City council takes up housing discrimination suit, budget hearing

Dozens gathered Wednesday to protest housing discrimination (KXAN Photo)
Dozens gathered Wednesday to protest housing discrimination (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s a quick rundown of the items topping Austin’s city council agenda Thursday:

New special events and high capacity event venues rules
Council will consider approving the second and third reading of an ordinance related to right-of-way closures, requirements for temporary food establishments during special events, street closures and penalties.

Aquatic Master Plan 
It’s back to the drawing board with a whole new task force if council approves a resolution to create a group of people to analyze and provide recommendations on the recently released Aquatic Master Plan. Bottom line? Several council members are unhappy with the plan’s recommendation to close some neighborhood pools.

Housing discrimination based on source of income 
As KXAN reported Wednesday, council is expected to vote on a resolution to sue the state for housing discrimination. Housing advocates rallied outside city hall Wednesday in support of the move. At issue is Senate Bill 267, which became law in 2015. The city says it prohibits local ordinances that protect people from being denied housing because they rely on federal housing assistance as a source of income. Advocates say people who receive federal housing vouchers, many of them disabled, are limited to just 6 percent of available units in the Austin rental market.

Gentrification, displacement, and mapping community vulnerability study
This item would direct the city manager to negotiate an Interlocal Agreement with the University of Texas at Austin related to gentrification study. The resolution states the study should map vulnerable neighborhoods and come with policy recommendations. The study should be completed on or before Aug. 31, 2018 with a maximum of $62,000 dedicated to the study.

Conduct a public hearing on the proposed budget
This is the first of two opportunities at city council meetings to give members and the mayor a piece of your mind when it comes to the budget.

Conduct a public hearing on the proposed property tax rate
Last week we told you Austin is considering a “tax swap” with the Austin Independent School District. The proposal calls for raising city property taxes to offset school taxes in AISD and six other districts that are in the city of Austin limits. It would work as a tax swap with AISD to reduce some of the funds that go to the state to be given to less property-rich school districts across Texas.

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