SRCC EC Meeting Minutes — October 2018

MONDAY, October 15, 2018 6:30 PM
Opal Divine’s at I-35 & Live Oak, AUSTIN, TEXAS

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1. 6:30 Meeting procedures, etiquette, welcome & introductions of new members
Presenter throughout: Eric Cassady, SRCC President, unless otherwise noted.
Meeting called to order at 6:52 pm.
A last-minute change in location was made, because Joe’s Crab Shack was unexpectedly closed.

2. 6:35 Membership & voting announcements. Reminder that SRCC current dues status is required to participate in SRCC business and actions such as voting and making motions. Reminder of changes to bylaws regarding voting members of EC.

3. 6:40 Approve minutes from September 17, 2018 Executive Meeting
Reminder: schedule for Executive meetings: 3rd Monday of the month; 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Joe’s Crab Shack.
Proposed meeting dates through rest of term: Jan. 21, Feb. 18, April 15

Motion: Sam Martin/Dan Fredine to approve the minutes from the Sept. 17th, 2018, executive committee meeting. Approved=10, Opposed=0, Abstained=1. PASSED

4. 6:45 Report from the President: Volunteer opportunities, upcoming newsletter, possible future EC meeting venue.
Presenter: Eric Cassady, President
Eric is now the president. YAY! We still need area coordinators for Areas 4a & 7.

5. 6:55 Committee check-ins on events/goals/issues
Presenters: Committee Chairs. 1) Planning and Zoning; 2) Historic Preservation; 3) Finance–see item below; 4) Mobility; 5) Public Safety; 6) Parks and Environment; 7) Schools; 8) Communications

Planning and Zoning: There was a discussion about the wording when the P&Z committee makes a recommendation to SRCC, the responses can be to support, to oppose, or to take no position. This idea was presented by the P&Z Chair via email to the EC. It was proposed that all committees can use these terms as well.
Historic Preservation: Our Preservation Chair reported that Russ from P&Z  and Michele from the Preservation Committee were able to attend a meeting with Bickler neighbors. Together with the architect, they were able to come up with a plan that seemed to be good for everyone concerned.  The footprint of the project changed and a breezeway will connect the main house to the addition. Another item the Preservation Chair discussed was regarding notification for the removal of historic houses. It was reported that the only time that neighbors are notified is when there is a public meeting regarding the house.  (This information was relayed to the Chair via Cara Bertron at the Historic Preservation Office.) There was discussion that this sounds inconsistent with what was presented at a meeting about demolition processes. The Preservation Chair shared that the purpose of the meetings concerning demolition processes is to potentially change some city policies including notices, so how and when notification is given may change. The Preservation Committee will  report back if changes are made. It was also reported that the demolition of the hall at St. Eds was released. There has been a request for demolition in the Mary Street Historic District. The homeowner was informed by the HPO that the request will be denied, but initially the homeowner decided to fight it anyway and move forward with the public hearing, but then decided to postpone that hearing. The Preservation Committee Chair was told by the HPO that she would be informed should the hearing be rescheduled.  There was discussion that the owner of record bought the house in February, but seemed not to understand what it means to have a property in a Local Historic District. An idea was shared that a small free library box could be erected in the area. This particular library could make available information about what the designation means and how it impacts construction on houses in a local historic district.
Finance: see below
Mobility: There was discussion about the closing of the exit at Oltorf and I-35. We will discuss this further when our Mobility Chair is back in town. It was suggested that we get someone from TxDOT to come and talk to SRCC. Another member suggested looping in our local elected representatives in this issue.
Public Safety: Our Public Safety Chair will participate in a “Crime Reduction Meeting for the Riverside/Oltorf Area”. He will not be able to attend the meeting tomorrow night, but another representative will.
Parks and Environment: nothing to report
Schools: Travis Heights Elementary Carnival will be this Friday, 5 pm til 8 pm.
Communications: Newsletter – details for editing have been submitted and then it will go to the printer. It should be ready by Sunday.

6. 7:05 The finance committee has a proposed 2019 financial forecast. [VOTE EXPECTED]
Presenter: Oliver Caruso, Treasurer
The profit and loss statements for SRCC were shared. It was reported that the “Capital Projects” line is for Parks improvement. The actual Income/Expense reports for 2016 & 2017, as well as the projected Income/Expense report for 2018 were shared, as well as a proposed forecast for 2019. One larger change in the 2018 budget was the amount for contributions to public schools (increased from $100 to $500 for 2018 only). This change was made as we’ve held a large balance in our account. Another change was the removal of an allotment for legal services. Since we are planning on having a buffer in the account moving forward, there doesn’t seem to be a need to set aside more money. (The legal services fees haven’t been used in several years, which has added to the surplus in the account.) The committee discussed spending a small amount of the surplus. Possibilities were: refreshments for meetings, adding to our potluck, or a projector & screen for the meetings. The members present agreed that spending about $500 for a screen, projector, and extension cord would be a good use of money, added as an “office expense”. In 2018, there was a line item for yard signs that wasn’t spent. The EC also agreed that redesigning the logo for the yard signs and making it more colorful (and listing the website address) might attract more members. In addition, a change is needed from the old signs because the name of the location where meetings is held has changed. The EC also discussed having area coordinators place the signs strategically, rather than just in their yards. Repricing the cost would be important with these ideas in mind. The EC also suggested spending some money to create the Little Free Library for the Mary Street Historic District.

Motion: Oliver Caruso/Mary Friedman to approve the 2019 forecast for the General Fund of SRCC as amended. Approved=11, Opposed=0, Abstained=0. PASSED

The possibility of spending money for insurance for officers and strategic planning (goals of the organization looking forward for the next 5 year) was discussed. SRCC has researched the insurance idea in the past and cost was prohibitive. A neighbor familiar with the PTA at THES shared that the PTA has a policy that cost about $600. That person will find out more about it for us.
The idea of strategic planning led to a discussion about representation of households in the SRCC (using data within the boundaries). We send out about 2300 newsletters, but they are not distributed among apartments and condos. There was discussion about benefits of strategic planning for the NA.

7. 7:20 Update on TXDOT plans to permanently close the southbound I-35 exit at Oltorf Street. The Woodland Avenue exit will be converted into the Woodland Avenue/Oltorf Street exit. SRCC residents are concerned about this resulting in additional traffic on Woodland.
Presenter: J.B. Sigmon, Mobility Chair
This exit has been closed. When our Mobility Chair returns to town, EC members will discuss options with him. If anyone has contacts or experience with a similar situation, please send the chair an email. An EC member suggested we get more information because some special distributor lanes are being designed for Riverside, which may be what is going to happen at this location. If that is the case, there may not be impact on the NA as extreme as concerned neighbors have shared. Email the chair at

8. 7:35 Check-ins on events/goals/issues
Presenters: Committee Chairs/Representatives.Norwood; SCACDC; NPCT; ANC*; SCC*; South Central Waterfront; St. Edward’s

ANC: Our current representative to ANC will be unable to attend meetings through the end of the year. Laura Gass Weaver offered to fill in until our regular rep is able to take over again. Dan & Gretchen pointed out that SRCC needs to officially inform ANC of the replacement. The next ANC meeting is Wednesday, October 24th. More information about ANC can be found at Eric nominated Lara Gass Weaver as our representative for ANC. There were no objections.


9. 7:45 Clarification of SRCC bylaws and processes of delegating tasks, including presenting SRCC positions via letters or presence at meetings, and the significance of a majority vote.
Presenter: Carol Martin, Membership Secretary
Because operating procedures exist within SRCC that are not part of our bylaws, the Membership Secretary requested that the EC team to discuss a few examples of situations and reach consensus on best practices:

  • Delegating: Once the general membership votes that something is to happen, who actually performs the task has been handled among the EC. The president can delegate the responsibility as needed. Examples include speaking at a hearing, meeting, attending a meeting to collect information. The critical point (which is implied in bylaws) is that whoever performs the task must be aware of what the general membership has expressed as a position. Any delegated representative must only represent the position of SRCC as approved by the General Membership.
  • Committees: It isn’t appropriate for a committee member to present a position of only the committee. Instead, committee recommendations are made to the EC, who then discusses the issue and brings forward a recommendation to the general membership for a decision.
  • Majority votes: The outcome of a majority vote by the general membership is adopted as the position of SRCC, regardless of whether the majority is by a large or small margin. When speaking before commissions or groups, it is not appropriate to state the actual numbers with the intent of undermining the position. It is important that a committee does NOT present the general membership’s vote and then follow up with a but…. comment if the committee or the individual has a different point of view. If the City Council ASKS the vote count in support/opposed for an issue, the representative answers truthfully. In some letters, it may worded to say when issues are passed unanimously by the SRCC general membership.
  • The chair of SRCC Historic Preservation Committee mentioned that sometime these cases are handled by having the representative read the letter that was approved by the organization. Before the boards, council, etc. individual residents who speak and advocate their positions may have significant impact and give more of a picture.
    • Sometimes Committee Reps are asked to represent SRCC without being given a letter to read. (It was specifically noted that Planning and Zoning and Historic Preservation Committees are often put in this position.)
    • The discussion during a meeting is valuable to inform the representatives and enable them to better represent SRCC’s position and its nuances.
    • Communication with residents: SRCC committee reps have specific background knowledge that can be valuable to residents and may help them solve a problem. In these conversations/meetings, the committee representatives should make clear that they are not representing the SRCC general membership.
    • It was suggested that we delay discussion of terminology for vote outcome until the PZC is present. It was agreed that this discussion continue.

-Still looking for Area Coordinator for Area 4a and Area 7.

Meeting adjourned at 8:44 pm.

Agenda Prepared by Dan Fredine,
Minutes Prepared by Mary Friedman,

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