Immigrant services, DNA analysis, David Joseph lawsuit top council agenda

Austin skyline (KXAN Photo: Frank Martinez)
Austin skyline (KXAN Photo: Frank Martinez)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several items of interest top Thursday’s Austin City Council agenda. Here’s a quick rundown of what we’re eyeing.

Increase funding for immigrant legal and counseling services – APPROVED

In mid-December, city council directed the city manager to identify emergency funding for immigrant legal services and outreach efforts. The goal was to assist 100 more people a month and consider expanding contracts to meet the needs as soon as possible.

Catholic Charities of Central Texas documents indicate 50 additional client consultations per month would be served over the next year by using $200,000 in one-time funds.

Pedestrian hybrid beacons – APPROVED

The council is expected to authorize and award a construction contract for traffic signals and pedestrian hybrid beacon installations. The initial 18-month contract would account for at least six pedestrian hybrid beacons.

Three locations identified from this contract include:

  • Lamar and Cooper
  • Johnny Morris and Daffan Lane
  • Westbank at Campcraft Road

Contract for forensic serological and DNA analysis

City staff reports that the Austin Police Department receives approximately 90 new cases per month that require testing. This contract will allow APD to process 60. Signature Science LLC will assist APD in the testing of casework that the APD in-house laboratory is unable to process.

By contracting with a local laboratory, APD will benefit from reduced shipping costs and an expedited testing process. According to city staff, “A delay in approving or failure to approve this contract will result in an increased number of untested DNA samples, adding to the existing backlog of DNA cases. Performing these services is essential in assisting law enforcement in identifying unknown suspects, linking DNA profiles between crime scenes, and eliminating suspects in sexual assault cases.”

The latest with APD body cameras – APPROVED

As KXAN reported earlier this week, city council is set to vote again on a revised purchase recommendation. This comes nine months after a district court judge blocked an initial bid for APD to acquire body cameras. A losing competitor challenged the city’s procurement process. Thursday, the city’s Purchasing Department is proposing the council approve a far less expensive body camera purchase.

Deadly shooting of David Joseph – APPROVED

The council is expected to review a settlement in the lawsuit, filed by David Joseph’s mother, Ketty Sully, versus the City of Austin. Joseph was a teenager, unarmed and naked at the time he was shot to death by an officer in early 2016. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June 2016. The family’s attorney has suggested that his client will not settle for a “token settlement.”

Settlement related to man crushed by tree on city trail – APPROVED

The Council is expected to approve a settlement after Andres Navarro sued the City of Austin. A tree fell and injured him on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail back in 2013. As KXAN reported in 2015, according to the lawsuit, the city had marked the tree for removal, but missed their own deadline to cut it down.

Fire services within Travis County Emergency Service District #4 (ESD 4) – APPROVED AS AMENDED

A service agreement would allow AFD to respond to calls for service within ESD 4’s jurisdiction. Council will consider the terms of the agreement, including compensation and the transition of current ESD 4 firefighters into the AFD workforce.

Consider extending Capitol View Corridor protections to East Austin 

Council Member Ora Houston is interested in exploring the idea of protecting the these corridors that have a capitol view. Critics are concerned about how the idea could impact development.

Economic development incentive policies to bring more jobs to east Austin – POSTPONED TO MARCH 2

An area known as the Eastern Crescent, including portions of neighborhoods in the central East Austin, Colony Park, Del Valle, Dove Springs, Montopolis and Rundberg areas, is where the city aims to focus its efforts incentivizing middle-skill jobs. These are jobs beyond high school diploma, but less than a four-year degree.

KXAN will track the city council decisions and update the story. 

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