Difference between revisions of "Austin, Texas"

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(Budget: added new info)
m (City Website evaluation: fixed references)
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The City of Austin maintains a list of all lobbyists registered with the city. It can be found [[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/cityclerk/lobbyist/index.cfm here]]  
 
The City of Austin maintains a list of all lobbyists registered with the city. It can be found [[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/cityclerk/lobbyist/index.cfm here]]  
  
==City Website evaluation==
+
==City Website Evaluation==
 
{{City transparency checklist |
 
{{City transparency checklist |
 
  Rating                    = {{Rating6}} |
 
  Rating                    = {{Rating6}} |
Line 96: Line 96:
 
===The good===
 
===The good===
 
* Elected officials
 
* Elected officials
** Elected officials are listed with a mailing address and phone number.<ref name=mayor>[http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-city-council-members ''Austin'', City Council, Accessed: Jan 28, 2013]</ref>
+
** Elected officials are listed with a mailing address and phone number.<ref name=mayor>[http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-city-council-members ''Austin'', City of Austin, "City Council," accessed on January 28, 2013]</ref>
 
* Administrative officials
 
* Administrative officials
 
** Department heads are listed for each department.
 
** Department heads are listed for each department.
** Contact information for administrative officials is provided, including a mailing address and phone number.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/departments Directory, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
+
** Contact information for administrative officials is provided, including a mailing address and phone number.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/departments City of Austin, "Directory," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
 
* Budget
 
* Budget
 
** The most current budget is listed.
 
** The most current budget is listed.
** Budgets are archived for 12 years.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/budget/default.htm Budget, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>  
+
** Budgets are archived for 12 years.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/budget/default.htm City of Austin, "Budget," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>  
 
* Audits
 
* Audits
 
** The most recent audit is posted.
 
** The most recent audit is posted.
** Audits dating back to 1998 are available.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/budget/default.htm Budget, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>  
+
** Audits dating back to 1998 are available.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/budget/default.htm City of Austin, "Budget," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>  
 
* Meetings
 
* Meetings
 
** Meeting minutes are archived back to 1869.
 
** Meeting minutes are archived back to 1869.
 
** Meeting agendas are archived for 10 years.
 
** Meeting agendas are archived for 10 years.
 
** A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
 
** A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
** Meeting video or podcasts are available.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/department/city-council/council-meetings Agendas and Schedule, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
+
** Meeting video or podcasts are available.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/department/city-council/council-meetings City of Austin, "Agendas and Schedule," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
 
* Public records
 
* Public records
 
** The public information officer is identified and maintained by the Communications and Public Information Office.  This office provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
 
** The public information officer is identified and maintained by the Communications and Public Information Office.  This office provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
 
** A public records form is provided by the Communications and Public Information Office.
 
** A public records form is provided by the Communications and Public Information Office.
** Requests are able to be submitted online.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/online-form/public-information-request Public Records, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
+
** Requests are able to be submitted online.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/online-form/public-information-request City of Austin, "Public Records," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
*Names, contact information and responsibilities of the ethics review board members are published.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/cityclerk/boards_commissions/boards/bid29.htm Ethics Review Commission, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>  
+
*Names, contact information and responsibilities of the ethics review board members are published.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/cityclerk/boards_commissions/boards/bid29.htm City of Austin, "Ethics Review Commission," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>  
*Campaign Finance Reports are published.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/election/cfreports.htm Campaign Finance Reports, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
+
*Campaign Finance Reports are published.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/election/cfreports.htm City of Austin, "Campaign Finance Reports," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
 
* Contracts
 
* Contracts
 
** Bids and RFPs are posted online.
 
** Bids and RFPs are posted online.
** Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/financeonline/contract_catalog/index.cfm Contracts, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref><ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/financeonline/contract_catalog/OCCRPT.cfm Current Contracts]</ref>
+
** Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/financeonline/contract_catalog/index.cfm City of Austin, "Contracts," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref><ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/financeonline/contract_catalog/OCCRPT.cfm Current Contracts]</ref>
*Lobbyists' names are published.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/cityclerk/lobbyist/index.cfm Lobbyist Information, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>  
+
*Lobbyists' names are published.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/cityclerk/lobbyist/index.cfm City of Austin, "Lobbyist Information," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>  
 
* Permits and zoning
 
* Permits and zoning
 
** Zoning ordinances are posted online.
 
** Zoning ordinances are posted online.
** Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/zoning/ Zoning, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref><ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/department/business-related-permits Permits, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
+
** Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.<ref>[http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/zoning/ Zoning, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref><ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/department/business-related-permits City of Austin, "Permits," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
 
* Taxes
 
* Taxes
 
** Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
 
** Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
 
** Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
 
** Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
** Residents are able to pay taxes online.<ref>[https://www.ci.austin.tx.us/financeonline/finance/index.cfm Financial Services Online, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
+
** Residents are able to pay taxes online.<ref>[https://www.ci.austin.tx.us/financeonline/finance/index.cfm City of Austin, "Financial Services Online," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
  
 
===The bad===
 
===The bad===
 
* Administrative officials
 
* Administrative officials
** Personalized email addresses are not listed for elected officials. Instead, an email form is provided in some cases.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/departments Directory, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
+
** Personalized email addresses are not listed for elected officials. Instead, an email form is provided in some cases.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/departments City of Austin, "Directory," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
 
* Elected officials
 
* Elected officials
** Personalized email addresses are not listed for elected officials. Instead, an email form is provided.<ref name=mayor>[http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-city-council-members ''Austin'', City Council, Accessed: Jan 28, 2013, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
+
** Personalized email addresses are not listed for elected officials. Instead, an email form is provided.<ref name=mayor>[http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-city-council-members ''Austin'', City of Austin, "City Council," accessed on January 28, 2013, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
 
* Public records
 
* Public records
** A fee schedule for documents is not provided.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/online-form/public-information-request Public Records, accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
+
** A fee schedule for documents is not provided.<ref>[http://www.austintexas.gov/online-form/public-information-request City of Austin, "Public Records," accessed on August 12, 2004]</ref>
 
* Lobbying
 
* Lobbying
 
** Costs associated with lobbyists and memberships to government sector lobbying associations are not included.
 
** Costs associated with lobbyists and memberships to government sector lobbying associations are not included.

Revision as of 16:11, 19 August 2014

Austin, Texas
Seal of Austin, TX.png
General information
LeeLeffingwell.jpg
Mayor:Lee Leffingwell
Mayor party:Non-partisan
Last mayoral election:2012
Next mayoral election:2014
Last city council election:2012
Next city council election:2014
City council seats:7
2013-2014 FY Budget:$3.3 billion
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:885,400
Gender:49.4% Female
Race:White 68.3%
Hispanic or Latino 35.1%
African American 8.1%
Asian 6.3%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 0.9%
Two or More 3.4%
Unemployment:3.5%
Median household income:$52,431
High school graduation rate:86.1%
College graduation rate:44.8%
Related Austin offices
Texas Congressional Delegation
Texas State Legislature
Texas state executive offices
Austin is a city in Travis County, Texas, and is the state capital. As of 2013, its population was 885,400.[1]

Office of the Mayor

Lee Leffingwell is the current Mayor of Austin. He was first elected in 2009, and was re-elected in 2012. Due to term limits, he is ineligible for re-election in 2014. As mayor, Leffingwell presides over city council proceedings.[2][3]

City Council

Council-Manager System

Since 1924, the city of Austin has utilized a council-manager system. An elected city council, which serves as the city's chief legislative body, appoints an executive called a city manager to oversee the city's day-to-day operations and to plan and implement the city's operating budget. Austin's current city manager is Marc Ott. He oversees a staff of six assistant and deputy city managers.[2][4]

Boards and Commissions

A series of advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the Austin City Council. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.[5]

For a full list of Austin city boards and commissions, see here

Membership

For most of its recent history, Austin featured a city council with a total of seven seats, including the mayor. All were elected at-large and served a maximum of three, three-year terms. The success of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in the November 2012 elections, however, altered this arrangement. Collectively, these propositions created four new council seats; established ten new districts within the city, each of which will elect its own city council representative; and set council and mayoral term limits to two, four-year staggered terms. The mayor will still serve on the council as its eleventh member. These changes are to take effect in conjunction with the November 2014 elections.[6][7]

For more information, see here

A full list of City Council members can be found here

Meetings

The Austin City Council meets every other Thursday throughout the year. The council's calendar can be found here.

Elections

2014

See also: Austin, Texas municipal elections, 2014

The city of Austin, Texas held nonpartisan elections for mayor and city council on November 4, 2014. The candidate filing deadline was August 18, 2014. A runoff election took place on December 16. Ten city council seats were up election.[8]

Budget

Austin's proposed budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 was $3.5 billion - approximately $200 million more than the adopted operating budget for fiscal year 2013-14. Of that $3.5 billion, $850.6 million constitutes the general fund - funds used to maintain the city's basic infrastructure and day-to-day operations. The proposed budget provides funding for fifty-nine new police officers, seventeen new hires at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, a %3.5 pay increase for city employees and a %1 increase for elected officials. The budget also decreases property taxes by roughly %4.[9][10][11]

Contact Information

Office of the Mayor
P. O. Box 1088
Austin, TX 78767
Phone: 512-974-2250

See here to contact individual council members.

Ballot Measures

See also: Travis County, Texas ballot measures

The city of Austin is in Travis County. A list of ballot measures in Travis County is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Texas

Population as of the July 2011 census update: 820,611.[1] Austin is a charter city. Signature requirement is 10% of the qualified voters of the city. Petition form requirements are in Austin Charter, Art. IV, Sec. 3. File petitions with the city clerk. After certification, the council has 10 days to pass or submit without amendment to a vote of the qualified voters of the city at a regular or special election to be held on the next allowable election date authorized by state law after the certification to the council. Charter specifies that cannot use initiative for ordinances appropriating money or authorizing the levy of taxes.

DocumentIcon.jpg Austin Charter, Art. IV

Lobbying

See also: Texas government sector lobbying

Austin spent $140,000 onlobbying in 2014.[12]

The City of Austin maintains a list of all lobbyists registered with the city. It can be found [here]

City Website Evaluation

Grade2.pngC
Budget Y
600px-Yes check.png
Meetings Y
600px-Yes check.png
Elected Officials P
Partial.png
Administrative Officials P
Partial.png
Permits, zoning
{{{1}}}
Audits Y
600px-Yes check.png
Contracts Y
600px-Yes check.png
Lobbying P
Partial.png
Public Records P
Partial.png
Local Taxes
{{{1}}}

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address and phone number.[13]
  • Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided, including a mailing address and phone number.[14]
  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 12 years.[15]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 1998 are available.[16]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived back to 1869.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 10 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting video or podcasts are available.[17]
  • Public records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the Communications and Public Information Office. This office provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
    • A public records form is provided by the Communications and Public Information Office.
    • Requests are able to be submitted online.[18]
  • Names, contact information and responsibilities of the ethics review board members are published.[19]
  • Campaign Finance Reports are published.[20]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[21][22]
  • Lobbyists' names are published.[23]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[24][25]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[26]

The bad

  • Administrative officials
    • Personalized email addresses are not listed for elected officials. Instead, an email form is provided in some cases.[27]
  • Elected officials
    • Personalized email addresses are not listed for elected officials. Instead, an email form is provided.[13]
  • Public records
    • A fee schedule for documents is not provided.[28]
  • Lobbying
    • Costs associated with lobbyists and memberships to government sector lobbying associations are not included.

See Also

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 U.S. Census "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on August 11, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 City of Austin, "Government," accessed on August 11, 2014
  3. KUT.org Austin’s Next City Council: Primarily Made of Newbies," April 12, 2013
  4. Office of the City Manager, "About," accessed on August 19, 2014
  5. City of Austin, "Boards and Commissions," accessed on August 18, 2014
  6. Daily Texan Online, "City Propositions 1 and 2 Pass: Austin to have November City Elections," November 7, 2012
  7. The Austin Bulldog, "10 to 1 Plan to rule council elections," November 7, 2012
  8. City of Austin, "2014 Election Calendar," accessed May 14, 2014
  9. City of Austin FY 2013-14
  10. Proposed Budget Highlights. Fiscal Year 2014-2015. City of Austin, accessed on August 19, 2014
  11. Time Warner Cable News: Austin, "City Council Gets First Look at 2015 Budget," July 31, 2014
  12. Open Secrets "City of Austin," accessed on August 12, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 Austin, City of Austin, "City Council," accessed on January 28, 2013
  14. City of Austin, "Directory," accessed on August 12, 2004
  15. City of Austin, "Budget," accessed on August 12, 2004
  16. City of Austin, "Budget," accessed on August 12, 2004
  17. City of Austin, "Agendas and Schedule," accessed on August 12, 2004
  18. City of Austin, "Public Records," accessed on August 12, 2004
  19. City of Austin, "Ethics Review Commission," accessed on August 12, 2004
  20. City of Austin, "Campaign Finance Reports," accessed on August 12, 2004
  21. City of Austin, "Contracts," accessed on August 12, 2004
  22. Current Contracts
  23. City of Austin, "Lobbyist Information," accessed on August 12, 2004
  24. Zoning, accessed on August 12, 2004
  25. City of Austin, "Permits," accessed on August 12, 2004
  26. City of Austin, "Financial Services Online," accessed on August 12, 2004
  27. City of Austin, "Directory," accessed on August 12, 2004
  28. City of Austin, "Public Records," accessed on August 12, 2004