News from Austin & Dripping Springs
COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE & CHRISTOPHER NEELY
Austin City Council Meets March 4, 25 www.austintexas.gov/department/ city-council Dripping Springs City Council Meets March 9, 16 www.cityofdrippingsprings.com Sunset Valley City Council Meets March 2, 16 www.sunsetvalley.org Travis County Commissioners Court Meets Tuesdays at 9 a.m. www.traviscountytx.gov/ commissioners-court Meetings are currently being held virtually, not in-person. MEETINGSWE COVER member, Todd Purcell stepped down Feb. 9. Purcell served as mayor from 1999 until May 2020, when he transitioned to a council member role, vowing to stay on to help the city complete its budget cycle and navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Purcell said he knew that assignment would be temporary. “I’ve done 25 years of public services. Nothing strange is going on with council; nothing’s up. It’s just time,” he said. Purcell’s seat will be lled in the May 1 election. CITY HIGHLIGHTS SUNSET VALLEY A 9-acre tract of land among three Brodie Lane shopping centers in South Austin’s business district could be converted into a park, although Sunset Valley City Council members said they are still very early in the review process. City Council got a rst look Feb. 2 at plans that would turn the undeveloped land into parkland with a small trail system and ponds. Mayor Marc Bruner said the next step is gathering public feedback on the proposal through a possible town hall or community meeting later this year. DRIPPING SPRINGS After serving Dripping Springs for more than 20 years as mayor and council
May 1 election ballot set inAustin
DRIPPING SPRINGS HEADS TO THE POLLS Early voting in Travis and Hays counties runs April 19-27. In the Dripping Springs ISD board race, the top three vote-getters are elected.
AUSTIN City residents will head to the ballot box this spring to weigh in on a menu of changes to the city’s democratic processes as well as a handful of largely controversial policies around homelessness following City Council approval of ballot language Feb. 9. Voters will be asked whether they support aligning the mayoral election with the presidential election cycle; implementing a system of ranked- choice voting if and when it is allowed by state law; eliminating the city manager position and transitioning to a strong mayor form of a government; creating an 11th City Council district; and implementing a campaign nance system that does not limit campaign spending and oers $25 to every voter to donate to campaigns of their choice. Discussions around strong mayor and ranked-choice voting have been happening in the background for years but the PAC Austinites for Progressive Reform, formed in July 2020, drafted a petition that garnered enough support to put the issues on this May’s ballot. A petition drafted by Save Austin
now to reinstate penalties for public camping, sitting and lying down— which City Council repealed in 2019— drewmore than 26,000 valid signatures to earn a place on the May 1 ballot. Three ordinance changes related to homelessness are also in play. Voters will be asked whether they support reinstating the criminal penalties for camping in public, sitting, lying down or sleeping on downtown and university sidewalks, and aggressive solicitation. Austinites will also see two other questions this spring. One could give the local reghters union the ability to force labor negotiations into arbitration if they and the city reach an impasse. This, too, was brought by valid petition. The other, brought by City Council, asks voters if they support City Council creating the position of director of the oce of police oversight. That brings the total number of propositions Austin voters will be deciding upon May 1 to eight. The next City Council and mayoral elections will be in 2022, and any charter changes would come into play after those elections are decided.
DRIPPING SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL
Place 1: Taline Manassian* Place 3: Charlie Busbey Georey Tahuahua Place 5: Travis Crow* Sherrie Parks
DRIPPING SPRINGS ISD
Jerey Aylstock Thaddeus
Max Hunsicker Kay Kizziar Shannon O’Connor* Tricia Quintero Stefani Reinold
Fortenberry Lynn Henson Mary Janes Hetrick* Stephanie Holtzendorf
SOURCES: CITY OF DRIPPING SPRINGS, DRIPPING SPRINGS ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Austin Police Chief BrianManley retires, says heart was no longer in it
AUSTIN Brian Manley announced Feb. 12 that he will step down from his post as Austin Police Department chief March 28. Manley, who has held the position for more than two years, said the city deserved a chief who was fully committed to the demands of the role. City Manager Spencer Cronk said that he would “immediately start to conduct a national search for our next chief” and that he would appoint an interim chief by the start of March.
Manley said he was ready to take on “the next phase of life.” “I know in my heart that it is time for me to pursue that next opportunity,” Manley said. “And I don’t feel that I can give my full attention to the duties of the chief of police as demanded if my heart is now looking for that next opportunity.”
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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021
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