Council finalizes goals for 2013Published 10:35am Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The Austin City Council finalized its 2013 goals during Monday’s work session, largely keeping the goals council members came up with during their annual retreat.
The council followed city recommendations to organize its goals and projects into six larger ideas: support Vision 2020, improve council communications with citizens, strive to be fiscally efficient, become more visionary, support the city’s Sustainability Task Force and maintain a safe and clean environment for residents.
To that end, the city attached lesser goals, like creating good jobs and increasing the city’s population, and its aims of supporting Vision 2020. Coffee with the Council meetings, and improving the city’s website and social media output fall under improving council communication.
The council’s goal of finding ways to collaborate with other organizations and continuing to review each department’s budget fall under striving to be fiscally efficient. Developing an emergency management plan, creating a safety plan for city trails and paths, and reviewing building and zoning ordinances are all part of the council’s goal to maintain a safe and clean environment.
Though the council approved the goals as a working list to continuously improve upon, council members did not set a plan on how to follow through with these goals. Some goals, like the council’s mission to support the city sustainability task force, require more planning and consultation, according to Council Member Janet Anderson.
The council won’t rest on this decision, however. Anderson and fellow Council Member Judy Enright asked the council to discuss the new format for Coffee with the Council, a series of informal meetings council members briefly put on last year, at the council’s next work session.
Raise the rates
The council also increased sewer rates for Austin residents, and updated sewer agreements with the city of Mapleview and the Bellman’s Addition Sewer Association, during its public meeting Monday.
City officials proposed 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 starting in April. Sewer rates would again increase next January, up to a $7.98 fixed charge and a $2.04 per water unit charge.
Public Works Director Steven Lang said during the meeting most households use about eight water units per month, or about $20-$22 in water usage fees. Under the sewer rate increase, monthly water bills would increase by about $1.78 per month starting in April, and about $2.25 more a month next year, based on current water usage bills. That amounts to 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.