ANC General Meeting Summary – 10.26.16
- Ora Houston, City Council Member for District 1 (East Austin) came to speak about affordability, particularly as it pertains to minorities in East Austin. 1000 demolition permits have been issued in East Austin in the last year. A lot of these houses are over 80 years old, but have just not been deemed “culturally relevant” by the City of Austin. The demolitions are reducing the supply of existing affordable housing available to residents. She is urging City Council to address this.
- Bill Aleshire, government transparency activist came to provide detail on two recent transparency issues that he has been pursing. The first was the Downtown Austin Alliance contribution of $400,000 to advocate for the light rail bond. He said the organization is supposed to be transparent about its lobbying activities but was not in this instance. The second concerned $81 million that was diverted from the water utility budget to fee waivers for the Pilot Knob unit development. This was done inappropriately in that they did not meet the requirements for low income housing to get the waiver. The fee waivers were also improperly calculated. A judge has ruled that the city was in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act by not giving proper notice of the waiver. Bill’s organization is now pursuing charges that the waiver happened improperly.
- The ANC’s Affordable Housing Resolution was put up for a vote. It passed nearly unanimously. (SRCC had voted to support the resolution.)
- Bert Lumbreras, Assistant City Manager came to also speak about affordable housing. He cites how city employees are not able to pay for housing (the average salary for a teacher is $48K). Some of the solutions are to use some the land being sold by AISD to house some of these employees in a Community Land Trust. Residents would then only have to pay for the cost of housing structures not the land.
- Fred Lewis came to speak about the selection of the City Manager. An Advisory Selection Group is being appointed by the council. This group will strive for diversity and experience in hiring senior managers. This Council has not yet been formed yet. He urges neighborhoods to push for formation soon to make sure that a transparent and rigorous search process is undertaken.
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