Viral Newz

New council to tackle childcare zoning, Austin water rate study in first meeting


AUSTIN (KXAN) — There are more than 80 items on the first Austin City Council meeting of the year. It will be a first for three new city council members. Mayor Kirk Watson will return to the dais for the first time in two decades.

Here’s some of what we’re watching:

Austin Water cost-of-service rate study

Council is expected to approve a contract with two companies to do a cost-of-service rate study of Austin Water.

Austin Water said in a statement:

Austin Water conducts cost-of-service studies every five to seven years to evaluate revenue requirements, costs of providing water, wastewater and reclaimed service, and rate design in accordance with recognized accepted industry standards. Austin Water last conducted a cost-of-service study in 2016, and water and wastewater rates have remained flat since 2018. The services included in the contract that Council will review for approval next week will help us continue to invest in critical infrastructure and personnel needed for system reliability and public health and safety, while prioritizing rates that meet affordability criteria equitably across customer classes.

Utilities are top of mind for council right now, after Austin Energy bills were hiked twice during the final months of 2022.

Affordable childcare measures

Austin City Council is expected to vote on a resolution that would ease city zoning restrictions for child care facilities. It would also provide financial incentives for operations that build or expand in child care deserts.

The resolution, brought forward by Council Member Vanessa Fuentes, would change the city’s land development code to lessen parking requirements, allow more kids in a facility in both commercial and residential daycares and create a zoning classification specifically for child care services, among other changes to city code.

It would also direct the city manager to create an economic development grant program that would help someone looking to create or expand a facility pay city fees associated with doing so.

The goal is to help create more affordable child care options for Austinites. Child care is one of the most expensive line items for families in Austin, according to Fuentes.

“Which is why if we’re serious about addressing affordability, we have to make sure it’s easier to build child care centers so that we have more child care options available to all Austinites, all throughout our city,” she said.

Disease surveillance system

Council is set to approve a $1.75 million contract to “provide turnkey public health disease surveillance software” to support Austin Public Health’s existing efforts.

According to documents, the software can track, monitor and process lab reports that come from the state and clinical labs around the country.

“The solution allows for the capture of disease specific information related to the case investigation and disposition of these cases,” documents said.

Other items

  • City vehicle maintenance contracts
  • Additional money for fire systems at city buildings
  • Payment and eminent domain conversation about moving city water and wastewater pipes to accommodate TxDOT’s I-35 project
  • Another reading of the Brodie Oaks redevelopment PUD
  • Appointment of members to boards and commissions

You can read the full agenda here.


Source link

Related posts

One dead in crash on US 281 in Burnet County

Lourdes Burroughs

Fatal crash closes SH-130 near COTA

Lourdes Burroughs

1 critically injured after pedestrian hit by vehicle in southeast Austin

Lourdes Burroughs