First Austin City Council meeting of 2023 comes with lengthy agenda, new members

Thursday marked the first Austin City Council meeting of 2023 and among the usual council members were three new city council members and a new mayor.

"This is the first meeting of this new council. This council is very enthusiastic and energetic and looking to the future," said Mayor Kirk Watson.

This may be the first council meeting of the new year, but this is a case of deja vu for Mayor Watson.

"The good news is I was mayor, and I was in the state senate representing this area for right at 14 years, so it's not new to me," he said.

This is the second time Mayor Watson was in this position, having served almost two decades ago. He says he's looking forward to his two-year term this time around and working with the other members of council.

"We're all in it together here in Austin, right? And, the one thing, even when we might disagree on things, the one thing we all have in common is we love this place and that's why we're here. I want to make sure that the council works for the council meetings, and works for the people as well," said Mayor Watson.

He hopes to accomplish things fast, and with a sense of urgency.

"Austin is a rapidly changing city and so a lot of the things that we used to think, ‘well, we can get to that. Let's talk about that a little more. Let's put that off,’ We don't have that ability anymore. We have to have a sense of urgency to take care of the business of being a big city," said Mayor Watson.

Mayor Watson ran on a campaign focused on making Austin a more affordable city. He told FOX 7 Austin previously that includes housing and childcare.

He also wants to try new things that will benefit the citizens of Austin.

"We'll be looking at different ways and experimenting. If it doesn't work, we'll stop doing them, but looking at different ways to make public access easier for the people, make sure that it's robust, but also make sure that we can run efficient meetings and get the people's business done in a way that they would want us to," said Mayor Watson.