City Council to discuss affordable housing


by TINA SHIVELY / KVUE News and Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @TinaS_KVUE

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Updated Thursday, Jun 27 at 11:18 AM

AUSTIN -- The Austin City Council has a packed agenda Thursday.

City Council members want to make sure Austin has enough money to provide low income families and the homeless a place to live. On Thursday they will submit an ordinance to hold a bond election this November to replenish those funds.

The money will be enough to sustain the City for the next five years.The exact amount that would be up for a vote has not been announced. Our partners at the Austin American-Statesman say it could be in the neighborhood of $65 million.

A similar bond that asked voters to approve close to $80 million failed last fall. In 2006, voters approved $55 million in funds for affordable housing. That money has already been used. 

The council had planned to discuss a dispute involving what is slated to be Austin's largest hotel. Workers are already building the J. W. Marriott on 3rd Street and Congress Avenue, but not without controversy. 

In the original agreement with developer White Lodging, the city waived close to $4 million in fees. Leaders later found out the developer hadn't met part of the deal to pay workers minimum wage. The city says White Lodging owes crews $5,000. Austin's assistant city manager sent several notices to the company but says they have not paid up.

The hotel will not only be an attractive place for tourists to stay, it will also be a money maker for the city. Austin stands to gain up to $6 million of the $16 million the Mariott will generate in tax revenue. The 1.2 million-square foot facility will have 35 meeting rooms, which is a big selling point for business travelers. Hotel officials say they have thousands of rooms already booked from 2015 to 2020.

The council decided to drop this issue from Thursday's agenda. Their resolution would have allowed the council to re-write the fee waiver agreement.

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