City Council will set its prioritiesPublished 5:44pm Saturday, March 2, 2013
The Austin City Council may finalize its priorities for this year during its work session on Monday.
Council members came up with 11 goals and projects to pursue this year at its annual retreat last month, including supporting more social media/public outreach, restarting the “Coffee with the Council” meetings, creating an emergency management plan and reviewing ordinances that could be improved or thrown out.
The council also appeared to focus on long-term planning, as council member Jeff Austin said the council should become more visionary while council member Steve King thought the city could do better at attracting quality jobs and making area trails more safe.
The council will meet starting at 5:30 p.m. inside City Council Chambers, in part to approve a sewer rate increase starting next month. City officials propose a fixed charge increase from $7.25 to $7.83 per month and a flow charge increase from $1.85 per water unit each month to $2 per water unit will take place starting in April under the proposed resolution. Sewer rates would again increase next January, up to a $7.98 fixed charge and a $2.04 per water unit charge.
City officials estimate most households use about eight water units per month, about $20-$22 in water usage fees. Under the sewer rate increase, monthly water bills would increase to about $24-$26 dollars per month, or an extra $25-$30 per year.
Finance Director Tom Dankert said last month the increase is in response to rising costs to maintain the city’s wastewater treatment plant. While the city usually sets aside $650,000 each year for maintenance and repair costs, several upcoming projects would drain the city’s treatment plant funding in 2015.
The Austin City Council brainstormed 11 goals and projects to pursue in 2013:
— Review and identify ordinances that could be improved or thrown out.
— Form a city emergency management plan.
— Continue public outreach programs like Coffee with the Council. Council members agreed to redefine and restart meetings by April.
— Continue the city’s sustainability task force and work with GreenSteps Cities.
— Find ways to retain and grow the city’s population.
— Support Vision 2020.
— Look for ways to keep the city efficient/find budget cuts.
— Look for ways to collaborate with other governmental units.
— Plan long term for the city’s future.
— Help attract good quality jobs.
— Support more social media/public outreach through online communication.