee with the Watershed Protection Department.

“I think it’s time for the city to quit battling on this issue in court and make positive changes in the rate structure so that multifamily properties are charged the same way other commercial properties are,” he said, adding that he is concerned about the city’s drainage fee and the city’s legal issues.

Council members will finalize the city budget in a couple weeks. A budget work session is slated for Sept. 3, and the budget will be adopted by Sept. 10. It will then go into effect on Oct. 1.

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