Item 6 on 2/25

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Steve Adler
Posts: 393
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Item 6 on 2/25

Post by Steve Adler » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:22 pm

Colleagues,

I asked the City Manager to include Item 6 on the Special Called Meeting so that all of us would have an opportunity to raise and include for consideration those ideas and issues that might help mitigate the disaster’s impacts on our residents. The item has broad posting language:

"Approve a resolution relating to evaluating and mitigating the effects of the recent weather emergency on city residents, including their city utility bills.”


As you know, customers of Austin Energy should not see the spikes in utility bills that people are seeing reported in some news stories from other parts of Texas. Austin Energy’s base rates are fixed and any changes must be authorized by the governing board, Austin City Council, after a thorough rate review process. More from Austin Energy on that here:
https://mailchi.mp/austinenergy/news-re ... 34dafa8640

Note also that City staff has already put on the agenda as action items certain steps we can take that should help mitigate the impact for some, including an addendum item posted this morning (Item 8) that is an ordinance waiving city utility late fees.

Item 6 is on the agenda in case there are other things our city should be doing regarding the basic needs and financial impact to our residents. This resolution asks the City Manager to report back on suggestions and issues we might raise. You can raise or consider ideas or concerns. I’m sure we’re all hearing concerns about the city using this period for wastewater fee averaging and about potential high water bills due to leaks.

I look forward to the discussion on how we can mitigate impacts of this weather event on the residents of Austin.

-s
Mayor

Steve Adler
Posts: 393
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Re: Item 6 on 2/25

Post by Steve Adler » Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:11 pm

Colleagues,
In preparation for tomorrow’s Council meeting, I’m posting an amendment to this resolution that begins to list details for the City Manager to report back on. I encourage others to raise ideas or concerns here that can be included into the direction.

http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 155557.pdf

S
Mayor

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: Item 6 on 2/25

Post by Ann Kitchen » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:32 pm

Mayor

Thank you for this posting and for your amendment.

I will be bringing an amendment to add an item for the City Manager's report on recommended actions related to disaster relief as follows:

AMENDMENT LANGUAGE:
Recommendations for formalizing and improving the city's and the community's notification and disaster response systems for vulnerable seniors living in the community and for persons with disabilities, including systems for welfare checks, in consultation with the City of Austin Age Friendly Program Coordinator, the Commission on Seniors, and the Mayors Committee for People with Disabilities. The City Manager shall endeavor to report on recommended actions by September 1st.

RATIONALE:
We have the opportunity to build on and learn from the Senior Welfare Checks that were completed over the past week to deliver water, food, and medical assistance to older people in need in our community. Hundreds of community volunteers reached over 14,000 people, provided support during the calls, and identified over 1,000 people for Wellness Checks and water/food delivery. Our City Staff and public safety professionals partnered with this effort, along with ADRN and many other volunteers.

My office used our learnings from the COVID-19 Well-Check Program last year to get this initiative started. I want to thank the Mayor for marshaling the resources to make the community effort happen, as well as my colleagues who all participated and helped ensure the safety of their constituents.

I also want to recognize the efforts of so many in our community to deliver water to seniors and persons living with disabilities in apartment complexes throughout the city that lost water and power. I especially want to thank the Austin Firefighters Association and neighbors who stepped in to help people living in their neighborhoods

We can learn from all these efforts and build a better, more resilient system for helping our seniors and people with disabilities living in the community.

Best
Ann Kitchen
City Council D5
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

Alison Alter
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:52 pm

Re: Item 6 on 2/25

Post by Alison Alter » Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:23 am

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to make the following motion to item 6:

Amend Mayor Adler’s amendment to Item 6, by adding the following:
*Plan for taking steps within the city’s regulatory authority to mitigate the bill impacts of non-city owned utilities (such as natural gas)
*Advocacy at the state and federal levels for disaster relief resources and steps to avoid future disaster events to the extent possible

Regards,
Alison Alter
Council Member, District 10

Ashley Richardson
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:34 pm

Re: Item 6 on 2/25

Post by Ashley Richardson » Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:10 am

On behalf of Council Member Tovo:

Colleagues,

I have submitted the below amendment to the Agenda Office for circulation:

Council Member Kathie Tovo
February 25, 2021
Item #6

Council will conduct a series of hearings with invited testimony to examine key facets of the City of Austin’s emergency preparedness and response. These hearings will be conducted in alignment with conversations taking place at other Council committees, including the Austin Energy Council Oversight Committee. The City Council will also establish a community task force to solicit information and feedback from members of the public and to prepare a report to Council.

These initiatives will be undertaken to understand the circumstances leading to the crises caused by prolonged interruptions of energy and water, including critical needs related to shelter, food, water, and medical care, with the intent of developing recommendations and action plans for implementation.
Policy Aide
Office of Kathie Tovo, Council Member District 9

Julie Montgomery
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:26 pm

Re: Item 6 on 2/25

Post by Julie Montgomery » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:04 pm

On behalf of Council Member Ellis:

Colleagues,

I appreciate all these amendments to help us mitigate the impacts of the current disaster, to gain greater insight into the City's emergency response to this disaster, and to better prepare us for future disasters. Once we have addressed the current crisis and helped stabilize our constituents' lives, I look forward to digging into how we got here and what we can do better. This disaster is climate change in action. Climate science tells us catastrophic weather events will become more frequent and more severe, so we must ramp up our disaster preparedness and resiliency planning, if we are to protect our constituents better the next time this happens.

In addition to the amendments my colleagues have already shared here, I would like to propose the following amendment to the Mayor's amendment, which adds a sub-bullet specifying that Austin Water communications improvements will be covered in the Manager's plan for a disaster review:
"* Plan for a formal review of the disaster and the response with the goal of avoiding future disasters to the extent possible and making improvements to the response efforts, including, but not limited to:
* Improved public communications from Austin Water, such as more timely warning notifications, more localized, real-time outage information, and estimates of when water service will be restored"

I would suggest that other amendments related to topics we wish the Manager to address in his plan for the disaster review could similarly be added to this sub-list, as appropriate.

Thank you to you, colleagues, and to all our City staff who have worked so hard through this disaster.

Paige
Policy Director
Office of Council Member Paige Ellis, District 8

Greg Casar
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:20 pm

Re: Item 6 on 2/25

Post by Greg Casar » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:12 pm

Mayor,

Thank you for your amendment.

I would like to make the following motion to Item 6 to further highlight and elevate more immediate actions to address our communities' critical needs.
http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 121053.pdf

Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

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