Bike-sharing, rising library costs on the Austin City Council’s agenda

With Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria in Mexico for the C40 Mayors Summit, a gathering of city leaders from around the world, it could be a quiet Austin City Council day Thursday. Here are the biggest items we’re keeping an eye on:

  • Austin B-cycle set to expand: The nonprofit bike-share company, a partner of the city, will add 18 bike rental stations and 125 bicycles if the council approves a new contract for $805,033. As we reported today, that plan would add stations in the South Lakeshore Boulevard area, Clarksville and the Lake Austin Boulevard area just west of MoPac Boulevard.
  • New library cost increase: City staff is asking for permission to raise the spending cap $5.5 million to complete Austin’s new Central Library. That would bring the total contract amount to $126.6 million, up from estimates of $120 million. It is set to open in May.
  • Interim police chief to be confirmed: Brian Manley, former Austin police Chief Art Acevedo’s chief of staff, was tapped to serve as interim chief until a successor can be hired for Acevedo, who left this week to become Houston’s police chief.
  • Discrimination, harassment policies revisited: The city is looking at updating its personnel policies and employee conduct manuals to include a more specific definition of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, which are prohibited in the workplace.
  • Steiner Ranch fire settlement: The city is considering paying a settlement in a lawsuit over damage from Steiner Ranch fires in 2011, which resulted from power lines. The settlement details have not yet been provided.
  • Wastewater expansion: The city is considering more than $30 million in engineering and construction contracts to build a wastewater line along Parmer Lane, between Anderson Mill and McNeil roads. Once the work is done, the city can decommission the aging Lake Creek and Rattan Creek lift stations, which Austin acquired as part of the annexation of the Anderson Mill Municipal Utility District.
  • Food stamp enrollment: If the council approves a $200,000 agreement with the Capital Area Food Bank, the nonprofit would ramp up its outreach efforts to help more people sign up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as food stamps. Only 58 percent of the people eligible for SNAP assistance in Travis County are actually signed up for it.
  • Asian support services: The city would provide $75,000 to Asian Family Support Services of Austin to provide job training, financial literacy, education and other services to Asian and other immigrant families dealing with domestic violence, sexual assault or trafficking.

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