AUSTIN - The Austin City Council is holding its final regular meeting of the year Thursday, tackling an agenda with more than 100 items.
Numerous items were withdrawn or postponed, including an item to consider city-owned sites that could house a Major League Soccer stadium. That will now be discussed in February 2018.
The council did unanimously approve a contract to purchase more police body cameras. The $10.7 million contract purchases 1,200 cameras and the systems needed for them to operate.
"We're excited that we've got the cameras out on the street," said Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. "Again, this is going to offer another level of accountability, another view of the incidents that our officers are involved in day in and day out."
APD already has 736 cameras and plans to give all patrol officers cameras by next year.
And plans to transform the area north of the State Capitol into the Texas Mall are moving forward with some help from Austin.
The State of Texas wants to turn Congress Avenue from 15th Street to MLK Boulevard into a massive green space with new state office buildings and an underground parking garage. The state is asking the City Council to approve expedited permitting, street closures, street conversions and fee waivers to make the project happen.
The council approved waiving $6.8 million in fees, but there was some opposition from the public and some council members.
"I do not think that for as much conflict as we have seen between the City of Austin and the State of Texas that the City should be rolling over and playing dead on this one," said Austin resident Adam Cahn during the meeting.
"By all accounts it looks like we won't ever. The citizens of Austin will never be repaid for the money that they're not receiving in waivers and the debt that the State does owe to the City," said Council Member Leslie Pool.
Council Member Ora Houston voted no on the item and Pool abstained.
While the City is waiving the fees, Austin will bill the Texas Facilities Commission for the time staff spends reviewing the plans. The State will also pay to relocate all utilities.
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