Austin city council to take on library funding, speed limits, anti-discrimination policies

Austin City Council

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council is scheduled to discuss a slew of topics at its meeting Thursday. Here are some of the top items that stick out:

Authorize additional funding for the New Central Library Project ($5.5 million)

The library plans to ask city council to approve $5 million more to pay for construction. The taxpayer dollars have already been allocated to this project, the library is just wanting to use more of that money that’s been put aside, which needs council approval.

It has been nearly a decade since voters signed off on the city’s New Central Library project.

Revise definitions regarding discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, retaliation, and employee conduct

A resolution passed back in March directed the City Manager to review all anti-discrimination policies and procedures. Feedback from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, stakeholder meetings with the Human Resources Department, representatives from the employee affinity groups, management representatives, employee stakeholder groups and employees lead to the proposed language revision.

This includes updated definitions, consistent with best practices, of discrimination, harassment and retaliation in city personnel policies, as well as additional guidance for city employees seeking accommodation of physical and mental disabilities. There is also a reference to the “anonymous complaint mechanism.”

Wife sues Austin Energy after husband dies in 2011 Steiner Ranch wildfire: (Settled)

The Austin City Council has agreed to settle a lawsuit involving the death of a Travis County Deputy Constable who died in 2011. The wife of 38-year-old Kevin Aigner filed a lawsuit against Austin Energy after her husband died as a result of the wildfires in Steiner Ranch.

The Labor Day wildfire destroyed 24 homes. In 2011, the Travis County Fire Marshall told KXAN Austin Energy power lines may have caused the fire, saying the lines appeared to have thermal and arching damage.

Authorize execution of an agreement with the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority to establishment a permanent downtown rail station

Approval of this agreement will help meet the scheduled downtown Metrorail station project deadline – by the end of 2018. The agreement directs the City Manager to restrict access to portions of 4th St. between IH-35 and Trinity Streets. To help close 4th St. for the rail station, the City Manager is directed to begin the process of converting 5th St. to 2-way traffic between IH-35 and Brazos St.

Lower speed limits proposed for N. Lamar Boulevard, E. Parmer Lane

The Texas Department of Transportation’s transportation engineer is asking Council to approve lowering speed limits on the two major city streets.

The engineer suggested the following speed limits:

  • Between North Lamar Boulevard and IH-35: speed limit will remain at 50 mph
  • Between IH-35 and Harris Glenn Drive: speed limit will be reduced from 65 mph to 55 mph
  • Between Harris Glenn Drive and Dessau Road: Reduce from 65 mph to 60 mph
  • Between Morrow Street and Braker Lane: speed limit will be reduced from 45 mph to 40 mph
  • Between Braker Lane and East Parmer Lane: speed limit will remain at 50 mph

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