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Council approves permit for Rec Center storage building

The Austin City Council unanimously approved a building permit for the Austin Community Rec Center to build a storage building during its regular meeting Monday evening.

According to Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department Director Kevin Nelson, the management staff of the YMCA at the Rec Center need the building to store equipment needed for care of the outside property and grounds. Nelson said the building will be built between the Rec Center and the water tank.

The council also voted in favor of accepting the results of the Nov. 3 election. City offices included in the results were Austin Mayor (Steve King), City Council First Ward (Oballa Oballa), City Council Second Ward (Mike Postma), City Council Third Ward (Paul Fischer) and Austin Utility Board (Kristin Johnson, Thomas Baudler and Jay Lutz).

The council voted 6 to 1 in favor of the preparation of a fire hydrant maintenance fee ordinance; however, another vote to adopt and publish the ordinance will be held during the next council meeting after it failed to pass unanimously Monday evening. The law states that the adoption and publication of an ordinance can only occur on the first reading if it unanimously passes. The adoption and publication of an ordinance can occur on the second reading with a majority vote.

Under the ordinance, all properties will have a $1 fire hydrant fee added to their monthly utility bills. The purpose of the fee would be to cover the expense of the installation and maintenance of the fire hydrants throughout the city.

Councilman Jason Baskin, who cast the dissenting vote on both votes, said he felt the fee should be funded out of the general fund. He also said that the council committed to a four percent tax levy increase for this year and that the fee felt like a “tax with a different name.”