Spay/Neuter Policy is withdrawn without discussion

The council, upon District 2 Council Member Delia Garza’s motion, withdrew the ordinance to amend the city’s spay/neuter policy to allow for animal sterilization on the first impoundment.

The item was originally pulled for discussion but was later withdrawn. According to Garza, the council received a memo from the legal department this morning explaining that the current policy is within state law, and changing it could pose a possible conflict.

New Central Library gets additional $5.5 million for construction

The council voted 8-2 to approve an additional $5.5 million for the construction of the city’s newest addition to its library system. The New Central Library, on 710 W. Cesar Chavez St., has cost the city over $126 million, 30-plus percent more than the $90 million price tag voters originally approved in 2006.

The 200,000-square-foot, six-story structure is not the only piece of the project, which also encompasses the construction of a 2nd Street bridge, roadway and Shoal Creek Greenbelt improvements and construction of the Seaholm Substation Art Wall.

District 6 Council Member Don Zimmerman, who voted against the additional funds with District 8 Council Member Ellen Troxclair, said it was deceitful to the voters to ask for $90 million in 2006 but then allow the cost to increase over $36 million.

In contrast, District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool applauded the city staff for their work on this project.

“Literacy and education are really important to this community,” Pool said.

Council closes search for City Manager to shop more search firms

Austin City Council closed its search for a new city manager on Thursday after debate over which type of search firm to use.

An item on the agenda included hiring the executive search firm Ralph Andersen & Associates for $65,000 to conduct the search for the next city manager. The council instead voted to close the process of the search so they could vet more search firm candidates.

A major question is whether to search for executives in the private or public sector. Council expressed a desire to find a search firm that possesses a deep Rolodex of candidates in both sectors. The council will seek further consultation on which search firm would be successful.


Council goes out for bid on 10 AISD properties in affordable housing effort

The council voted 8-2 to approve a $2.88 million bid to purchase 10 surplus properties owned by Austin ISD.

Earlier in the year, AISD identified 10 parcels of surplus land it would be putting on the market. The city of Austin, dealing with affordability issues, saw an opportunity. According to city documents, the land will be considered for the creation of permanent affordable housing, enhanced green space, the protection of natural drainage features and a spring.

Council also voted on consent to support two affordable housing project proposals for two of the AISD properties. The first proposal was from Austin Habitat for Humanity, which is proposing to develop affordable and workforce housing on 12 acres of land directly adjacent to the AISD Service Center at 5101 E. 51st St. in District 1. The second proposal they voted to support is from Foundation Communities, which plans to develop affordable housing on a piece of surplus property known as the Allan Center on 4900 Gonzalez St.