E-cig ban, car-free day on Congress Ave. are on Austin’s city council list

E-cigarette shop in Austin . (KXAN Photo/Kylie McGivern)
E-cigarette shop in Austin . (KXAN Photo/Kylie McGivern)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s the Austin city council members’ last meeting before they break for summer and return the first week of August.

Electronic Smoking Devices – APPROVED
This ordinance amends the current city code to include electronic smoking devices. The city wants to ban it everywhere cigarettes are currently prohibited, such as parks, city buildings and restaurants. The ordinance goes into effect on Monday, July 3.

Creating a car-free day on Congress Avenue
Bike Austin wants to hold a Ciclovia event on Congress Avenue. The event would shut down a 2-mile stretch of the road and make it only for pedestrians and cyclists. Other major cities across the world have done the same thing.

Veterans Resource Center
This resolution directs the city manager to draft a business plan related to establishing a Veterans Resource Center. Back in 2013, city council created the Veterans Affairs Commission to recommend solutions for the difficulties veterans face in obtaining housing, employment, education, training, mental health assistance and counseling. There was a recommendation to create a Veterans Resource Center as a “one-stop-stop” for assistance. According to the resolution, “the Commission found that homelessness of military veterans is complicated by the lack of affordable housing in the city and public transportation within close proximity to employers, infrastructure, and providers of support services for military veterans.” The resolution asks the city manager to locate an office building, invite veterans service providers to have their representatives available at the location and look into the possibility of federal, state, county and private funding sources.

Card entry system at recreation centers – APPROVED
This resolution directs the city manager to develop a pilot program for use of a card entry system at certain recreation centers. The Parks and Recreation Department Resource Allocation Audit was presented to council in August of last year and found that “the current tools used to collect and store program information are not effective, which greatly impacts the reliability of data used in decision making.” The audit included a recommendation to implement a comprehensive program management system to track complete and reliable program information. Think program attendance, costs and the fees paid. The goal is to be able to use this information to make decisions about specific programs moving forward with limited funding.

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