Austin City Council went back and forth Thursday regarding an action plan on Austin affordability. The plan was put together by Councilmember Ellen Troxclair who represents District 8, with four other co-sponsors including the mayor.
Council members had a few choices, adopt the plan, get a task force or committee to look at it and come back to it later, or postpone indefinitely.
In a press release Troxclair said the Affordability Plan provides an omnibus framework to improve affordability in Austin. Among other things, the plan tackles rising taxes and fees, reforms city budgeting practices, increases our housing supply, and provides opportunities for our locally-owned small businesses to thrive.
In the end it came down to one swing vote with Alison Alter casting the decision tabling the plan all together. “This is the problem with the city council and the city as a whole. We don't need another task force, we don't need another study for the citizens of Austin to tell us that they can't afford to live here, we are past time for the creation of task forces, and talking about new plans, what we need is action,” Troxclair said.
Opponents of the plan said it excluded too many stakeholders, and it would've meant cuts in areas Austin can't afford. “It could mean significant cuts to basic things in our community like police and fire services, that was one of the big things, that I was very concerned with. “ Delia Garza represents District two and was one of the five who voiced opposition, but she said it was not about rejecting affordability. “It's disingenuous to say we haven't done anything and now this process is over and now nothing is going to happen. We have been working on this, and we will continue to work on it. We will continue to work on all the initiatives we were working on and that work remains a priority for all of us. This is not the end to anything,” she said.
But Troxclair thought there was something else behind the decision. “Instead of uniting behind an action plan that would really make it easier to live in Austin, the council got divided with petty partisan politics and I think that we are better than that,” she said.