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[00:00:04]

ALL RIGHT.

AWESOME.

[1.Presentation of the City Manager’s proposed budget.]

UH, WELCOME EVERYONE TO THE MOST TALKED ABOUT NEIGHBORHOOD IN AUSTIN, TEXAS AND SOMETIMES MAYOR ADLER, WHO I'M QUOTING YOU THE MOST TALKED ABOUT NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE COUNTRY.

IT IS A REALLY A VERY DEEP AND, UH, BLESSED HONOR, UH, THAT THIS WOULD BE HOSTED OUT HERE DURING THIS TIME.

AND, UH, LIKE I TOLD SPENCER A LITTLE BIT EARLIER, UH, ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO, UH, I DID ONE OF THE GREATEST FREEING THINGS EVER IN MY LIFE, AND I DELETED AS A BOOKMARK, THE, THE COVID DASHBOARD OF THE AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH DEALS.

SO, UH, YEAH.

AND, UH, JUST SPEAKING TO THAT, UH, STEPHANIE, WHEREVER YOU ARE IN HERE, YOUR TEAM, UH, DURING THAT PERIOD MAYOR, UH, WERE PHENOMENAL.

AND, UH, I WILL TELL YOU THAT PROBABLY ONE OF THE NUMBER ONE QUESTIONS IN THE PAST YEAR, UH, IS HOW MANY COVID CASES DID YOU HAVE OUT HERE AT THE VILLAGE? BECAUSE THE EXPECTATION WAS, UH, IT WAS JUST GOING TO BE A PANDEMIC, BUT LITERALLY WE HAD ONE CASE AND THAT ONE CASE WAS DUE TO THE EXTRAORDINARY RESPONSE OF THE LEADERSHIP OF THIS CITY AND AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH AND TRAVIS COUNTY.

THANK YOU, STEPHANIE UH, 25 YEARS AGO, I GOT THIS CRAZY A CALL TO GO OUT AND START FEEDING PEOPLE ON THE STREETS OF AUSTIN, TEXAS, AND DID NOT HAVE A CLUE AS TO WHAT WE WERE DOING.

WE ALWAYS EUPHEMISTICALLY SAY THAT IT WAS FIVE WHITE GUYS FROM WESTLAKE HILLS GOING OUT, AND WE DIDN'T KNOW A THING ABOUT THE HOMELESS POPULATION, BUT FORTUNATELY GOD PUT AMONGST OUR MIDST, UH, AT ST.

JOHN NEWMAN IN WESTLAKE A, UH, A CHRONICALLY HOMELESS MAN NAMED EUSTON FLAKE, UH, WHO WE REACHED OUT TO AND BECAME OUR EYES AND EARS, UH, TO WHAT WAS HAPPENING, UH, 25 YEARS AGO ON THE STREETS OF AUSTIN, UH, EUSTON WAS BORN IN 1955, THE SAME YEAR THAT I WAS BORN, UH, BUT HE PASSED AWAY IN 2002, UH, AND IT WAS THROUGH HIS BEAUTIFUL, THE GENEROSITY OF HIS HEART, UH, THAT TAUGHT US SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON, UH, OUT ON OUR STREETS SO MUCH SO THAT IT ULTIMATELY LED TO THE FOUNDING OF THIS EXTRAORDINARY VILLAGE AND OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT WHAT HUMAN BEINGS REALLY NEED, WHAT THEIR FUNDAMENTAL INNATE DESIRES ARE TO BE FULLY AND WHOLLY LOVED.

PRETTY SIMPLE.

WE ALL DESIRE THAT AND TO BE FULLY AND WHOLLY KNOWN, TO BE VALUED FOR THE WORK THAT WE DO AND WHO WE ARE AS A HUMAN BEING AND WHY GOD WOULD CREATE US AND PUT US ON THIS EARTH TO BEGIN WITH.

AND SO WE BELIEVE THAT THE SINGLE GREATEST CAUSE TO HOMELESSNESS IS A PROFOUND, CATASTROPHIC LOSS OF FAMILY.

AND DON'T GET ME WRONG.

WE UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES OF MENTAL HEALTH ADDICTION, THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM, LIVING WAGES AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

BUT I'LL TELL YOU, I DOUBT THAT THERE IS AN INDIVIDUAL IN THIS ROOM WHOSE FAMILY MEMBERS ARE NOT IMPACTED BY THOSE THINGS THAT WE JUST MENTIONED.

I CAN TELL YOU THAT IN MY FAMILY, IT HAPPENED TO BE MY MOTHER.

MY MOTHER WAS PROFOUNDLY MENTALLY ILL, INSTITUTIONALIZED MULTIPLE TIMES OVER THE COURSE OF HER LIFE, BUT SHE HAD SOMETHING GOING FOR HER THAT WAS EXTRAORDINARILY POWERFUL.

AND THAT WAS A MOTHER AND FATHER THAT CARED FOR HER VERY DEEPLY AND HAD THE RESOURCES TO BE ABLE TO COME UP UNDERNEATH HER TO ONE, GET HER THE FINEST MENTAL HEALTH CARE THAT THE COUNTRY HAD GOING DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME.

AND ALSO TO PROTECT HER FROM THE LOSS OF HER FOUR BOYS, TO MY FATHER WHO LEFT US DURING THOSE MENTAL HEALTH CRISES.

THIS IS WHY EVERYTHING THAT WE DO HERE AT THE COMMUNITY FIRST VILLAGE IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS.

IT'S ABOUT BUILDING THESE RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE MEN AND WOMEN THAT ARE DISCARDED, THAT ARE DESPISED, THAT ARE OUT CASH.

THIS IS A PLACE

[00:05:01]

THAT WE COLLECTIVELY AS A COMMUNITY BECAUSE WE, THE PEOPLE OF AUSTIN, TEXAS BUILT THIS PLACE.

THIS WASN'T DONE BY MOBILE LOAVES AND FISHES.

I GET THAT WE WERE THE OWNERSHIP ARM OR THIS, BUT IT HAS TAKEN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US IN AN EXTRAORDINARY COLLABORATIVE MANNER TO COME TOGETHER TO DO THIS.

AND IT'S ALL ABOUT THESE RELATIONSHIPS.

AND IT ALL STARTED FROM A MUSTARD SEED OF AN IDEA.

I STARTED LIFTING PEOPLE UP OFF THE STREETS BACK IN 2005 AND PRIOR TO, UH, BUILDING THIS VILLAGE, WE HAD ALREADY MOVED ABOUT 75 PEOPLE UP OFF THE STREETS.

AND WE ARE NOW APPROACHING OVER 500.

NOBODY KNEW WHETHER THIS CRAZY IDEA WOULD WORK.

IN FACT, I WILL TELL YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE DIDN'T BELIEVE IT WAS.

I, UH, I'M NOT SURE WHY I BELIEVE THAT IT WOULD, BUT, UH, WE DID.

AND ENOUGH PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY SAID, LET'S GIVE THIS STEEL A SHOT.

AND THEN WHAT'S HAPPENED IS, IS ON TOP OF THAT.

UH, I BELIEVE HAS BEEN BUILT ONE OF THE MOST UNPRECEDENTED COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS IN OUR CITY, UH, TO MITIGATE THIS PANDEMIC THAT WE CALL HOMELESSNESS.

AND, UH, IF YOU LOOK AT THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE INVOLVED IN PARTICIPATING IN WHAT WE DO, IT'S PRETTY EXTRAORDINARY.

MANY OF THEM ARE HERE, FULL-TIME ON SITE.

UH, WE TELL PEOPLE ALL THE TIME THAT BUILDING THIS COMMUNITY IS LIKE BUILDING A 7 47 WHILE IT'S FLYING.

AND, AND WE HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH AND WE HAVE SO MUCH TO SHARE WITH THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY ABOUT WHAT WE'VE LEARNED.

AND SO THIS PLACE WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE ENTIRE CITY, UH, BEING INVOLVED AT EVERY LEVEL.

AND WE'RE SO GRATEFUL TO THE CITY OF AUSTIN AND THE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS FOR PASSING THE ORDINANCE TO EXEMPT US FROM THE PAYMENT OF 4.3, 1 MILLION.

THAT'S A LOT OF ZEROS MAYOR, UH, DOLLARS WORTH OF DEVELOPMENT FEES AND, UH, UTILITY FEES.

AND, UH, THAT MAKES Y'ALL ONE OF THE LARGEST DONORS IN OUR DEAL.

THAT'S PRETTY BIG DEAL YOU KNOW, AND, UH, AND WE PROUDLY WHEN PEOPLE ASK US, UH, BECAUSE WE'RE KINDA KNOWN FOR NOT TAKING GOVERNMENT MONEY, BUT IT'S REALLY NOT TRUE IS THAT WE WANT TO PARTNER, UH, WITH GOVERNMENT BECAUSE GOVERNMENT IS SO VITALLY IMPORTANT, UH, IN LIFE GIVING TO THE WORK THAT WE DO.

I GOT TO MOVE HERE IN 1976.

I FELT LIKE I WAS COMING INTO NIRVANA WHEN I WAS MOVING OUT OF THE HOUSTON, ALVIN, TEXAS AREA, COMING TO AUSTIN AND LOOKING AT THE HOUSTON AREA IN MY REAR VIEW MIRRORS OF THE, UH, OF THE U HALL, UH, COMING UP HERE TO GO THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS.

AND, UH, AND I BELIEVE THAT I LIVE IN THE GREATEST CITY EVER.

AND I'VE BEEN ALL OVER THE WORLD IN THAT PERIOD OF TIME.

AND I'VE SEEN SOME AWESOME THINGS, UH, BUT MY COMPASS IS ALWAYS ORIENTED TO AUSTIN, TEXAS.

AND DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME, I'VE HAD, YOU KNOW, THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE, ELECTED OFFICIALS AND PEOPLE WITHIN THE CITY AND HAVE GOTTEN TO KNOW THEM EVER SINCE.

UH, DAN DAVIDSON WAS A CITY MANAGER, UH, HERE AND I GOT TO WORK WITH HIM AT, UH, NASHVILLE CLIPS, COPAS, AND I I'VE, I'VE GOTTEN TO KNOW MOST EVERYONE.

AND MY LATEST IS SPENCER CRONK.

AND IT'S A BLESSING TO HAVE YOU HERE IN AUSTIN.

UM, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LOOK AT A PLACE LIKE AUSTIN, TEXAS FROM SAY MINNEAPOLIS, WHERE I'VE LITERALLY SERVED PANCAKES AND MINUS NINE DEGREE WEATHER, UH, AND KNOW THAT YOU'RE COMING DOWN HERE TO MY PERCEPTION OF NIRVANA.

UH, BUT AS A CITY MANAGER, JUMPING INTO THE OCTAGON OF, UH, THE WORLD OF THE CITY, UM, I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU THAT YOU HAVE, AND

[00:10:01]

THE ENTIRE STAFF HERE, UH, AT MOBILE LOAVES AND FISHES, OUR DEEPEST RESPECT, UH, FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP, UH, HERE IN AUSTIN.

AND WE UNDERSTAND AND KNOW AND STAND ALONGSIDE YOU AND THE CHALLENGES OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A LEADER, UH, IN THIS CITY.

AND WHETHER IT'S AT THE LEVEL OF THE MAYOR, THE CITY COUNCIL, THE CITY MANAGER, OUR ASSISTANT CITY MANAGERS, AND OUR DEPARTMENT HEADS, UH, UH, WE, WE KNOW, UH, BUT WE, WE STAND COMPLETELY IN SOLIDARITY.

SO I'M EXTRAORDINARILY PROUD THAT YOU WOULD SELECT US TO BE ABLE TO HOST THIS EVENT.

AND, UH, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, SPENCER CROSS .

WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, ALAN.

AND IT'S AN HONOR TO BE HERE TODAY IN THIS BEAUTIFUL GATHERING PLACE.

THE WORK THAT MOBILE LOAVES AND FISHES HAS BEEN DOING IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES IS MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN EVER OUTSIDE OF THIS HALL IS A GROWING MASTER-PLANNED MICRO HOME COMMUNITY THAT PROVIDES AFFORDABLE PERMANENT HOUSING AND A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY FOR FORMERLY HOMELESS MEN AND WOMEN.

AND THAT'S JUST THE BEGINNING OF WHAT'S PLANNED.

YOU KNOW, THE REASON THAT WE ASKED ALAN TO ALLOW US TO USE UNITY HALL FOR THIS PRESENTATION TODAY IS NOT JUST BECAUSE MOBILE LOAVES AND FISHES IS WORKING ON ONE OF THE MOST BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING AUSTIN TODAY.

IT'S BECAUSE OF THE, HOW IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE WHAT FROM THE BEGINNING, THIS ORGANIZATION RECOGNIZE THAT THE SUCCESS OF ITS RELIED ENTIRELY ON CREATING AND SUSTAINING A NETWORK OF SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY PARTNERS.

THIS COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITY EFFORTS TURNED AN INNOVATIVE VISION INTO A REALITY.

THIS VILLAGE IS ALSO THE PRODUCT OF A BELIEF, A BELIEF THAT PEOPLE ARE FUNDAMENTALLY RESILIENT AND CAN ACHIEVE AMAZING THINGS, EVEN IN THE FACE OF OVERWHELMING CHALLENGES WITH JUST A LITTLE SUPPORT.

SO THIS UNITY HALL COULDN'T BE MORE APTLY NAMED IN SO MANY WAYS.

IT IS A SYMBOL FOR WHAT AUSTIN CAN ACHIEVE WHEN WE COME TOGETHER OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WE CAN OVERCOME AND THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT WE CAN REALIZE IF WE PUT COLLABORATION AT THE CENTER OF OUR STRATEGY AND CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IN AND INVEST IN RESILIENCE, PLEASE JOIN ME IN THANKING ALAN FOR IN THIS WONDERFUL COMMUNITY.

ONCE AGAIN, , AS EVERYONE KNOWS, WE ARE INDEED EXPERIENCING A TIME OF UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGE IN OUR COMMUNITY, ACROSS OUR COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD.

SINCE THE LAST TIME WE GATHERED TO BEGIN DISCUSSING A NEW BUDGET A YEAR AGO, WE HAVE FACED AND CONTINUE NOW TO FACE FUNDAMENTAL THREATS TO WHO WE ARE AND WHO WE ASPIRE TO BE.

WE HAVE ALL LIVED THROUGH A GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS.

THAT'S NOT YET FULLY RESOLVED.

WE HAVE ALL WITNESSED SHOCKING MOMENTS OF RACIAL VIOLENCE AND INJUSTICE THAT DEMAND.

WE DO THE HARD WORK OF REFORMING OUR INSTITUTIONS AND OUR THINKING.

WE HAVE ALL EXPERIENCED THE STATEWIDE WEATHER EMERGENCY THAT LAID BARE AND UNPREPAREDNESS FOR EXTREME CLIMATE EVENTS EVENTS, WHICH WILL INCREASINGLY BECOME THE NORM.

WE HAVE ALL SEEN THE CONTINUED CRISIS OF HOMELESSNESS IN OUR CITY WITH FAR TOO MANY OF OUR MOST VULNERABLE NEIGHBORS, STILL AT RISK ON THE STREETS.

AND MOST RECENTLY WE'VE ALL BEEN DEEPLY DISTRESSED BY THE SPECTER OF MASS SHOOTING EVENTS IN THE HEART OF OUR VERY OWN DOWNTOWN, A STARK REMINDER THAT THE NATIONAL PLAGUE OF GUN VIOLENCE ISN'T JUST HAPPENING SOMEPLACE ELSE.

IT PAINS ME TO SAY THAT IN EACH OF THESE CASES LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST AND FAMILIES HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED.

THERE'S BEEN AGONY AND HEARTBREAK, AND YET IN EACH OF THOSE CASES, IT'S ALSO TRUE THAT OUR COMMUNITY'S RESILIENCE AND DRIVE TO WORK TOGETHER TO OVERCOME EVEN THE MOST DAUNTING CHALLENGES HAS BEEN UNFOLD DISPLAY.

IN FACT, IN MANY WAYS, I WOULD SAY THAT THE WORST OF HAS BROUGHT OUT THE BEST IN US, AND I BELIEVE THAT'S AN APPROPRIATE CONTEXT FOR TODAY'S PRESENTATION BECAUSE WHILE THERE'S

[00:15:01]

A CLEAR BUDGET PATH FORWARD, IMMEDIATELY AHEAD OF US, THE BUDGET CHALLENGES WE FACE AS A CITY IN THE YEARS AHEAD ARE JUST AS FORMIDABLE AS THE ONES WE'VE RECENTLY FACED AS A COMMUNITY.

AND IT WILL REQUIRE THE SAME COLLABORATION, INNOVATION, AND RESILIENCE TO NAVIGATE.

BUT BEFORE I GO FURTHER, I WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE EXTRAORDINARY EFFORTS THAT HAVE GONE INTO PREPARING THIS PROPOSED BUDGET DRIVEN BY OUR BUDGET OFFICE.

CITY STAFF HAVE DEVOTED COUNTLESS HOURS TO CREATING THIS PROPOSAL FOR COUNSEL'S REVIEW, INCLUDING EXTENSIVE WORK, TO SOLICIT THE INPUT OF COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS THAT INCLUDES REVIEWING AND ANALYZING DOZENS OF SPECIFIC BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS FROM 21 DIFFERENT CITIZEN BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS AND CITIZEN TASKFORCES, AND OVER 1200 RESPONSES TO OUR COMMUNITY BUDGET PRIORITY SURVEY.

I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU TO OUR STAFF AND TO THE THOUSANDS OF COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO SHARED THEIR IDEAS.

WE ARE ALWAYS STRONGER TOGETHER.

AND THIS PROPOSAL IS A RESULT OF A COLLABORATIVE PROCESS.

JOIN ME IN APPRECIATING THEIR EFFORTS.

SO LET ME START TODAY WITH THE GOOD NEWS.

AND THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT ECONOMICALLY AUSTIN, TEXAS HAS COME THROUGH THE MANY CHALLENGES OF THE PAST YEAR IN AS GOOD OR BETTER SHAPE THAN ANY BIG CITY IN AMERICA.

OUR LOCAL ECONOMY IS FUNDAMENTALLY STRONG AND PERFORMED UNEXPECTEDLY WELL DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC WITH MORE POSITIVE IMPACTS FOR OUR BUDGET THAN WE ANTICIPATED EVEN A FEW MONTHS AGO FOR FISCAL YEAR 21, OUR SALES TAX COLLECTIONS ARE NOW PROJECTED TO END THE YEAR ABOVE BUDGET.

WHEN MOST OF US WOULD HAVE ANTICIPATED A DECREASE.

SIMILARLY, OUR PROPERTY TAX REVENUE FOR FISCAL YEAR 21 IS ALSO PROJECTED TO END THE YEAR, SIGNIFICANTLY ABOVE BUDGET.

UNFORTUNATELY, OUR REVENUE PICTURE THIS YEAR, WASN'T ALL ROSES AS THE RESULT OF FACILITY CLOSURES AND PROGRAM REDUCTIONS CAUSED BY COVID FACILITIES AND PROGRAMS. WE WOULD HAVE HOPED TO COME BACK ONLINE BY OCTOBER OF 2020, BUT ULTIMATELY DID NOT.

WE EXPECT THAT OTHER REVENUE SOURCES WILL END THE YEAR BELOW BUDGET, BUT ON BALANCE ARE SURPRISINGLY STRONG SALES TAX AND PROPERTY TAX REVENUE IN FISCAL YEAR.

21 MEANS THAT WE EXPECT TO END THE YEAR WITH A REVENUE SURPLUS TAKEN TOGETHER WITH SAVINGS AND THE GENERAL FUND EXPENDITURES.

WE NOW EXPECT TO END THE YEAR WITH RESERVES THAT MEET COUNCIL'S NEWLY APPROVED POLICY GOAL OF 14%, THESE FIGURES AND OTHER FACTORS PUT US IN A RELATIVELY STABLE POSITION FOR THE UPCOMING FISCAL YEAR AND ALLOW US TO DELIVER THE REAL PIECE OF GOOD NEWS TODAY.

AND THAT GOOD NEWS IS THAT OUR PROPOSED FISCAL YEAR 22 BUDGET IS BASED ON A COMBINED TAX AND FEE INCREASE OF ONLY 0.8, 5% OR JUST OVER $3 PER MONTH FOR THE TYPICAL AUSTIN RATE PAYER.

AND IN FACT, THE PROPERTY TAX PORTION FOR THE TYPICAL TAXPAYER, WE'LL SEE A SLIGHT DECREASE.

I WILL TELL YOU THAT WE WORKED VERY HARD TO KEEP THE COMBINED TAX AND FEE INCREASE IN THIS PROPOSAL, BUT LOW 1%, BECAUSE DESPITE THE RELATIVELY GOOD ECONOMIC NEWS OVERALL IN THE PAST YEAR, WE OBVIOUSLY RECOGNIZE THE FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY THAT MANY AUSTINITES STILL FIND THEMSELVES IN AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC.

I ALSO WANT TO BE CLEAR THAT WE WERE ABLE TO STAY BELOW 1% IN LARGE PART BECAUSE THE COUNCIL RECOGNIZED THE SAME THING.

AND SO ACTION LAST MONTH TO INCREASE THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION TO 20%, THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE UNDER STATE LAW, AND TO INCREASE THE EXEMPTION FOR SENIORS AND DISABLED RESIDENTS FROM 88,000 TO 113,000, THESE ACTIONS MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE AT THE SAME TIME.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT OUR STABLE FINANCIAL POSITION FOR FISCAL YEAR 22 IS ALSO THE RESULT OF MANY YEARS OF COMMITMENT ON THE PART OF BOTH COUNCIL AND STAFF TO PRUDENT FISCAL MANAGEMENT POLICIES.

THE FACT IS THAT WE ENTERED THE PANDEMIC IN A STRONG POSITION BECAUSE WE HAVE HISTORICALLY BEEN FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE AND CONSISTENTLY PRIORITIZE MAINTAINING A HEALTHY LEVEL OF RESERVES WHILE STILL MEETING THE MANY NEEDS OF OUR COMMUNITY.

SO THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT FOR THE UPCOMING FISCAL YEAR,

[00:20:01]

BECAUSE OF LONG-TERM PRUDENCE AND COUNCILS, REITS, THE ACTIONS WE CAN COVER THE INCREASE IN OUR BASIC EXPENSES, DELIVER OUR PROGRAMS AND SERVICES, AND MANY OF THE CRITICAL REFORMS THAT OUR CITIZENS WANT.

AND THAT COUNCIL HAS PRIORITIZED WITH MINIMAL YEAR OVER YEAR IMPACT ON THE TYPICAL AUSTIN RATE PAYER.

NOW LET ME TRANSITION FROM THE GOOD NEWS TO THE DIFFERENT NEWS, BECAUSE WHILE I HOPE THAT, YOU KNOW, I'M A RELENTLESS OPTIMIST AND WHILE NEXT YEAR INDEED LOOKS RELATIVELY GOOD OVERALL, IT WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE OF ME TO SUGARCOAT THE ENORMOUSLY DIFFICULT LONG-TERM BUDGET CIRCUMSTANCE THAT WE FIND OURSELVES IN AS COUNCIL KNOWS VERY WELL.

OUR CHALLENGE GOING FORWARD REMAINS THE 3.5% PROPERTY TAX REVENUE INCREASE HAP ESTABLISHED BY THE STATE OF TEXAS IN 2019.

AND THIS REVENUE CAP CAN ONLY BE EXCEEDED BY VOTER APPROVAL.

WHAT THIS 3.5% CAP MEANS FOR US IS UNFORTUNATELY VERY CLEAR AND THE ABSENCE OF APPROVAL TO EXCEED THE CAP, SIMPLY COVERING THE ANNUAL INCREASE IN OUR BASE COSTS ALONE.

THINGS LIKE WAGES, RENT AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS WILL REQUIRE A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE IN THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS IN SHORT, WITHOUT SECURING ADDITIONAL REVENUE AND OR DRAMATICALLY CURTAILING EXPENDITURE GROWTH.

WE PROJECT AN ONGOING BUDGET IMBALANCE THAT WILL GROW YEAR AFTER YEAR.

I WANT TO COME BACK TO THIS IMPORTANT DISCUSSION AT THE END OF THIS PRESENTATION, BUT FOR NOW LET'S MOVE OUR FOCUS TO THE FISCAL YEAR IMMEDIATELY AHEAD.

AND AS A PREFACE TO THAT, I WANT TO FIRST TAKE A QUICK LOOK AT SOME OF OUR KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 21, BECAUSE AS I SAID LAST YEAR, AND AS REMAINS TRUE TODAY IN TIMES OF A CRISIS, A BUDGET IS A PATH FORWARD, A LIGHTS IN THE DARKNESS.

AND CERTAINLY WE WERE IN THE MIDST OF SEVERAL STILL UNFOLDING CRISES WHEN WE GATHERED LAST SUMMER.

SO WHEN COUNCIL APPROVED THE FISCAL YEAR 21 BUDGET, IT ULTIMATELY HAD REAL AND IMPORTANT IMPACTS FOR OUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

I WANT TO QUICKLY HIGHLIGHT THOSE IN THREE CRITICAL AREAS ARE COVID RESPONSE, PUBLIC SAFETY REFORM AND HOMELESSNESS WITH REGARDS TO COVID WORKING CLOSELY WITH TRAVIS COUNTY, WE'VE FOLLOWED THE SCIENCE AND FOCUSED ON PROMOTING MASKS, TESTING AND CONTRACT TRACING AND GIVING THE COMMUNITY CLEAR INFORMATION TO HELP THEM PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES.

WE ALSO WORK TO DELIVER A RANGE OF INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO HELP US KEEP AUSTINITES SAFE.

AMONG THE MANY STEPS WE TOOK, WE'RE PROVIDING FACILITIES WHERE PEOPLE IN NEED, WHO HAD BEEN EXPOSED OR TESTED POSITIVE, COULD ISOLATE FOR FREE AND RECEIVE FOOD AND MEDICAL CARE IF NECESSARY.

AND OF COURSE, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH WENT TO EXTRAORDINARY LENGTHS TO ADMINISTER AS MANY VACCINATIONS AS POSSIBLE.

IN FACT, AS OF LAST WEEK, APH HAD ADMINISTERED NEITHER, NEITHER KNEELER, NEARLY 328,000 VACCINATIONS.

AND THAT NUMBER CONTINUES TO RISE EVERY DAY AS A RESULT OF OUR COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS AFTER 16 MONTHS, I'M PROUD TO SAY THAT MORE THAN 70% OF AUSTIN HAVE BEEN VACCINATED MAKING US, MAKING US ONE OF THE FIRST METROPOLITAN AREAS TO CROSS THAT MILESTONE CROSSING THAT MILESTONE IS SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE.

SO PLEASE JOIN ME AGAIN AND ACKNOWLEDGING THAT GREAT ACHIEVEMENT WELL, WE ALSO KNOW WE'RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS AND WE KNOW THAT COVID HAS HAD A DEVASTATING IMPACT ON TOO MANY IN OUR COMMUNITY, BUT IT'S IMPORTANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IN AUSTIN, GOOD PUBLIC POLICY AND GOOD PEOPLE HELP TO SAVE LIVES, AND WE WILL CONTINUE OUR EFFORTS TO ENSURE THAT EVERYONE CAN GET VACCINATED, AS YOU ALL KNOW VERY WELL.

THIS HAS ALSO BEEN A YEAR OF CHALLENGE IN THE AREA OF PUBLIC SAFETY AT THIS TIME LAST YEAR, THE RECENT DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD AND THE SUBSEQUENT PROTESTS AROUND THE, AROUND AMERICA AND AROUND THE WORLD, INCLUDING HERE IN AUSTIN, WE'RE AT THE CENTER OF OUR THOUGHTS.

WE WERE ALSO VERY WELL AWARE OF THE TRAGIC POLICING INCIDENTS IN OUR OWN COMMUNITY, INCLUDING THE DEATH OF MICHAEL RAMOS, THAT DEMANDED.

WE TAKE ACTION TO FINALLY ADDRESS SYSTEMIC INJUSTICES THAT HAVE LONG PLAYED COMMUNITIES IN AUSTIN BASED ON LAST YEAR'S BUDGET AND MID-YEAR AMENDMENTS.

WE NOW HAVE TOGETHER LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR FUNDAMENTALLY REFORMING HOW WE DELIVER PUBLIC SAFETY IN

[00:25:01]

OUR COMMUNITY, THROUGH THE RE-IMAGINING PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVE, COUNCIL, CITY STAFF AND COMMUNITY LEADERS HAVE WORKED HAND IN HAND TO IDENTIFY AND BEGIN IMPLEMENTING OPPORTUNITIES TO ENSURE THAT POLICING IN AUSTIN REFLECTS OUR CORE VALUES ALREADY.

WE'VE MADE IMPORTANT STRIDES, INCLUDING FOR EXAMPLE, EXPANDING THE ROLE AND INCREASED FUNDING FOR THE OFFICE OF POLICE OVERSIGHTS AND THE EQUITY OFFICE AND PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES.

BUT THERE'S MUCH MORE TO SAY ABOUT RPS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE FISCAL YEAR 22 BUDGET.

SO WE'LL COME BACK TO THAT IN JUST A MOMENT.

FINALLY, A MAJOR FOCUS ON THE FISCAL YEAR 21 BUDGET WAS CONTINUING TO RESPOND TO OUR COMMUNITIES, ONGOING HOMELESSNESS CRISIS, WORKING IN CLOSE COLLABORATION WITH PARTNERS LIKE ECHO FRONT STEPS, INTEGRAL CARE, THE SALVATION ARMY LIFEWORKS, KERATITIS MOBILE LOAVES AND FISHES.

WE MADE PROGRESS TOWARDS OUR GOAL OF ENSURING THAT HOMELESSNESS IN AUSTIN IS RARE BRIEF, AND NON-REOCCURRING ALL TOLD BY THE END OF THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR, WE PROJECT THEM MORE THAN 1300 INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS WILL MOVE INTO HOUSING THROUGH CITY FUNDED PROGRAMS, WHETHER LONG-TERM VIA OUR PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROGRAMS OR MEDIUM TERM VIA OUR RAPID REHOUSING EFFORTS, CLEARLY THERE'S MUCH MORE WORK TO DO.

AND THE PROGRESS WE'VE MADE OVER THE PAST BUDGET YEAR GIVES US AN EVEN STRONGER PLATFORM TO BUILD ON.

SO THAT LEADS ME TO OUR PROPOSAL FOR FISCAL YEAR 22.

AS WE HAVE DONE EVERY YEAR, WE ONCE FOCUSED OUR BUDGETING PROCESS AROUND THE LONG-TERM VISION AND CORE VALUES SET FORTH BY COUNCIL AND STRATEGIC DIRECTION, 2023, FOR EVERY PROPOSED EXPENDITURE.

WE ASK OURSELVES WHETHER WE ARE MOVING THE NEEDLE ON THE PRIORITY OUTCOMES ESTABLISHED BY AND AS COUNCIL WELL KNOWS, SD 23 INCLUDES SIX STRATEGIC OUTCOME AREAS, ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND AFFORDABILITY, MOBILITY, SAFETY, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT CULTURE AND LIFELONG LEARNING AND A GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS FOR ALL.

EACH OUTCOME AREA HAS ITS OWN SET OF STRATEGIES AND METRICS.

AND THESE ARE ALWAYS TOP OF MIND FOR US DURING EVERY BUDGET PROCESS.

IN FACT, MOST OF THE PROPOSED EXPENDITURES THAT I WANT TO BRIEFLY HIGHLIGHT TODAY ARE ONES THAT CUT ACROSS MULTIPLE OUTCOME AREAS AND THUS MAXIMIZE OUR INVESTMENTS IN COUNCIL'S VISION AND VALUES.

BUT LET ME START WITH THE BIG PICTURE FIRST, AND PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY, I'M HAPPY TO REPORT THAT WE CAN BALANCE THE FISCAL FISCAL YEAR 22 BUDGET, AND TO MAKE A SERIES OF IMPORTANT ONE-TIME EXPENDITURES AND MAINTAIN OUR RESERVES AT THE 14% LEVEL CONSISTENT WITH COUNCIL'S POLICY WHILE ADHERING TO THE THREE AND A HALF PERCENT STATE MANDATED PROPERTY TAX REVENUE CAP.

AND AS I NOTED EARLIER, BECAUSE OF COUNCIL'S ACTIONS TO INCREASE EXEMPTIONS AND BECAUSE OF THE INCREASE IN THE OVERALL VALUE OF THE TAX SPACE, OUR PROPOSED THREE AND A HALF PERCENT TAX REVENUE INCREASE RESULTS IN A COMBINED TAX AND FEE INCREASE OF LESS THAN 1% FOR THE TYPICAL CITY RATE PAYER.

OVERALL, OUR FISCAL YEAR 22 GENERAL FUND BUDGET PROPOSAL, TOTAL IS 1.2 BILLION AND MAINTAINS OUR CURRENT CORE PROGRAMS AND SERVICE LEVELS.

OUR PROPOSAL IS ALSO BASED ON NEW COST DRIVERS THAT INCLUDE AMONG OTHER THINGS.

EMPLOYEE WAGE INCREASES NEW POSITIONS TO STAFF, THE MUNICIPAL COURT MARSHALL PROGRAM, THE OPENING OF LOOP 360 FIRE AND EMS STATION EXPANSION OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS OFFICE AND NEW INVESTMENTS IN COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AND FLEET MAINTENANCE.

NOTABLY, THIS ALSO INCLUDES THE FIRST OF A YEAR OF SIGNIFICANT NEW ANNUAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE AUSTIN POLICE RETIREMENT SYSTEM, WHICH I'M PLEASED TO SAY HELPS PUT THE RETIREMENT SYSTEM BACK ON A SUSTAINABLE PATH.

THE LARGEST PORTION OF OUR PROPOSED BUDGET, APPROXIMATELY 66.5% OR AROUND 767 MILLION IS ALLOCATED TO PUBLIC SAFETY ABOUT 29.6%, WHICH WAS AROUND 341 MILLION IS ALLOCATED TO OUR COMMUNITY SERVICE DEPARTMENTS, PARKS AND RECREATION, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, THE LIBRARY ANIMAL SERVICES, AND THE HOUSING AND PLANNING DEPARTMENTS.

THE REMAINING AMOUNT, APPROXIMATELY 3.9% OR AROUND 45 MILLION IS SLATED FOR TRANSFERS TO FUND A RANGE OF OTHER INVESTMENTS AND SERVICES IN TERMS OF SPECIFIC EXPENDITURES AND RELATED ISSUES THAT I'D LIKE TO BRIEFLY HIGHLIGHT TODAY.

LET ME BEGIN WITH PUBLIC SAFETY.

AS I SAID, A MOMENT AGO, WE'VE

[00:30:01]

ALREADY MADE TREMENDOUS STRIDES IN OUR EFFORTS TO REIMAGINE PUBLIC SAFETY.

OUR CORE MISSION IS TO ENSURE THAT EVERYONE, EVERYONE, NO MATTER WHO OR WHERE THEY ARE IN OUR COMMUNITY, IT IS VALUED IS RESPECTED AND CAN COUNT ON US TO SHOW UP FOR THEM IN A CRISIS WITHOUT FEAR THAT THEY'LL BE TREATED DIFFERENTLY.

AND SO IN THIS BUDGET, WE'RE CONTINUING TO ADVANCE KEY INITIATIVES THAT WERE DEVELOPED AND INITIATED OVER THE PAST YEAR, EMBRACING A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO PROVIDING PUBLIC SAFETY SERVICES AND COMMUNITY CENTERED CRIME PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION.

IN FACT, NEARLY 30 MILLION OF THESE ALLOCATIONS FROM FISCAL YEAR 21 ARE CARRIED OVER INTO FISCAL YEAR 22.

WE ARE INVESTING IN RE-IMAGINING IN OUR POLICE ACADEMY WITH CURRICULUM CENTERED AROUND DIVERSITY EQUITY AND INCLUSION PRINCIPLES AND BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITY RELATIONS IN RESPONDING TO MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCIES AND FUNDAMENTALLY NEW WAYS IN A FAMILY VIOLENCE SHELTER.

AND IN THE INITIAL PHASES OF MANY OTHER REFORM RECOMMENDATIONS BROUGHT FORWARD BY THE CITY COMMUNITY RPS TASK FORCE, INCLUDING THE OFFICE OF VIOLENCE PREVENTION.

NOW AT THE SAME TIME, AS COUNCIL KNOWS, WE FACE A SIGNIFICANT NEW CHALLENGE IN THE UPCOMING FISCAL YEAR IN THE FORM OF HB 1900, A NEW STATE LAW THAT LEVIES CATASTROPHIC FISCAL PENALTIES FOR MUNICIPALITIES THAT CUTS POLICE FUNDING YEAR OVER YEAR.

I WANT TO ASSURE YOU THAT OUR FYE 22 BUDGET PROPOSAL IS FULLY COMPLIANT WITH THE NEW REQUIREMENTS OF THIS LAW.

I WANT TO LIKEWISE ASSURE YOU THAT WE WILL NOT ABANDONED OUR COMMITMENT TO REIMAGINING PUBLIC SAFETY SO THAT EVERY PERSON IN THIS COMMUNITY FEELS SAFE IN THERE AND NEIGHBORHOOD, MY PLEDGE IS THAT WE WILL MOVE THIS IMPORTANT WORK FORWARD WHILE COMPLYING WITH THE STATE'S REQUIREMENTS.

IT WILL DEMAND COLLABORATION AND INNOVATION, BUT WE CAN DO IT.

LET ME MOVE NOW TO OUR PROPOSED INVESTMENTS AND CONTINUING THE FIGHT AGAINST HOMELESSNESS, WHICH IS AN ISSUE THAT CUTS ACROSS ALL SIX OUTCOME AREAS.

IT'S BEEN SAID THAT THE MORAL TEST OF GOVERNMENT IS HOW IT TREATS THOSE IN THE DAWN OF LIFE.

THOSE IN THE TWILIGHT OF LIFE AND THOSE IN THE SHADOWS OF LIFE, CERTAINLY OUR NEIGHBORS WHO ARE CONTINUING TO EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS ARE IN THE SHADOWS OF LIFE.

AND I COULDN'T AGREE MORE THAT HOW WE TREAT THEM IS FUNDAMENTALLY A MORAL ISSUE.

I SAID EARLIER, WE'VE MADE PROGRESS IN OUR EFFORTS TO COMBAT HOMELESSNESS.

AND IT'S TRUE THAT OUR WORK HAS HELPED TO MOVE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE INTO HOUSING, WHETHER SHORT TERM, MEDIUM TERM OR LONG TERM AND TRANSITION MANY INTO THE INABILITY.

BUT IT'S ALSO CLEAR THAT CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS REMAINS AT A CRISIS LEVEL IN OUR COMMUNITY.

IN MY VIEW, THAT MEANS WE MUST CONTINUE TO BUILD A COMMUNITY OF GOVERNMENTS, ORGANIZATIONS, AND INDIVIDUALS DEVOTED TO FIGHTING CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS, AND THAT WE MUST CONTINUE TO DEVOTE THE RESOURCES NEEDED TO HELP LIFT UP OUR MOST VULNERABLE NEIGHBORS IN THEIR TIME OF NEED.

OUR WORK IS MORE URGENT NOW THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN IN TERMS OF JUST THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

OUR FIGHT AGAINST HOMELESSNESS CUTS ACROSS 16 DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS AND INVOLVES HUNDREDS OF STAFF FOR FISCAL YEAR 22.

WE'RE PROPOSING TO MAINTAIN 65.2 MILLION IN FUNDING FOR THIS ONGOING EFFORTS.

IN ADDITION TO THE MULTI-YEAR FUNDING OF 106.7 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS RECENTLY COMMITTED BY COUNCIL WITH THESE RESOURCES, WE'LL FOCUS ON FOUR, FOUR STRATEGIES, REDUCING INFLOW, CRISIS RESPONSE, HOUSING STABILIZATION AND MANAGING PUBLIC SPACES WILL PROVIDE SHELTER AND HOUSING BOTH THROUGH OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS AND DIRECTLY WE'LL DELIVER MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SUPPORTS, AND WE'LL PROVIDE PROGRAMS THAT HELP LEAD TO EMPLOYMENT.

AND LONG-TERM SELF-SUFFICIENCY, WE KNOW THE ROAD AHEAD ON HOMELESSNESS IS LONG, BUT WE ALSO KNOW THAT TO SIMPLY WALK AWAY WITH DISHONOR, THE VALUES THAT MAKE AUSTIN WHAT IT IS, AND WE WILL NOT WALK AWAY.

NOW, WE TURN VERY BRIEFLY TO THE ISSUE OF MOBILITY, ANOTHER CRITICAL SD TWENTY-THREE PRIORITY AREA.

OBVIOUSLY ONE OF THE BIGGEST EVENTS IN THE PAST YEAR, IN FACT, ONE THAT WAS MORE THAN 20 YEARS IN THE MAKING WAS VOTER APPROVAL OF PROPOSITION A OR PROJECT CONNECT.

NOW FINALLY, OUR COMMUNITY WILL BEGIN INVESTING IN A HIGH CAPACITY TRANSIT SYSTEM THAT WILL DRAMATICALLY TRANSFORM

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NOT ONLY HOW WE GET AROUND, BUT ALSO HOW WE GROW AS A REGION, AS YOU KNOW, IMPLEMENTATION OF PROJECT CONNECT IS A JOINT RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN, CAPITAL METRO AND THE NEWLY FORMED AUSTIN TRANSIT PARTNERSHIP IMMEDIATELY AFTER VOTER APPROVAL.

IN NOVEMBER, WE BEGAN TAKING THE STEPS NECESSARY TO FULFILL THE CITY'S RESPONSIBILITY, INCLUDING CREATING THE PROJECT CONNECT OFFICE, WHICH WILL SERVE AS OUR SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT FOR DEPARTMENTAL AND INTER AGENCY COLLABORATION.

NOW, OUR FOCUS TURNS TO MAKING THE AMBITIOUS CONNECT VISION INTO A REALITY.

THUS, THE FISCAL YEAR 22 BUDGET INCLUDES 2.4 MILLION FOR 18 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES, PRIMARILY FOCUSED ON DESIGN, ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES, PERMITTING UTILITY COORDINATION, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR THE TWO LIGHT RAIL LINES AROUND WHICH THE PROJECT CONNECTS WE'LL BE CENTERED.

NOW I'D LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT RESILIENCE.

YOU'VE ALREADY HEARD ME USE THAT WORD A LOT HERE TODAY AND PROBABLY ELSEWHERE, BUT IT'S MUCH MORE THAN JUST A WORD.

IT'S A VALUE THAT I BELIEVE IS CENTRAL TO ACHIEVING OUR LONG-TERM SD 23 GOALS, BECAUSE IF THE EVENTS OF THE PAST 16 MONTHS HAVE TAUGHT US ANYTHING, IT'S THAT WE OFTEN NEGLECT TO PREPARE FOR THREATS THAT PUT US ALL AT RISK.

AT THE SAME TIME, WE'VE LEARNED THAT PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITIES WITH A LITTLE HELP CAN AND WILL BOUNCE BACK FROM ADVERSITY.

AND SO, ESPECIALLY FOR OUR MOST VULNERABLE RESIDENTS, IT'S CRITICAL THAT WE INVEST THE RESOURCES NECESSARY NOW TO GUARD AGAINST THE WORST IMPACTS OF POTENTIAL FUTURE EMERGENCIES.

THAT'S WHY OUR FISCAL YEAR 22 PROPOSAL INCLUDES FOUR HIGH PRIORITY RESILIENCE PROJECTS.

FIRST, THE AUSTIN FIRE DEPARTMENT WITH SUPPORT FROM HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT WILL LAUNCH A WILDFIRE EVACUATION ASSESSMENT BASED ON PREDICTIVE MODELING THAT WILL BE USED TO MAKE SURE RESIDENTS HAVE SAFE ESCAPE ROUTES IN THE EVENTS OF LARGE-SCALE WILDFIRE.

SECOND, WE WILL LAUNCH A COMMUNITY WIDE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE AUSTINITES ON HOW TO PREPARE FOR EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS, SUCH AS HEAT WAVES AND SEVERE FREEZES LIKE WE HAD IN FEBRUARY 3RD, THE OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY WILL WORK WITH THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH TO HELP ENSURE THAT OUR REGIONAL FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN WON'T BE INTERRUPTED IN THE FACE OF POTENTIAL DISRUPTIONS OR DISASTERS AND FORTH WITH INITIAL FUNDING FROM THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN, WE WILL CONTINUE COLLABORATING WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS TO EXPLORE PROPOSALS FOR SEVERAL COMMUNITY RESILIENCE HUBS.

THESE WILL BE PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE FACILITIES THAT CAN PROVIDE CRITICAL EMERGENCY SERVICES TO RESIDENTS DURING DISASTER EVENTS.

FINALLY, THE LAST ELEMENT OF THE BUDGET PROPOSAL THAT I WANT TO HIGHLIGHT IS IN SOME WAYS THE MOST IMPORTANT, BECAUSE NONE OF WHAT THE CITY OF AUSTIN DOES ACROSS ANY OF THE AREAS I'VE HIGHLIGHTED TODAY OR ANY OTHER OF THE VITAL COMMUNITY FUNCTIONS THAT WE SERVE WOULD BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT OUR INCREDIBLE CITY EMPLOYEES, OUR LOYALTY TO OUR EMPLOYEES AS RETURNED BY THEIR LOYALTY, TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS COMMUNITY THAT WE ALL SERVE.

THAT'S WHY WE HAVE CONTINUALLY PRIORITIZE INVESTMENTS IN OUR CITY EMPLOYEES AND FISCAL YEAR 22 IS NO DIFFERENT.

I'M PROUD TO SAY THAT EVEN WHEN WE FEARED THE WORST ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC OVER THE PAST YEAR, WE AVOIDED ANY EMPLOYEE LAYOFFS OR FURLOUGHS, AND BOTH THIS YEAR, AND AGAIN, IN FISCAL YEAR 22, WE HAVE ALSO MAINTAINED ALL CURRENT HEALTH BENEFITS AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO EMPLOYEES.

FOR ALL SWORN EMPLOYEES.

WE WILL OF COURSE HONOR NEGOTIATED LABOR CONTRACT WAGE INCREASES.

AND FOR ALL CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, I'M HAPPY TO SAY THAT OUR FISCAL YEAR 22 BUDGET INCLUDES A 2% BEIGE BASED WAGE ADJUSTMENTS AND A ONE-TIME $500 STIPEND TO MOVE THE NEEDLE ON GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS FOR ALL IT'S FUNDAMENTAL TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN AN EXCEPTIONAL WORKFORCE.

AND THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS, BUT THE CHALLENGES WE FACE IN THE YEARS AHEAD, WE WILL NEED THE INGENUITY OF OUR CITY EMPLOYEES MORE NEVER.

SO LET ME AGAIN, TO CONCLUDE BY TALKING TO YOU, AS I SAID, I WOULD BACK TO THE FINANCIAL CHALLENGES WE HAVE AHEAD.

HERE'S THE SIMPLE FACT, BASICALLY THE PROJECTED GROWTH IN OUR BASE COSTS ALONE OVER THE NEXT FIVE FISCAL YEARS, THE STATE'S 3.5% REVENUE CAP WILL RESULT IN ANNUAL BUDGET DEFICITS THAT START AT 5.5 MILLION IN FISCAL YEAR 23 AND GROW TO 15.6 MILLION

[00:40:02]

BY FISCAL YEAR 26 CAR-LESS OF WHETHER COUNCIL MAY ULTIMATELY ASK VOTERS TO APPROVE EXCEEDING THE CAP.

AND REGARDLESS OF WHAT VOTERS MAY ULTIMATELY SAY, IT'S CLEAR THAT AS AN ORGANIZATION, WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO TAKE ACTION TO STREAMLINE OUR PROGRAMS AND SERVICES AND TO REDUCE OUR COSTS.

NOW PLEASE MAKE NO MISTAKE.

CITY STAFF HAS ALREADY BEEN HARD AT WORK AT IDENTIFYING INNOVATIVE WAYS TO WORK SMARTER, TO BE MORE EFFICIENT AND TO MAKE MORE OF LIMITED RESOURCES.

FOR EXAMPLE, IN RECENT YEARS, WE'VE REINVENTED OUR APPROACH TO PLANNING, BUILDING, AND ACQUIRING OFFICE SPACE, USING PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS TO MAKE THE PROCESS BOTH FASTER AND MORE AFFORDABLE.

IN FACT, THROUGHOUT THE CITY, WE'RE TOTALLY FOCUSED ON FINDING NEW WAYS TO IMPROVE PROCESS AND LOWER OPERATIONAL COSTS.

AND BECAUSE WE ARE FUNDAMENTALLY AN INNOVATIVE ORGANIZATION, I KNOW WE CAN CLOSE SOME PART OF THAT FUTURE BUDGET GAP THROUGH CREATIVITY AND DETERMINATION.

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW YET IS EXACTLY WHAT OUR FUTURE REVENUE PICTURE WILL LOOK LIKE OR EXACTLY HOW MUCH WE CAN REDUCE OUR COSTS WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES THAT COUNCIL HAS PRIORITIZED AND THAT OUR COMMUNITY EXPECTS FOR TODAY.

IT'S ENOUGH TO SIMPLY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE IS A RECKONING AHEAD AND AGREE THAT THE HAND WE HAVE BEEN DEALT WILL REQUIRE ALL OF US TO WORK TOGETHER, TO FIND NEW WAYS, MEET AUSTIN'S FUTURE NEEDS.

SO I WANT TO END NOW WHERE I BEGAN AND REMIND US ONCE AGAIN, THAT THIS HAS BEEN A PERIOD OF CHALLENGE, LIKE WE'VE NEVER EXPERIENCED BEFORE.

THERE WERE MOMENTS OVER THE PAST 16 MONTHS, WHEN MANY OF US ASKED OURSELVES, HOW COULD THINGS POSSIBLY GET WORSE? BUT AS BARBARA JORDAN ONCE SAID, I AM A BORN OPTIMIST AND I AM DETERMINED TO SHARE AND SPREAD MY OPTIMISM ABOUT WHAT WE CAN ACCOMPLISH AS A CITY EVEN.

AND IN FACT, ESPECIALLY UNDER THE MOST DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES, WE ARE INNOVATIVE.

WE ARE DETERMINED.

WE HAVE SHARED VALUES AND A CLEAR VISION.

WE ARE TOTALLY DEDICATED TO IMPROVING THE EQUITY AND EFFICIENCY OF THE SERVICES WE DELIVER.

AND YOU CAN BE SURE THAT WE WILL DRIVE RELENTLESSLY IN THE DIRECTION OF COLLABORATION AND RESILIENCE ON BEHALF OF EVERY ONE OF THE MILLION RESIDENTS OF THIS AMAZING CITY, BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT COMES OUR WAY, I KNOW THAT AUSTIN BEST DAYS ARE ALWAYS AHEAD OF US.

I WANT TO THANK YOU, MAYOR AND COUNCIL FOR ALLOWING ME TO SERVE OUR COMMUNITY AS CITY MANAGER.

I WANT TO ONCE AGAIN, THANK ALL OF YOU AND TO THE CITY STAFF AND COMMUNITY LEADERS WHO HELPED CREATE THIS BUDGET PROPOSAL.

AND AGAIN, TO OUR WHOLE, OUR HOSTS, MOBILE LOAVES AND FISHES.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU AGAIN FOR BEING HERE TODAY.

THANK YOU.

THAT CONCLUDES TODAY'S PRESENTATION, BUT I'M PLEASED TO INVITE YOU TO ENJOY REFRESHMENTS IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM.

AND ONCE AGAIN, THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH.



* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.