City manager, Austin Convention Center Study, asbestos testing on council agenda

`Spencer Cronk (left) and Howard Lazarus, (City of Minneapolis and City of Ann Arbor)
Spencer Cronk (left) and Howard Lazarus, (City of Minneapolis and City of Ann Arbor)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the items topping Thursday’s city council agenda. This is the last regularly scheduled meeting before council members break until the end of January.

Lead and asbestos testing and abatement during demolitions

A city audit released in August revealed safety risks aren’t all being taken into consideration when it comes to demolitions. The audit found some properties may not even be tested for asbestos as state law requires. Another concern is the presence of lead paint. The audit states there does not appear to be any process in place to determine whether a building has lead when the city is reviewing a demolition permit application. This resolution would initiate code changes related to the testing and abatement, licensing requirements for demolitions and other recommendations.

Compensation to the city for demolitions 

This resolution would direct the city manager to recommend a process that determines how much property owners should pay the city to demolish single-family homes and multi-family structures. The resolution states, “The loss of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families and residents is one of the biggest challenges facing Austin today.” This would take a closer look at the loss of affordable housing when older residential structures are demolished.

City Manager appointment

The agenda notes there will be discussion and possible action regarding the appointment of a city manager. Council has said it wants to select a city manager by the end of the year. That being said, a city spokesperson says they no not anticipate a decision on Thursday.

Cultural Arts Fund

This ordinance would amend the Economic Development Department Cultural Arts Fund to increase funding by $240,000. This would allow Parks and Rec cultural centers to expand their hours to house artists and arts programs that attract tourists.

Austin Convention Center study

Council will vote whether to pave the way for the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Sustainable Development to conduct a study regarding the Austin Convention Center. Specifically, it would look at “the physical and economic planning implications of alternative convention center scenarios.” The study is meant to help council by looking into factors such as mixed-use development, public and private investment and financing options. A final report is expected in Fall 2018.

Aquatic Master Plan

Council is set to vote on approving the adoption of the Aquatic Master Plan that lays out the future of Austin pools. 

Parks and Rec fee schedule changes 

Last month, KXAN spoke with seniors worried the city-owned space they use for activities will become too costly for them to rent. Because of that, Council Member Ann Kitchen wants to pass a resolution that postpones the implementation of certain fee schedule changes. The desire is to meet with stakeholders and figure out a way to lessen the blow of the increases.

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