Council split on interlocal agreement with state commission
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Austin City Council is considering an interlocal agreement with the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC), looking to the long-term possibility of redeveloping several state-owned properties that are inside Austin city limits. Some leaders say a partnership would be premature.
Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole is leading the charge to join the TFC as it determines the future use of state properties in the city.
"I believe that the sooner we become involved in this process, the better it will be," she said.
Council Member Laura Morrison says moving forward now is a mistake. She wants better guidance and is worried the Sunset Advisory Commission may significantly reduce the TFC's role.
Morrison says the city should hold off on any agreement until next August.
"It would be a strong statement that we definitely intend to do this, and that we are definitely interested in being at the table and part of this discussion, however it turns out." she said.
If the city does move forward, Cole's proposal would have it join the TFC to study the current use of state sites that are "underdeveloped and non-performing."
"That study involved property that is in addition to the Capitol Complex," Mayor Pro Tem Cole said.
The study would include five sites: the Hobby Building in Downtown, Camp Mabry in West Austin and several properties in Central Austin.
Mayor Lee Leffingwell says the benefits of the agreement outweigh concerns.
"Even though we do have a process that we go through here at the city, it is not necessarily going to be a process that is mandatory in the state of Texas,” the mayor said. “We need to be at the table early."
Mayor Pro Tem Cole says developing state-owned properties translates to new tax revenue for the city. She suggests the money be used for affordable housing and transportation projects.
City Council will likely vote on the agreement at their regularly scheduled Thursday.