AUSTIN, Texas — Early voting for the November 2021 election starts Monday and there are two Austin propositions on the ballot.
The most controversial is Proposition A. If approved by voters, it would increase Austin police staffing to two officers per 1,000 citizens, increase yearly training and increase minority hiring and community engagement.
The City said it would cost between $54.3 million and $119.8 million per year for the next five years, which is added on top of the department's budget of $443 million city council approved for this fiscal year.
The Austin firefighter and Austin-Travis County EMS unions, as well as the local American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employee Voting are against Prop A.
"This unfunded mandate that is on the ballot will cause severe layoffs, and it will also put a burden on the taxpayers," said AFSCME Business Manager Carol Guthrie.
On the other side, the driving force behind Prop A, Save Austin Now, said the city has enough money to implement the initiative without hurting other departments.
"We know we need 300 to 350 more," said president of Save Austin Now Matt Mackowiak." We don't believe that will happen in one year, but we should try."
The second local item on the ballot is Proposition B. It would allow the city to trade about nine acres of parkland on South Lakeshore Boulevard in exchange for 48 acres of waterfront land and a new maintenance facility.
The Central Maintenance Complex for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department sits on the nine acres, which is right next to Oracle America.
Oracle is the expected bidder if the proposition passes.
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