2012 Bond Package Presentation is available for download:
Public Debate on Transportation, here in the Neighborhood! – Thu July 19 7 PM
What kind of transportation system makes the most sense for Austin? Should the emphasis be on light rail, rapid bus, or cars? If we do move ahead with light rail, what are the best routes?
Sustainable Neighborhoods of North Central Austin and the North Austin Coalition of Neighborhoods will co-host a public debate on transportation alternatives on Thursday, July 19, at 7 PM. The speakers are Skip Cameron, who will argue for an expanded rapid bus system, and Andrew Clements, who supports prioritizing rail. Both have been outspoken thinkers in our community on transportation matters. Examples of their positions can be seen at the following link:
The debate and discussion will last about an hour, followed by an update and discussion of the bond package. The meeting is at the Village Christian Apartments meeting room, 7925 Rockwood. Directions -
OK, the 2012 bond package is starting to get really confusing, so I'll try to break it down. There was a group of citizens who looked at the City's wish list and made two recommendations:
*A full project list for $400 million dollar bond package ($60 more in taxes a year).
*A full project list for 575 million dollar bond package ($86 more in taxes a year).
City Council listened to their suggestions and instead, decided they wanted to consider a $385 million bond package by the City Manager ($38 dollars more in taxes yearly) .
Then Austin Neighborhood Council piped up, and suggested that a $457 million dollar bond package is still doable under the $60 more a year in taxes scenario.
So we have four plans proposed: $400 million, $575 million, $385 million, and $457 million and the deadline for City Council to decide on any plan is August 2nd.
With me so far?
OK, first, links to all the numbers for these plans are available for people to peruse here:
Now, as the editor of NACN, I am furious - and I think you should be, too. I believe the worst plan is the City's $385 million. They didn't trim the package; they mostly chopped neighborhood and much needed project, while funneling the monies back to - yep, you guessed it, downtown.
_On May 3rd, there will be a community forum at Lanier High School to discuss this bond package: 6:30-8:30pm
The City of Austin Bond Advisory Task Force heard project recommendations from the task force’s Transportation/Mobility Committee on Monday and five leaders from North Austin and North Central Austin were on hand to speak up for our area. The task force is recommending $252.65 million in transportation funding from the proposed 2012 bond package, including $34.2 million for safety and accessibility improvements on N Lamar Blvd and Burnet, and $3 million for Airport.
Besides improvements on Burnet/N Lamar and Airport, the committee is proposing $57.6 million for city-wide programs including sidewalks, bike lanes, intersection improvements, neighborhood partnering, urban trails, and sidewalk tree planting.
The total bond package is unlikely to exceed much over $400 million, since a higher amount would require a tax increase. So the transportation committee recommendation is aggressive. Other funding categories include city facilities, open space and affordable housing. However, transportation committee members have stated that City Council and the public need to be aware of how big a transportation gap the city faces, particularly in the area of long-ignored pedestrian infrastructure.
NOW IT IS UP TO YOU!
There are three reasons good reasons why you and your neighbors and friends need to show up on May 3rd:
1.The recommendations of all 4 subcommittees will be on the table for discussion. This bond will be about $60-100 dollars of YOUR tax money, so you need to speak up:
Capital Needs Assessment and Programs Report provided by staff
(The committee recommendations are still being developed, but will be available for review on the bond development website after April 23rd: http://www.austintexas.gov/bonddevelopment)
2.Terry Mitchell, on the transportation committee, said he wants proof that a broad section of the population has opinions about this bond package. Obviously, he doesn't know us very well - North Austinites ALWAYS have an opinion. This is your golden opportunity to give your opinion at a forum where it really can make a difference.
3. The bond committee has done exactly what North Austin has been asking other departments and government agencies to do for years. They held a meeting in our area, they listened to our presentation of the facts, and they treated us fairly and with the same respect that is generally shown to a select few zipcodes. Now they are hosting a forum at Lanier High School, so we can weigh in on their decisions. These guys deserve to be thanked - so please come, weigh in on their recommendations and tell them 'thank you!'
The Task Force invites you to attend one of two special-called Task Force meetings/community forums on May 2nd and May 3rd to learn more about the committee recommendations and provide feedback directly to Task Force members. The meetings will be held in north and south Austin and are designed to give the Task Force community feedback they can use as they further narrow down the potential project list and prepare their final recommendations for the City Council in late May.
Wednesday, May 2nd, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Akins High School, 10701 South 1st Street (bus route #201)
Thursday, May 3rd, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Lanier High School, 1201 Payton Gin Road (bus route #1L, #1M, #10, #325)
For those interested in providing comments but unable to attend the specially-called task force meetings/forums, you have several options:
- Email your comments to email@example.com
- Call or send a text message to their hotline, 512-539-0060
- go to: SpeakUpAustin.org
- Post your comments on the City of Austin Facebook page: ttp://www.facebook.com/austintexasgov
- Post your comments via Twitter using #atxbd
_You still have a chance to speak out about the 2012 bond package.
The bond is going to cost each of us about $60 more in house taxes, so we need people to speak out and insist North Austin gets some of that money this time.
There is one more bond workshop, so if you missed the one at Gus Garcia at Rundberg, you can still make a workshop tomorrow: Saturday, March 31 at 2:00 PM Anderson High School, 8403 Mesa Drive
You can also still go online and take the survey here: http://www.austintexas.gov/online-form/bond-development-survey
For more questions on the bond program, please see our link for the 2012 bond package (<-- to the right)
Last Bond Development Meeting/Workshop - Saturday, March 31, 2012
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Anderson High School
8403 Mesa Dr.
Austin, TX 78759
Please remember that this bond package will cost about $60-100 more a year in house taxes and currently, we have had no indication that this bond will benefit the north end of town.
My previous three posts about this issue, and the need to insist the City, at the very least, includes funding for North Lamar/Burnet Transportation Study are here:
_Again, my apologies for sending so many notices this month but I am angry.
After the last notice we sent out, I got an email from somebody on a fixed budget. She can't afford to give up her house, but she is being squeezed out of it by the ever escalating house taxes. $60 more a year would be a big hit in the pocketbook for her.
So instead of being polite, I am going to be blunt. This email is for her and for the other North Austinites who can't afford to keep paying house taxes for bond packages that only benefit downtown.
The bond committee will be having a public workshop for North Austinites to weigh in on where we think the monies for the 2012 bond package should be spent.
The meeting will be at 6:30 at the Gus Garcia Rec Center on East Rundberg, across from Doby Middle School.
The Bond Committee was very careful to give us only a couple of weeks to get the word out, and has done as little advertising as possible, which says a lot about where this boondoogle is going.
It also says they hope you don't care.
*They hope you don't care that this bond package will add another $60 a year to your house taxes:
*They hope you don't care that North Austin and North Central Austin is now 20% of the City according to the 2010 Census, but we are the last to get monies for anything in Austin:
(the numbers are available in a more user friendly format here: http://www.lovenorthaustin.com/petition---single-member-district.html)
*They hope you don't care that in 2009, a pedestrian study of North Lamar was done but blatantly ignored by the City:
*They hope you don't care that the 2010 bond package was 90 million dollars, and yet the spending was not done by population or need, it was done by downtown bias:
*They hope you don't care that while we continue to have pedestrian/vehicle accidents because the 2009 study was ignored, Lady Bird Lake got a 16 million dollar boardwalk, which has somehow become a $20 million dollar boardwalk:
*They hope you don't care that according to a KXAN news report on December 12th: "the city has identified it (North Lamar) as probably “the riskiest stretch for all pedestrians in Austin.”
*They hope you don't care that the bond committee and the City are now trying to ignore a second transportation study that was just completed showing there are over 600 accidents a year on North Lamar and Burnet:
*They hope you don't care that while the City preaches public transportation, they continue to pursue a policy where three of the 6 bus routes with the highest riderships are not given funding because those routes are being serviced by North Lamar and Burnet and North Austin is not a priority:
Route 1, with the highest ridership, runs along North Lamar.
Route 300 ties into North Lamar.
Route 325 ties into Burnet.
*They hope you don't care that yet another bicyclist was killed on North Lamar, while the bond committee contined to deliberate on whether this second study was important enough to be funded by the next bond package:
I think we do care and we are fed up.
Imagine what we could've done with the $ 8 million the City spent on repairing existing sidewalks downtown?
Imagine what we could've done with $16 million dollars spent on North Lamar and Burnet, instead of a boardwalk?
I am hoping those of you reading this will decide two hours of your life at a meeting is certainly worth protesting yet another bond package that will return nothing to our neighborhoods. I am also hoping you will help us get the word out so your friends and neighbors can come and speak up as well.
Also, a lot of people have been asking about the North Lamar/Burnet Study and what exactly it entails.
The Coalition has spoken to those doing the study and they have graciously loaned us their presentation material. This means the North Austin Candidate's Forum will now be a two-fer.
We will have the mayor, city council members, and those running against them at the forum, which will go from 7pm-8:30pm. We will also have the Transportation Study presentation materials up, and the doors will open at 6:30pm. We have the hall until 10pm if people need more time after the forum to take another look. (If you missed it before, the Forum is April 18th, at St. Alberts on Metric)
Again - its all about democracy and giving YOU the information so you can decide who to vote for and if you want to support the study .
My previous two posts about this issue are here:
Again, I apologize for another sending another email and for the tone of this email, but why should the woman who wrote me pay $60 for nothing?
Why should any of us?
North Austin Community Newsletter Editor
NOTE: we will also have voter registars at the March 21st meeting and the April 18th candidates forum, so please come if you need to register to vote!!
How to Contact the Bond Committee:
Social Media – Twitter (#ATXBD) & Facebook
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotline (Voicemail & Text) – (512) 539-0060
Centralized Website: www.AustinTexas.gov/BondDevelopment
You can also access our email on this issue here:
The Bond Committe will be holding workshops at the following times and locations.
•Tuesday, March 20, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the First Evangelical Free Church, 4220 Monterey Oaks Blvd.
•Wednesday March 21, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Ln.
•Thursday, March 29, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Dr.
•Saturday, March 31, 2012 (Time to Be Announced) at Anderson High School, 8403 Mesa Dr.
Remember, the City wants to put a $400 million dollar bond package on the ballot for November. That's $40-60 dollars more a year in your house taxes. This is your chance to come, speak up, and tell them what you want.
Here is what City Departments have requested:
Austin Public Library $8,042,000
Austin Transportation Department $274,500,000
Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services $2,000,000
General Facilities $105,758,000
Health & Human Services Department $12,991,000
Neighborhood Housing & Community Development $91,100,000
Parks & Recreation Department $141,300,000
Planning & Development Review Department $300,750,000
Public Works $220,744,000
Watershed Protection Department $50,000,000
So $1,092,658,000 is going to get chopped. Unless we are willing to get involved and voice our concerns, then we will probably get stuck forking out another $60 a year for nothing.
The death toll on North Lamar continues while the City considers whether or not to include the North Lamar/Burnet study in the 2012 Bond Package.
I have been deliberating sending out this update, but decided we have a duty to let North Austinites to know what is coming - which is yet another hike in our house taxes, with nothing to show for it at our end of town.
Last October, the City started pulling together a bond committee to look at what projects would be selected for a 400 million dollar bond package to be put on the 2012 ballot. At first glance, some of these things sound good: improvements to things like fire and police safety, and libraries. The bottom line, though, is there is something really wrong with the math.
I'd like to walk you through the numbers.
78758, 78757, 78753 (sorry, I made a typo in my original email), and 78759 are the zipcodes serviced by North Lamar and Burnet. That is 150,000 people who use those roads - 20% of Austin. The North Lamar/Study shows we had 770 accidents on North Lamar and 440 accidents on Burnet in the past 2 years.
Now if 20% of Austinites are being serviced by two roads that are failing so badly there are 600 accidents a year, that's a major problem, right?
Which is why I decided to send this email. As far as I can tell, neither the City nor the bond committee sees any urgency to get the improvements suggested by North Lamar/Burnet study included in the next bond package.
This is where I can't seem to get the math to work out in my head. This new bond package is going to cost each of us probably $40-60 more a year on house taxes. I am all for improving things in the city - but my house taxes went up again for the fourth straight year, and now it looks I am expected to shell out more money next year, and for what?
So we can have another 600 accidents on North Lamar and Burnet next year?
So we can have more 17 pedestrians hit on North Lamar next year, which also just happens to carry the North Lamar bus route, which has the highest ridership in the city?
And of course, lets not forget, these accidents will continue occur while people downtown get to walk safely on the $20 million dollar boardwalk around Ladybird Lake. (which somehow wound up costing $4 million dollars more than the City promised)
We have found out that the bond committee is tentatively scheduling a public meeting on the bond package on March 21st, at Gus Garcia Rec Center on East Rundberg, across from Dobie Middle School.
We don't have any more info right now about this meeting (we will continue provide you more details as soon we get them), but we wanted to give North Austinites the heads up that you will have a chance to come and tell the bond committee what you think about the City making North Lamar/Burnet such a low priority.
Remember - its your $60 they are spending.
Update, North Austin Community Newsletter
Editor, Mary Rudig