Monday, October 3, 2016

#TROXROX: September Newsletter Highlights

"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister."
Hebrews 6:10

Several interesting tidbits in Ellen Troxclair's most recent newsletter:
Tenant Relocation Ordinance
Earlier this month Council passed a tenant relocation ordinance. The ordinance is to help tenants who live in multifamily buildings or mobile homes.

In a well-intended attempt to protect some residents, the policy may have unintended consequences. While the ordinance gives a general outline of the new program, many of the important details have yet to be determined, including how the City will pay for it!
Key concerns of the new tenant relocation program are the increased notice requirements and mandatory financial relocation assistance. 

Currently, landlords are required to give a tenant 30 days notice if their apartment is going to be demolished or renovated. But the new ordinance requires 120 days notice for apartment tenants and 270 days notice for mobile home tenants. The money to pay tenants is funded through a combination of City funds and a fee assessed to land developers or property owners during the application process.

The process by which this new payment structure is set up is of particular concern. As the program was proposed, developers or property owners pay a fee (which has yet to be determined) to the City, who then takes that money and then determines an amount to pay displaced tenants.

My greatest concern is this program being approved without any financial details! In a tight budget year, City Staff has yet to determine the source of funding to pay for this new program, estimated to cost close to $1.6 million.  Finally, neither the developer/property owner fee nor the tenant payment amount was specified in the ordinance, and as of today City Staff has yet to determine the cost associated with this. 

Austin Water Rate Study
What do you think about your water bill? If you have an opinion, it’s time to share it - Austin Water requests your feedback.

Austin Water is currently conducting a Cost of Service Rate Study to determine water rates. Similar to the recent Austin Energy Rate Case, the study is looking at improving Austin Water’s methods for determining fair and defensible rates for its services.
Water rates and the current tiered system are a critical aspect that make up the total cost of your water bill. You are billed per gallon based on your water consumption, however in order to encourage conservation, the utility has a tiered rate structure. Under the current rates, the more water you use, the more you are billed for each gallon of water. The result is during the summer months, your bill may be much higher.

To find out more information about Austin Water's current tiered rates, click here!
Your input is important since the decisions made during this rate study will impact Austin Water’s rates through the next decade.

There are several ways for you to give feedback:
  • Speak during a meeting, you find all meeting times and places here 
  • Submit a comment here
  • Find out more on their website here

Mobility Bond Website


The City of Austin has launched a voter information website to include information on the Mobility Bond. The website will include ballot language, detailed project and program descriptions, a map of all the projects and programs, a tax bill impact calculator and a map of public facilities where people can pick up a Voter Information Brochure. Back in August, Council approved a $720 million mobility bond to bring to the voters in November. Check out the website here
Read the whole thing here.

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