Mayor Steve Adler on Tuesday night joined a quartet of South Austin council members for a field trip to the Onion Creek Club for the South Austin Neighborhood Association’s town hall-style meeting to answer questions from constituents on the issues that concerned them most.

Council Members Delia Garza (District 2), Sabino “Pio” Renteria (District 3), Ann Kitchen (District 5), Ellen Troxclair (District 8) and the mayor each presented on issues ranging from transportation and flood mitigation to CodeNEXT and affordability. The elected officials then took questions from the audience. Here are three takeaways:


On ensuring that CodeNEXT meets the city’s stated goals:

“We don’t have any choice but to do this right,” Adler said. “We will have this done in the first quarter of next year. We’ve spent too much time and money on this process.”

Adler said that the city should know only one thing about the maps that are due out in April: they will be wrong. The mayor said he hopes everyone “takes a deep breath, rolls up their sleeves” and begins building the cmaps the city needs by concentrating density along the corridors and leaving the neighborhoods untouched.


On when the city is going to get money for proper flood mitigation:

Kitchen said the city is lobbying for a bill that would create the Onion Creek Watershed Hays and Travis Counties Flood Control District No. 1, which would provide $10 million in state funding for flood mitigation. She said, this combined with a future bond package that is going to be discussed this spring, would provide a “big chunk of money” for flood mitigation.

“I know it takes a long time,” Kitchen said, “But we’re talking about big dollars here. We need to work on it in parallel tracks in a number of ways to get it done.”


In response to a proposal to audit all of the city departments in order to see “legitimate cost versus what each department is getting”:

Troxclair said this idea was one of the reasons the effective tax rate budget is important to her. “We need to make growth pay for itself,” Troxclair said. “New revenue that the city is getting should be paying for itself so you don’t have to cover the cost of new development.”

Adler responded that City Council is going under a similar process right now of auditing each department during this year’s budget process. Each Wednesday since February, the council has heard from a different department and examined line-item reports for each to see where money is being spent and whether or not anything can be cut.

Garza said the line-item reports should be available for the public to view, and she would work on ensuring that occurs.