Dear <<First Name>>,
July is historically the month the Austin City Council chooses not to hold city council meetings and begins preparing to tackle the 3.7 billion (with a B) dollar budget. We've been hard at work taking meetings with local non-profits, city financial staff, and District 3 constituents to figure out what we need to prioritize this budget season, and it's not too late to provide your input. The new 10-1 Council was elected with a mandate to bring equity to the city's budget process and that's exactly what I will continue to do.
Budget Information and Input:
As your elected representative, I need to know your budget priorities so I can better advocate for you. Our city budget office gathers input from residents on their priorities every year and there are many ways to participate in the budget development process for Fiscal Year 2016-17. One way to do this is to complete the "Austin Budget Simulator" exercise. This fun tool allows residents to determine what, if any, service level increases or decreases they prefer by area and to visualize how those choices would impact their combined annual tax and utility bill.
Our city budget office also holds public outreach events throughout the year. You can check austintexas.gov/dollarsandsense for the latest event schedule. In addition, you can attend a board or commission meeting, speak at a Public Hearing on the budget or tax rate, or send your comments to our District 3 office by emailing Nicholas.Solorzano@AustinTexas.gov or by directly emailing our budget office at BudgetQA@austintexas.gov.
Want to know even more about the budget? You can find the full .pdf version of the City Manager's proposal and more in-depth data online by clicking the link: City of Austin - Financial Budget
July 27th kicked off our first council budget meeting of the year. At this meeting, our Deputy Chief Financial Officer, walked us through a brief overview of the Fiscal Year 2016-17 proposed budget. If you'd like to watch the presentation, you can click here and if would like a digital copy of the presentation just click here. Also, I've put together a handy and brief budget calendar to help highlight key dates.
What to Expect: 1.) Temporary lane reductions, narrowed lanes, and traffic detours will occur on Riverside Drive and Lakeshore Boulevard. 2.) Bus service routes may be detoured during construction, and bus stops temporarily closed or relocated. CapMetro will post advance notice of changes at each affected bus stop and on the CapMetro website under “Service Alerts” at www.capmetro.org. 3.) Possible noise may be heard from trucks and construction equipment during work hours. (Work hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
Austin Parks & Rec: CCCN Grant Funding
The City of Austin recieved a 25,000 grant from the project partners for Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) that will help fund a plan to better connect children with nature. Our Parks and Rec Department dedicated an additional $25,000 in capital planning funds to assist the effort.
The goals of the project are to increase the number and depth of connections to nature among low-income children and children of color, and identify communities to target efforts and increase equitable access to nature.
The Department will be hosting several focus group meetings to understand what the community likes to do outside in nature, what the biggest barriers to spending more time outside are, and how the community would like to see parks and access to green space improved. You can get dates and times by clicking here.
If you are interested in attending or would like more information, please contact Julia Campbell, Julia.Campbell@austintexas.gov or call (214) 693-6360. Child care will be provided on site.
Construction: East Riverside Corridor Improvements
On Saturday, July 30, the city’s contractor began work on Phase 1 of District 3's East Riverside Corridor Improvements Project at Lakeshore Boulevard. The purpose of this project at the intersection of East Riverside and Lakeshore Boulevard is to address transportation issues with the addition of bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks, and ADA accessibility. The project will also improve water quality by including the installation of rain gardens. During Phase 1, East Riverside will be reduced to two eastbound lanes at Lakeshore Boulevard from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Phase 1 is expected to take about one week to complete.
If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please feel free to get in touch with Thuan Nguyen, the project manager, at Thuan.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 512.974.3513
If you are experiencing any problems or issues with your landlord, BASTA (Building and Strengthening Tenant Action / Buscando Accion y Soladaridad que Transforme el Arrendamiento) is a newly-formed organization that is committed to helping Austin renters work with their neighbors to ensure that all Austinites have access to safe and affordable housing. They act as a resource for tenants and can put you in touch with the appropriate departments and agencies to help resolve problems you encounter in regards to property maintenance or tenants’ rights. You can reach them by phone at 512.522.9984 or email at email@example.com.
Grants for Neighborhood Development:
Neighborhood Partnering Program has 4 programs that can help maintain and revitalize your neighborhood: The Neighborhood Cost Share Program, The Grant Assistance Program, The Parking Benefit Project Coordination Program, and The Adopt-A-Median Program. Here is the link with more information regarding these opportunities: http://www.austintexas.gov/neighborhoodpartnering
Southeast Health & Wellness Center Event:
National Health Center Week starts August 7th! This is one week a year that is set aside to celebrate our important community health centers. SEHWC will be holding a event on August 12th from 11-1pm. Everyone is invited and while you're there consider signing up for one of the free exercise classes they offer. Click here for more info about SEHWC's exercise classes.
As always, if you need assistance with city issues please call my office at 512.978.2103. We'll be glad to help.
All the best,