2/15 - Item 25

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Ryan Alter
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2023 3:15 pm

2/15 - Item 25

Post by Ryan Alter »

Dear colleagues,
I am excited to announce that at the February 15 meeting, I will be introducing an item to create an environmental investment plan to meet our City’s goals for clean air, water, and energy.

We have an urgent need to address climate change. As we live through extreme weather events that are only becoming more and more frequent, we must make investments to reduce our impact on the environment. These investments not only ensure clean air to breathe, water to drink, and green space to enjoy, it makes our power supply more resilient, saves Austinites money, and improves overall quality of life.

As a City we have rightfully set ambitious goals through a number of plans including the Climate Equity Plan, Water Forward, and One Austin: Climate Resilience Action Plan. Unfortunately, we’re behind on many of these goals, which is why the time is right to make new investments now. Rather than always falling short of our climate goals, I want us to dream big and imagine a world where we not only meet our goals, but exceed them.

That’s what this resolution seeks to do. Through this item, we will start the process to formulate this plan and move forward with the steps necessary to enact it, which could include future Council items and an election in November 2024.

I would like to extend my gratitude to those who have already cosponsored the resolution, Council Members Fuentes, Velasquez, and Ellis. I’ve linked the resolution for your review, and encourage anyone who shares this vision for our environment and community to join as a cosponsor. I look forward to working with you all on this plan and appreciate your dedication to protecting our climate.

Regards,
Ryan

https://services.austintexas.gov/edims/ ... ?id=422893
Council Member, District 5
Jose Chito Vela
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2022 8:16 am

Re: 2/15 - Item 25

Post by Jose Chito Vela »

CM Ryan Alter,

This is an excellent proposal and I would like to be added as a co-sponsor. Our city's infrastructure was built in an age where we had different priorities and concerns. We must upgrade our public infrastructure to meet today's challenges. One item that immediately comes to mind is flood control. Climate change seems to bring more intense storms, which are difficult for our current flood control infrastructure to handle. Additionally, bad building practices of the past allowed people to build in flood prone areas. There may be a need for future buyouts of land. Finally, as our city urbanizes, we need better regional stormwater detention facilities. Forcing small developments to build tiny water detention ponds is both ineffective and inefficient. Regional water detention ponds that could also double as parks and recreational areas would be much better. But we need to buy the land for those detention ponds, which will not be cheap.

Chito Vela
Alison Alter
Posts: 211
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:52 pm

Re: 2/15 - Item 25

Post by Alison Alter »

Dear Council Member Ryan Alter,

My thanks to you and your co-sponsors for the work on this resolution. I believe your effort aligns well with the 2019 resolution I authored which declared a climate emergency and called for immediate and coordinated mobilization by the City to address the causes and consequences of climate change.

I've attached a motion sheet that I'd like to offer as an amendment to your resolution. If you support these additions, I would welcome your incorporation of these suggestions in a revised version to save us time on the 15th.

My amendment incorporates consideration of the PARD Land Management Plan, the Austin/Travis County Community Wildfire Preparedness Plan, and the Austin/Travis County Food Plan. Additionally, my amendment reiterates direction from the Climate Emergency resolution and requires the Manager to provide information detailing recommendations or actions taken to promote inter-departmental coordination to ensure that departments have an aligned approach to combating the threats of the climate crisis and natural hazards, including wildfire and flooding.

You may read the entirety of my motion here: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 134407.pdf

I hope you will support the inclusion of these elements.

Regards,
Alison Alter
Council Member, District 10
Ryan Alter
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2023 3:15 pm

Re: 2/15 - Item 25

Post by Ryan Alter »

Council Member Alison Alter,
Thank you for your work on this issue and for these excellent suggestions. I would be happy to incorporate these additions into a version 2 of the resolution and will post an updated copy prior to next week's Council Meeting.

Regards,
Ryan
Council Member, District 5
Mackenzie Kelly
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:56 pm

Re: 2/15 - Item 25

Post by Mackenzie Kelly »

Colleagues,

As stewards of taxpayer dollars, we must carefully consider the economic ramifications of proposed resolutions. With this in mind, I plan to present an amendment during tomorrow's work session, specifically designed to prevent an increase in the base rate from being considered for item 25. I am firmly dedicated to upholding our commitment to the financial stability of our community in Austin. Raising the cost of living through a base rate increase would burden our residents and stray from our duty to manage public funds wisely.

I look forward to engaging in a thorough discussion on this topic tomorrow.

Link to amendment: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 141259.pdf

Warm regards,

-mk
Council Member, District 6
Paige Ellis
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Re: 2/15 - Item 25

Post by Paige Ellis »

Colleagues-

I’m proud to be a cosponsor of this item and look forward to the conversation at tomorrow’s Work Session. I would also like to add in the Parks & Recreation Department’s Long Range Plan as another city plan to be included. Over the 2021 and 2023 winter storms, I have seen how parkland debris, staging areas, and recreation centers have been at the center of our resilience conversations. I think giving staff the flexibility to consider parts this plan as appropriate would be beneficial to future discussions.

Thank you,
Paige Ellis
Paige Ellis
City Council District 8
Leslie Pool
Posts: 229
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:22 pm

Re: 2/15 - Item 25

Post by Leslie Pool »

Colleagues, I’ve asked staff to pull this item for discussion at work session. I'd like to share some thoughts here on this resolution that proposes to develop an environmental investment plan to add to our efforts to counter the effects of climate change. Implementing the Austin Climate Equity Plan and Water Forward certainly remains a community and Council priority along with all the plans listed in the resolution. We will not thrive as a city unless we increase our resiliency, guided by the strategic investments and innovations of these plans and more.

The timing of this resolution parallels work underway to update the ACEP dashboard and the next steps of Water Forward implementation which should be ready next month. I understand that the Office of Sustainability coordinates the progress of these and the other plans listed, and I support highlighting the longstanding, good work that staff, in concert with the JSC, have accomplished over many years.

Thursday, I will bring an amendment to add grants as a funding option, and ensure staff’s review of any bonds will include both revenue and general obligation. The motion sheet is here: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 161002.pdf

I will also offer direction for the City Manager to bring back detailed information about the bond advisory task force process. This type of task force deals with general obligation bonds that go to a public vote and hears from City departments in detail about their capital improvement plans and needs. Public input is taken iteratively before the task force makes a recommendation to Council on a bond investment package.

As we all know, it’s important to engage the public early and often on any GO bond proposal to ensure that the voters are themselves informed and invested in positive outcomes at the ballot box.

I look forward to our discussion on this resolution that reinforces Council’s commitment to mitigating climate change with effective strategies and improvements.

Leslie
Leslie Pool
Mayor Pro Tem
Council Member, District 7
Jose Chito Vela
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2022 8:16 am

Re: 2/15 - Item 25

Post by Jose Chito Vela »

Colleagues:

Please see attached my proposed amendments to Item 25 on Thursday's agenda. I believe these changes will provide important clarifying notes to our climate goals.

Amendment 1 (http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 165240.pdf) is designed to maximize federal reimbursement opportunities through the Inflation Reduction Act and create a discretionary system for automatic reinvestment of dollars into similar climate-focused expenditures.

Amendment 2 (http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 165308.pdf) specifies water quality and water detention improvements, in addition to water preservation measures, as central goals of the resolution.


Saludos,

Chito
Ryan Alter
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2023 3:15 pm

Re: 2/15 - Item 25

Post by Ryan Alter »

Colleagues,

Thank you for these suggestions. I appreciate your desire to make this a comprehensive look at our environmental goals and the best way to fund those goals where more investment is needed. To that end, I have incorporated nearly all the suggested edits, which you can find in the links below.

Item 25 V2 (Clean) - http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 203358.pdf
Item 25 V2 (Red Line) - http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 203413.pdf

I also want to thank City staff for their input and assistance, and appreciate all who have signed on as co-sponsors: CM Fuentes, CM Velásquez, CM Vela, and CM Ellis.

Together, we can advance our shared mission to address local causes of climate change, enhance the sustainability of city operations, and improve community resiliency. I look forward to the conversation tomorrow and continued collaboration moving forward.

Regards,
Ryan
Council Member, District 5
Ryan Alter
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2023 3:15 pm

Re: 2/15 - Item 25

Post by Ryan Alter »

Colleagues,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and suggestions for item 25. As a follow up to our conversation on Tuesday, I am linking a version three that reflects many of the changes we discussed. Note, the red line is to version 1, not version 2, as many of the revisions are an update to the language provided by CM Alison Alter.

I look forward to working together over the next few months toward meaningful investments that ensure we have clean air, fresh water, reliable power, and abundant green spaces for decades to come.

Sincerely,
Ryan

Item 25 V3 (Clean): http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 202057.pdf
Item 25 V3 (Red Line): http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 202111.pdf
Council Member, District 5
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