Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

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Steve Adler
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Steve Adler » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:30 pm

Our city is in danger of permanently losing key players in some of our most important industry sectors – live music & art venues, restaurants & bars, and childcare. These are some of the hardest hit and most vulnerable sectors in our city. They are also key to our culture and our path to best recover from the economic disruption of the virus.

The federal assistance provided to date, and the direct relief funds that the City has provided, are insufficient to meet their needs and are now largely depleted. We have to keep trying to find better answers to help save them and the extreme impact on our city that their closings would mean. While future federal assistance will be necessary to meet this challenge at the scale required, we cannot only look to Washington D.C..

We cannot leave any stone unturned to save these vital economic sectors, which are so critical to Austin's economic and cultural infrastructure. Council Members Flannigan, Pool, Tovo and I are bringing a resolution on the 9/17 meeting - Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (SAVES) (http://www.austintexas.gov/department/c ... eg.htm#062)- that directs staff to re-double their efforts to research and identify any funding opportunities that we have not yet fully explored.

We’re asking staff to look at the obvious and not so obvious possible sources of financial support. We’re asking staff to be creative. (Without limitation, and only to start the conversation, perhaps we can look at possible revenue streams in new ways? Maybe there are items in budgets, like ordering swag as raised by CM Tovo this past week, that we could put off for a year? Maybe we could do Chapter 380 agreements on a site-specific basis to save iconic businesses or venues that would be damaging to our city if lost? Maybe we could finance the purchase of more items that we were going to pay cash for, like we did with radios during the budget process? While the Council is not being asked to commit to any specific source, let’s really focus, again, on all we might do.)

We should try to be equally creative in exploring and identifying additional ways that the city can provide support to these sectors in addition to the funding and financing options.

Additionally, we’re asking the Manager to plan now for the distribution of any new federal or state funding that might become available later so that SAVES assistance may be quickly administered.

We know that the urgency and this focus is shared by us all. We would welcome your sponsorship, support and input.

S
Mayor

Alison Alter
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:52 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Alison Alter » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:33 pm

Mayor Adler and colleagues,

I share the sense of urgency surrounding the future of these vital economic sectors and would like to join you in co-sponsoring this resolution. I will continue to brainstorm over the next few days some additions to this resolution. For now, let me add that we anticipate an additional $1,000,000 already allocated funds in childcare subsidies direct to families which will provide some assistance to the childcare sector (albeit far short of the need). Second, I think it would be useful for the City Manager to draw from the insights of the various economic recovery advisory panels related to these sectors and to mine the application data from the recently completed small business grant process (formerly recognized as CLEAR grants) and the Creative Space Disaster Relief program - see atxrecovers.org for the related dashboards that underscore the need and which might be incorporated in the whereas clauses. Third, I would suggest we consider extension of the AISD food distribution program which is deploying restaurants to meet a clear need for food in the community. Fourth, I wonder if we could consider some sales tax revenue deferrals.

Thank you for brining forward this timely resolution.

Regards,
Alison Alter
Council Member, District 10

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Ann Kitchen » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:30 pm

Mayor Adler, CM Tovo, Pool, Flannigan

Please add me as a co-sponsor for this resolution for the 9/17 meeting - Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (SAVES) (http://www.austintexas.gov/department/c ... eg.htm#062)

I share the urgency of additional help as these are among our most hardest hit and vulnerable sectors - live music & art venues, restaurants & bars, and childcare. They form the backbone of what makes Austin special and losing them will impact our economic recovery and our status as a city that people want to visit and call special.

I want to emphasize that speed, creativity, and the willingness to postpone or delay some initiatives may be necessary to help these entities survive.

And I agree with the Mayor and Councilmembers that "We cannot leave any stone unturned to save these vital economic sectors, which are so critical to Austin's economic and cultural infrastructure." This resolution directs staff to re-double their efforts to research and identify any funding opportunities that we have not yet fully explored.

I will be looking for action quickly - and believe we must target our October 1st Council meeting to vote on any actions that require Council approval to proceed.

Thank you to city staff and the community for efforts to date to assist these sectors. Let's redouble our efforts and help save these important Austin institutions.

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

Paige Ellis
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Paige Ellis » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:59 pm

Mayor Adler, CMs Flannigan, Tovo, and Pool,

Please add me as a cosponsor for this important item. The spaces we have in Austin for music, art, restaurants, and bars make Austin home. We have already lost some of our most beloved venues, and many others are barely hanging on. If we want to come out of this pandemic recognizing the city we know and love, we need to know we did everything we could to protect these spaces and the employees who rely on them. I have researched how to best utilize any potential resources to help our music, creative, and restaurant venues. I’d appreciate staff’s help in identifying all possible options and a conversation about how we can best support these businesses.

I feel it’s important to note that earlier today, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) organized to motivate Congress to pass the HEROES Act to ensure they can continue providing for themselves and their families until they can safely go back to work. They say their work was among the first to be shut down and will be among the last to reopen. I want to make sure our venues are still here for them to return safely. As you are aware, many venues have not qualified yet for federal or local relief funding opportunities.

Thank you,
Paige Ellis
Paige Ellis
Council Member, District 8

Marti Bier
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:43 am

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Marti Bier » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:39 am

posting on behalf of CM Flannigan
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Mayor and all,

I am glad to be a part of this resolution to continue confronting the economic fallout from the pandemic. I am working on some additional language that I will bring next week to further address equity issues and some of the struggling industries in symbiotic relationships with the larger venue framework.

-Jimmy
Chief of Staff
Office of Council Member Flannigan, District 6

Steve Adler
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Steve Adler » Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:26 pm

Colleagues,

The support for the SAVES resolution to assist the threatened industries and businesses that, if lost, will most impact our recovery is appreciated. Glad to add Council Members Kitchen, Ellis and Alter to the initial sponsors, Council Members Flannigan, Pool, Tovo and me. We look forward to the work the whole dais will do, as foreshadowed with the other message board posts.

We all wish we could do more and continue to struggle with the limited resources cities have as compared to the real need which is so much greater. We will each continue advocating for action at the Federal level to assist these key sectors. It’s the only way to really scale solutions to the need. I concur with Council Member Ellis’ mention of the need for the HEROES Act and its STAGE component. And, we know we must do more than just wait for that assistance – we must continue to be creative and innovative and try to come up with new things to examine and try.

Without limiting the broad scope of the SAVES resolution, the idea of using current sales tax overages to launch and seed the economic development corporation may provide a way to achieve the purpose. I’ll be bringing an amendment to IFC #62 to make sure this is one of the ideas that is examined immediately for possible rapid deployment. (Redline: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 160738.pdf Amendment: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 61557.docx)

It may well be that the Austin Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), for which many of us have been advocating over the last several years, could come back to Council for formation as early as the end of the month. It could be that, if we seed that entity with some directed funding, it might be able to step in quickly and leverage that funding to help save at least some of the most at-risk and critical components of our economy, civic infrastructure, character, culture and brand that will be forever lost or whose return will be unduly delayed with the devastating impact on Austin’s pandemic recovery unless we intervene. We need staff and our consultant quickly to evaluate the immediate and emergency use of this tool.

We are in a position to try this both because the prior work on the AEDC has it coming forward now and because there is funding we could access. While the economic situation for many of our neighbors and critical industries has been devastating, relatively speaking some of Austin’s economy has fared better than we had anticipated. Even as way too many in our community remain out of work, our region’s July unemployment rate of 6.7% ranked as the third lowest among large metropolitan areas nationwide. While our sales tax projections are down, year over year, they are also coming in better than our revised pandemic projections at the beginning of this crisis. My understanding is that Austin has collected almost $12 Million more in sales tax revenue than was projected, with two months still remaining to be reported in this current fiscal year (which could raise or lower this overage).

Normally, these funds would roll over into next year’s budget and specifically into the Budget Stabilization Reserve Fund. I support that policy as our normal practice, but when faced with the imminent loss of several key components of our infrastructure that could extend or limit our recovery, I believe it prudent for the Council to give the City Manager direction to examine and ready for Council consideration the utilization of all or a substantial part of the sales tax collections overage for relief targeted under IFC #62 (and prior resolutions) using the AEDC if that could be one of the most effective ways of deploying and leveraging this assistance funding to avoid permanent closure and loss. Initial conversations with staff, stakeholders and consultants suggest this approach has promise.

Without preventing the important long-term work of the AEDC, this Amendment asks the City Manager to prioritize consideration of this tool for relief efforts to ensure assistance both meaningful in amount and targeted in focus to those businesses and industries under the most duress and most critical to the recovery and sustainability of our city and our working families.

I look forward to discussing this and other proposals with you next week.
S
Mayor

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Ann Kitchen » Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:52 pm

Colleagues

I support the amendments that the Mayor posted related to the Economic Development Organization and to the use of higher than anticipated sales tax to help address this urgent and pressing need - the imminent danger of permanently losing key players in some of our most important industry sectors – live music & art venues, restaurants & bars, and childcare. While I agree that normally, excess sales taxes would roll over into next year’s budget and specifically into the Budget Stabilization Reserve Fund - this is not the time to put funding aside for the future. It is needed now.

In keeping with the intent of Item #62 and the urgency of the situation, I am proposing an amendment for staff to examine an additional option. State statute allows HOT tax to be used for acquisition and support of visitor information centers and provides discretion for cities to decide what that looks like. I am proposing we examine that option also.

It is time for Austin to be creative. It is time for us to consider how the HOT tax provision could support local businesses unique to Austin, that promote tourism and the hotel and convention industry by defining the character and brand that is Austin.

It is time for us to think broadly and examine all potential options. As the Mayor said - we need to continue to push for federal solutions. But we cannot stand by while these entities fail - and so must examine what Austin can do. And than means a combination of approaches most likely.

I appreciate all the work that my colleagues have done to date. Item 62 builds on the efforts we passed earlier this summer and the initiatives my colleagues have brought forward.

Best
Ann Kitchen
City Council D5

Link to Amendment:
http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 120231.pdf

Amendment to Item 62
Motion for Amendment:
I move to add the following:
WHEREAS, culinary, arts, music, and retail businesses founded in Austin,
and unique to Austin, promote tourism and the hotel and convention industry by
defining that character and brand as one filled with distinctive experiences for
visitors found only in Austin and the loss of those contributing essential talents and
businesses would have negative impacts to the City’s ability to quickly recover;
and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,
The City Manager is directed to explore creation of a Visitor Information Center
Acquisition fund, with a target amount of at least $10 million, to be drawn from
HOT funding.
The Visitor Information Center Acquisition Fund would be made available to
purchase acknowledged tourism assets, such as music and arts venues, under risk
of demolition or change in business type, and solicit experienced operators who
would maintain the historic name and businesses as Visitor Information Centers, as
defined by Tex. Tax Code, Section 351.101(a)(1), and equip them as such.
The Visitor Information Center Acquisition Fund is to be made available to the
Economic Development Organization, once operational, as an initial project for
consideration.
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

Marti Bier
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:43 am

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Marti Bier » Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:36 am

posting on behalf of CM Flannigan
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Colleagues,

As noted last week, I have put together some language that further addresses equity issues and some of the additional struggling industries connected to those in the resolution. You can find my amendment language here: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 081435.pdf
I will send it out through the clerk's office as well.

Thank you,
Jimmy
Chief of Staff
Office of Council Member Flannigan, District 6

Shannon Halley
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:27 am

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Shannon Halley » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:05 pm

Below please find two amendments CM Tovo plans to bring forward Thursday:

Insert the following Whereas:

WHEREAS, City Council has passed several resolutions to provide relief to musicians and music venues, including Resolution No. 20200409-086, directing the City Manager to create the Live Music Disaster Relief Fund and to explore the development of a live music portal; and Resolution No. 20200521-096, directing the City Manager to explore multiple strategies to provide support for the Red River Cultural District and other live music venues affected by the pandemic, including expediting final creation of the Economic Development Corporation, considering the reduction of fees associated with patio cafes, renovations, and other costs, and identifying opportunities for Transfer of Development Rights and facility acquisitions;

Insert the following BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

The Council directs the City Manager to return to Council at the next meeting with an ordinance to place into a designated fund the following payments: temporary use of right-of-way fees, alley vacation sales payments, street vacation sales [since these go to ATD] from Downtown development projects located outside the Rainey Street Historic District and Subdistrict (as shown on the attached Exhibit 1) for a period of two years. The Fund will be used to provide relocation assistance to businesses displaced as part of any future convention center expansion and to provide financial relief to the most vulnerable and at-risk live music and arts venues, restaurants, bars affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as feasible, the Fund should reside within the Economic Development Entity.
Senior Policy Advisor
Office of Kathie Tovo, District 9

Leslie Pool
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:22 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Leslie Pool » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:12 pm

Colleagues, I believe CM Flannigan spoke to this just now, so he & I may be bringing similar amendments. My staff is preparing text to insert on the appropriate line our intention to include staging companies, artist service organizations, and studio spaces. These local businesses are key components of Austin's cultural ecosystem.

I will also urge direction to staff that, as they draft criteria for these funds, they include input from the very entities we intend this relief to help, and that the City’s approval process for these funds be procedurally proper and sufficient and not add obstacles or delays to the distribution.

Thanks.
Leslie Pool
Council Member, District 7

Shannon Halley
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:27 am

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Shannon Halley » Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:08 pm

Please find below a revised motion for item 62:

Insert the following BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

The Council directs the City Manager to return to Council by October 1, 2020, with an ordinance to place into a designated fund the following payments: temporary use of right-of-way fees, alley and street vacation sales, and revenue from encroachment agreements from Downtown development projects located outside the Rainey Street Historic District and Subdistrict (as shown on the attached Exhibit 1) for a period of two years. The Fund will be used to provide relocation assistance to businesses displaced as part of any future convention center expansion and to provide financial relief in the near term and as soon as possible to the most vulnerable and at-risk live music and arts venues, restaurants, bars affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as feasible, the Fund should be transferred and reside within the Economic Development Entity.

Link to Rainey Street Historic DIstrict and Subdistrict (Exhibit 1):
https://www.austintexas.gov/edims/docum ... ?id=330651
Senior Policy Advisor
Office of Kathie Tovo, District 9

Greg Casar
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:20 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Greg Casar » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:16 pm

Thank you Mayor, CMs Flannigan, Tovo, and Pool for bringing forward this important item. Please add me as a cosponsor as well.

-Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

Louisa Brinsmade
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:27 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Louisa Brinsmade » Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:57 pm

On behalf of Council Member Pool:

Colleagues,
Thank you to those who have joined us in this effort and who have added their thoughts and amendments to the resolution; I look forward to a very positive discussion tomorrow.

Following up on my post, I have crafted an amendment adding a few music and arts sector business types to our list to be considered eligible for assistance: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 164655.pdf

I will also be adding direction to staff I mentioned in the previous post that, as they draft criteria for these funds, they include input from stakeholders, that the City’s approval process for these funds be procedurally proper and sufficient, that all efforts be taken to choose a local administrator with knowledge of our Austin community, and that staff avoid unnecessary obstacles or delays to funds distribution.

Again, I look forward to our discussion tomorrow.

Leslie
Policy Advisor
Office of Leslie Pool, Council Member District 7

Eric Byrd
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:38 am

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Eric Byrd » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:34 pm

On behalf of Council Member Harper-Madison:

Colleagues,

Thank you for bringing forward this item. It's imperative that we protect these incredibly important sectors of our city. Please add me as a co-sponsor.
Chief of Staff, District 1

Steve Adler
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Steve Adler » Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:37 am

Colleagues:

It is encouraging for us to see the support in the community for passage of the SAVES resolution, Item 62, and we welcome you that have joined as sponsors.

This message is to post a revised Item 62 (Rev 2) that I will move as the base motion. It’s in redline showing changes to what I posted on Sunday and laid out at Tuesday's work session, and it also includes (sometimes with word or format changes) partially if not all of the amendments that were posted by Tovo, Flannigan, and Kitchen.

http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 083317.pdf

We can discuss this after it’s been moved and we will consider any further amendments or changes offered,

S
Mayor

Shannon Halley
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:27 am

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Shannon Halley » Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:50 am

Below please find a revised motion from CM Tovo:

Revised Motion (9.17.20)
Item 62 (SAVES)


Insert the following Whereas:

WHEREAS, City Council has passed several resolutions to provide relief to musicians and music venues, including Resolution No. 20200409-086, directing the City Manager to create the Live Music Disaster Relief Fund and to explore the development of a live music portal; and Resolution No. 20200521-096, directing the City Manager to explore multiple strategies to provide support for the Red River Cultural District and other live music venues affected by the pandemic, including expediting final creation of the Economic Development Corporation, considering the reduction of fees associated with patio cafes, renovations, and other costs, and identifying opportunities for Transfer of Development Rights and facility acquisitions;

Insert the following BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

The Council expresses its intent to approve an ordinance on October 1, 2020, to place into a designated Business Preservation Fund the following payments: temporary use of right-of-way fees up to $1 million, alley and street vacation sales, and revenue from encroachment agreements from Downtown development projects located outside the Rainey Street Historic District and Subdistrict (as shown on the attached Exhibit 1) for a period of two years.

The Council further expresses its intent to bring forward associated budget amendments on October 1, 2020, to effect the transfer of some existing funds that fall within the above categories so that staff can provide as much immediate relief as possible.

In addition to providing relocation assistance to businesses displaced as part of any future convention center expansion, the Business Preservation Fund will provide financial relief in the near term and as soon as possible to the most vulnerable and at-risk live music and arts venues, restaurants, and bars affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as feasible, the Fund should be transferred and reside within the Economic Development Organization.
Senior Policy Advisor
Office of Kathie Tovo, District 9

Steve Adler
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Re: Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Steve Adler » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:40 am

Attached is a motion that incorporates CM Pool's feedback.
http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 113847.pdf
Mayor

Shannon Halley
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:27 am

Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”)

Post by Shannon Halley » Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:37 pm

Revised amendment for item 62:

Insert the following BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED after line 172:

In particular, the City Manager shall bring forward an ordinance or ordinances on October 1, 2020, to place into a designated business preservation fund the following payments: temporary use of right-of-way fees up to $1 million, alley and street vacation sales, and revenue from encroachment agreements from Downtown development projects located outside the Rainey Street Historic District and Subdistrict (as shown on the attached Exhibit 1) for a period of two years.

On October 1, 2020, the City Manager shall also bring forward an ordinance or ordinances and associated budget amendments to effect the transfer of existing funds which fall within the above categories and can be reallocated so that staff can provide as much immediate relief as possible. To the extent that staff have concerns or identify obstacles to these actions, the City Manager shall communicate those to Council prior to the September 29, 2020, Council Work Session.

As soon as feasible, the funding identified from this resolution should be transferred and reside within the Economic Development Organization.
Senior Policy Advisor
Office of Kathie Tovo, District 9

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