The numbers were fairly close to the spring projections by the budget office, even a little better.The city continues steadily to rise out of the national reces- sion, and there should be money available for employee raises and to add back a few more programs or services made threadbare by cuts over the last few years.
Most prominently, civilian city employ- ees represented by AFSCME have made it clear that they believe the recommended 1.5% raise is inadequate, and they believe a more equitable figure is 3%.
City man- agement and the budget office have described that as “unsustainable” now or over the next few years, but at the first budget work session at least a couple of Council members said they were willing to consider ways it might be accomplished. ■ The next Council budget work session is scheduled for Aug.
Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spun a little faster this week after she told the national press club “I can say with absolute certainty that I will run for one of two offices, either my state Senate seat or the governor.” y The war between UT-Austin and the UT system regents got hotter this week after UT announced it will not fulfill an open records request by Regent Wallace Hall, who is currently under investigation by lawmakers and may face impeachment.
UT Chief Financial Officer Kevin Hegarty cited concerns about how Hall handled documents under previous requests.
(The commission- ers didn’t suggest a funding source.) Similarly, a new coalition of parks advo- cacy groups (“Greater Austin Parks”) is lobbying the city to boost city parks fund- ing another 8% (.75 million), and that’s only one of million in “unmet needs” city staff identified above and beyond their base budget recommendations.
A similar coalition of environmental advocates is asking Austin Energy to more than double its 2020 goal for 200 megawatts of solar power, to immediate backlash from AE General Manager Larry Weis - that’s likely a short-term nonstarter, but will remain simmering in the overheated Texas air.
SJR 1 cre- ates a complicated mechanism whereby law- makers can divert some gas and oil tax reve- nues that currently go into the Rainy Day Fund into Fund 6. 1, the comptroller’s Chief Revenue Estimator John Heleman told the Flouse Transportation Funding Select Committee that, even as Texas’ population expands and road demand rises, gas tax rev- enue to pay for repairs is dropping.
Heleman summed it up: “Fuel econ- omy has been great for everybody except road construction.” That shortfall - and its long-term impact on big business - is why Gov. SPECIAL EVENTS ORDINANCE CALL FOR INPUT Between food, music, and arts festivals, special events are part of the fabric of Austin. 12 the Austin chronicle AUGUST 9, 2013 Classes Per't ies ttf repair's Beadlt Austin. 512.693.2323 SO La CLOTHING -ACCESSORIES' GIFS TAX WEEKEND AUGUST 9-11 Make it Count 2005 S LAMAR * 5 ■ SOLASTYLE.
Some of that flexibil- ity is reflected in the proposals presented to City Council Aug. As proposed (that is, subject to Council approval), the FY 2014 budget would include a 1.5% pay increase for police offi- cers as well as civilian employees (more on that below), as well as certain new programs initiated by Council’s midyear 2013 amend- ments: 24-hour hike-and-bike trails; addi- tional wildfire prevention, upgraded APD forensics; the new civilian civil-service BY MICHAEL ^ (W h OIN?
AUSTIN KING review (approved by Council over manage- ment objections); and paid parental leave.
Note that, because of base department funding, a given percentage increase means a whole lot less money for PARD than it does for APD; almost needless to say, public safety (police, fire, EMS) continues to consume nearly two-thirds of the overall General Fund budget.