Southwest Austin Dripping Springs Edition | January 2023


Austin City Council Will meet Feb. 7 and 21 at 9 a.m. and Feb. 9 and 23 at 10 a.m. 301 W. Second St., Austin council Travis County Commissioners Court Meets Feb. 7, 21 and 28 at 9 a.m. and Feb. 9 and 23 at 1:30 p.m. 700 Lavaca St., Austin commissioners-court Dripping Springs City Council Will meet Feb. 7 and 21 at 6 p.m. 511 Mercer St., Dripping Springs city-council MEETINGS WE COVER HIGHLIGHTS SUNSET VALLEY After 29 years of service, Jerry Rusthoven retired as chief zoning ocer at the Austin Housing and Planning Department and moved on to serve Sunset Valley. Rusthoven began the role of development services coordinator in Sunset Valley on Jan. 11. TRAVIS COUNTY On Jan. 3, Travis County commissioners approved $80,000 in funds to provide nancial assistance for 23 local families facing eviction after a city of Austin program that would typically provide the relief ran out of funding. The families are working with nonprots Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and El Buen Samaritano and negotiated a stay with their landlord. The city has an agenda item Jan. 26 to add $600,000 to the program. HAYS COUNTY On Dec. 20, Hays County commissioners approved a $1.2 million agreement with the Hays County Food Bank for a potential new facility. The funding comes from the county’s $44.7 million allocation of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The HCFB is seeking to build a new, 30,000-square- foot facility on Reimer Avenue in San Marcos with the funding. COMPILED BY BEN THOMPSON, ELLE BENT, KATY MCAFEE & ZARA FLORES

News from Austin, Sunset Valley, Hays & Travis counties

Austin Water audit released after incidents AUSTIN An external audit of Austin Water prompted by a string of water quality incidents in the last few years was released Jan. 11. The report found the city utility continues to capably produce quality drinking water and has made strides on infrastructure and reliability. However, auditors said it continues to face management shortcomings, haphazard water treatment operations and a risk of further water quality failures during extreme events. The audit’s release comes two weeks after former AW Assistant Director Shay Ralls Roalson was appointed to helm the utility. Roalson is responsible for overseeing the dozens of recom- mendations for AW operations forwarded by The University of Texas auditors, several of which are already in progress. The audit, conducted by UT’s Center for Water and the Environment, cost around $816,000. City Council’s audit committee will review the report on Jan. 18. WATER DISRUPTIONS An audit of the city utility was commissioned after Austinites endured several water treatment breakdowns since the late 2010s. Oct. 2018

Austin could trade its east side maintenance complex for new parkland and other improvements. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact)

Ocials review parkland swap

AUSTIN Over one year after Austin voters passed Propo- sition B—authorizing the city to swap a 9-acre property for almost 50 acres of parkland— some Austin ocials have questioned the value of the proposed deal that could close in early 2023. Based on the 2021 ballot measure, the city parks department’s Central Maintenance Complex at 2525 S. Lakeshore Blvd. could either be sold or leased in exchange for a 48-acre parcel near an existing city park. The city would also require its partner to provide for a replacement facility, remove an old maintenance complex at Fiesta Gardens and restore parkland there. While voters enabled a public solicitation for the trade, terms were narrowly tailored for the technology company Oracle, headquar- tered on Riverside next door to the lakeshore complex. The 48-acre future park is the former Driveway Austin race track, located o the

Colorado River east of US 183, which Oracle acquired in late 2021. Austin and Oracle have yet to complete the trade. City sta said in December they were awaiting new land appraisals before bringing a deal for City Council approval. The maintenance complex is appraised around $35 million and the Driveway property at $1.25 million, while a new parks facility could cost $15 million to $45 million. The potential exchange drew some unease from o- cials, who said Austin may be crafting a deal that does not suciently value its own property—labeled by former Council Member Kathie Tovo as among the city’s most valuable—and may not meet Proposition B conditions. The city said its appraisal for the Lakeshore land was made at its present “highest and best use,” not accounting for any value likely to be added through upzoning after a possible deal.

Heavy rainfall and ooding aects water supply quality, leads to boil-water notice Zebra mussel presence causes “serious taste and odor issue” in water supply Fire response in Tanglewood leads to re foam backow to local drinking water Demand for water during widespread power outages caused by Winter Storm Uri leads to a boil-water notice Employee error at Ullrich Water Treatment Plant leads to boil-water notice

Feb. 2019 Jan. 2020 Feb. 2021 Jan. 2023 Feb. 2022

Austin Water audit released




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