Special Called Meeting Sunday, November 8, 2 PM

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Steve Adler
Posts: 270
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Special Called Meeting Sunday, November 8, 2 PM

Post by Steve Adler » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:19 pm

Councilmembers,

At the urging of Council Member Garza, I have a called a special council meeting for this Sunday, November 8 at 2 PM at Austin City Hall. The agenda will include several issues, mostly technical in nature, which staff is indicating must be resolved by Council in order for city staff to be able to answer questions and address the needs of the Dove Springs and other communities in the aftermath of the Halloween weekend flood.

We are also working with the City Manager to organize a town hall meeting for this Monday, November 9th at 6 PM at a location to be determined, probably in the Dove Springs area, but inviting all folks impacted by the flood. We will post public notice of this town hall meeting so that all Council Members may attend.

We need to decide whether and how the council should allow public testimony at the special called meeting this Sunday. Since Council will be considering mostly technical matters at the special-called meeting, and because there will be a meeting devoted to public engagement the following night, we may wish to postpone public testimony to the town hall meeting Monday evening. Please respond with your suggestions on how to handle this matter.

s
Mayor

Don Zimmerman
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:05 am

Re: Special Called Meeting Sunday, November 8, 2 PM

Post by Don Zimmerman » Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:48 pm

Dear Mayor,

This seems extraordinary, but I would request to see the Agenda items with some backup before offering an opinion on whether I would support such a Sunday meeting.

Regards,
Don
Don Zimmerman
Council Member District 6 (northwest Austin)

Delia Garza
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:20 am

Re: Special Called Meeting Sunday, November 8, 2 PM

Post by Delia Garza » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:27 am

Colleagues,
First, I want to thank you all for allowing us to have a special called Council meeting on Sunday to address some very pressing issues for families that were affected by the recent floods. They have been through a lot, many for a second time in two short years, and passing these items will answer some critical questions and give them a path for moving forward.

I have a couple of proposals I would like for us to consider on Sunday related to the buyout policy. First, we should consider what direction we can put in place that would allow the City to complete the remaining buyouts as quickly as possible to move these families out of harm’s way. My understanding is that with the current funding, the process could be finished in a year but expediting the process to a 6 month time frame will cost an estimated $15-20 million more. I propose that we direct staff to move forward as quickly as possible within the current funding allotted for the process, and consider adding additional FTEs to Real Estate to help them expedite the buyouts. We are working with staff to determine the cost for these additional staff positions and the impact those could have on the process. I am also open to having a standing item on the Public Utilities Committee agenda so that Council and the public can have regular updates and allow for potential action for amending the process.

Second, Council will need to consider how to handle the appraisal process and how insurance money will factor into buyout offers.Directly following the 2013 floods, houses were appraised at pre-flood values and insurance money was deducted from the total buyout offers. Any documented expenses for home repairs were not deducted from buyout offers, consistent with the federal requirements for buyouts.After a period of months, the process was shifted to appraise homes at current value without consideration for insurance money, as most families had made repairs and improvements to the homes. Staff’s current proposal is similar to the process directly after the floods in 2013, with appraisals based on pre-flood values with deductions for insurance payments (not including documented expenses for home repairs). Council has some flexibility in the policy for most of the remaining homes because they are funded by City dollars rather than federal funds. I propose that we move forward with staff’s proposal with the following amendments:

1) Alter allowable expenses that will not be deducted from the buyout offer to include home repairs, temporary housing (hotel or rental), mattresses and bedding, clothes, and food which would include grocery bills and restaurants, which I’ve included because many families may not have the option of cooking at home due to flood damage.

2) Include two options for how insurance deductions will be handled, similar to the structure for taking the standard deduction or itemizing on federal income tax. Families would have the option of excluding $15,000 of insurance money from being deducted from their buyouts without any required documentation, or could have all expenses included in item #1 above excluded from any deductions as long as receipts or documentation is provided.

I believe that both of these amendments will provide an equitable way for us to meet the needs of these families while also providing additional oversight for Council to ensure we’re moving forward as quickly as possible. I understand that there is a fiscal impact to these proposals, but I ask that you consider what these families have been through in just two years. Many lost everything, just to rebuild and lose many of their possessions again.

I hope you all will also support the waiver of permit fees to enable homeowners to repair their homes. This is consistent with the practice in 2013, and is one small way the City can relieve some of the burden for these folks. The current recommendation does not waive reinspection fees though, and I would propose we waive up to one reinspection fee.

I want to thank you all again for allowing us to have a special called meeting on Sunday. I’ve been encouraged by the outpouring of support from many of your offices, as well as so many in the community. My office has been in the district every day since the floods and has seen firsthand the great level of need. Passing the posted items is a critical first step in allowing these families to have a path to begin recovery from the recent floods.

Best,
Delia Garza
Mayor Pro Tem, District 2

Ellen Troxclair
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:26 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Sunday, November 8, 2 PM

Post by Ellen Troxclair » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:53 am

Thank you to the Mayor and to Council Member Garza for ensuring that the affected residents get the answers and direction they need as soon as possible.

Going through an event like this is incredibly challenging, but to think that these same residents are reliving this devastating flooding yet again is especially difficult. We must come together as a community to volunteer, contribute, and support our neighbors during this difficult time.

I notified the Mayor and Council Member Garza when the meeting was scheduled that I would be unable to attend today. However, I wanted to express my support for declaring a Local State of Disaster. With this declaration, the City of Austin officially recognizes the magnitude of the devastation and can begin activating the channels that have the potential to make additional resources available to these residents.

I also support waiving any city permit fees relating to the affected properties. Our priority must be ensuring that families are safe and that they have access to clear and correct information about the process moving forward.

Thank you,
Ellen Troxclair
Ellen Troxclair
Council Member District 8

OCC_Admin
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Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:19 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Sunday, November 8, 2 PM

Post by OCC_Admin » Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:51 pm

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