Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition | June 2021

Austin City Council Next meeting is July 29 at 10 a.m. city-council Dripping Springs City Council Meets July 6, 20 at 6 p.m. Sunset Valley City Council Meets July 20 at 6 p.m. Travis County Commissioners Court MEETINGSWE COVER At a June 4 news conference, Cassandra DeLeon, APH chief administrative ocer for disease prevention and health promotion, said she expected that booster shots would be recommended to maintain the level of immunity provided by the two-dose Pzer and Moderna vaccines and the one- shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. NUMBER TOKNOW Investment in preventing homelessness Austin City Council will make in 2021 and 2022. Council approved the spending framework, which will come from federal dollars allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act, in its June 10 meeting. $100M CITY HIGHLIGHTS AUSTIN Homeowners in the city will have further property tax relief after Austin City Council voted June 10 to double the homestead exemption from 10% to 20%. This means city residents who reside in the home they own will receive a 20% reduction on their appraised tax value. Seniors and disabled residents receive a at reduction rather than one based on a percentage. Council increased that exemption from $88,000 to $113,000 DRIPPING SPRINGS City Council started the process June 15 to annex a 97-acre tract of property just east of Rob Shelton Road and north of Hwy. 290 that could clear the way for a development to build 375 single-family homes. Developer Ashton Woods Homes is planning the property, which would also have 24 acres of parkland dedicated to the city. City Attorney Laura Mueller said the annexation agreement and zoning agreement could come to council for approval July 6. TRAVIS COUNTY Representatives from Austin Public Health said they are prepared to oer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to the Austin-Travis County community this year if the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recommends it.

Plans for newTravis Countywomen’s jail on pause after criminal justice reformadvocates push back


you give it; [jail] is a dehumanizing place to put people,” said Annette Price, co-executive director of Grassroots Leadership. “By building this jail, you are sending a message that incarceration is better than providing needed resources [for] our community to thrive.” Although Commissioners Margaret Gomez, Jerey Travillion and Brigid Shea all said they were in support of the plan for the new jail June 8, they ultimately voted June 15 to update the master plan and postpone construction of the jail, joining Travis County Judge Andy Brown and Commissioner Ann Howard in the unanimous decision. Gomez said she hoped the conversation would help raise awareness and education of the issue before moving forward. The vote followed calls during the June 15 meeting’s public comment period by more than 100 community members, by sta’s count. Nearly all of them asked commissioners to vote

TRAVIS COUNTY A plan for a new $80 million women’s jail facility in Del Valle will not move forward for at least a year after Travis County commissioners voted unanimously June 15 to have sta re-evaluate the county’s strategic plan to overhaul its correctional facilities. The jail would consolidate women inmates in Travis County to a single facility; they are currently spread across facilities shared with men where there is inadequate health care and programming infrastructure, according to sheri’s oce sta. A scheduled vote to award a design contract for the facility became a lightning rod in June, with groups including the Texas Fair Defense Project and Grassroots Leadership calling for commissioners to prioritize jail diversion eorts over new jail facilities in light of Travis County’s declining jail population. “It doesn’t matter what name

Annette Price, co-executive director of Grassroots Leadership, speaks on June 7.


down any plans that would progress the new jail in favor of community-based incarceration-diversion programs. “There’s such broad and deep opposition to the jail because it doesn’t make sense,” said Amanda Woog, executive director of the Texas Fair Defense Project. “It makes no sense to build a brand new $80 million jail with more than double the beds than there are people in jail right now ... it makes sense to research and identify gaps in community resources.”

Homeless individuals in some downtown areas beginmoving to temporary shelters

MOVING TO SHELTER A group of about 20 people experiencing homelessness living in tents on East Cesar Chavez Street were moved to a former hotel in South Austin in mid-June. Encampment site Shelter facility


As that relocation process continues, Austin police are now in their second phase of enforcing the camping ban city residents passed in November. Prior to mid-June, the city’s strategy focused on education and outreach. Police will now hand out written warnings and citations, punishable by up to a $500 ne. Starting July 11, they will be able to make arrests to clear out encampments. Some arrests were made the morning of June 14, but police say they did not have to do with the planned phased-in enforcement. City ocials said protesting campers on the north side of Austin City Hall had been “repeatedly warned” they were trespassing, and other individuals had to be cleared out due to a construction project.

AUSTIN Around 20 people living in an encampment on East Cesar Chavez Street relocated June 17 to a former South Austin hotel for shelter. The move was the rst step of a program Austin City Council approved in February to clear four homeless encampments and connect residents with temporary housing and resources. The facility that accepted the residents at 2711 I-35, Austin, a former Rodeway Inn, will now operate as a designated shelter where homeless individuals will be connected with rapid rehousing case workers. The three other locations where sta will shut down camps and connect residents with shelter have not been specied.


Meets Tuesdays at 9 a.m. commissioners-court





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