The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department faces $125 million in deferred maintenance each year, ranging from playground maintenance and aquatics needs to mowing and servicing trash and recycling receptacles. What would be your strategy for addressing this need?

Bobby Levinski

City Council, District 8

Identifying funding for parkland maintenance and fixing our pools have
always been top priorities for me in helping balance the budget throughout
my service as a council aide. Because parks are often hit the hardest
during the bad years, I have worked to restore funds for maintenance
during better financial forecasts (such as adding 2 FTEs for maintenance in
FY15). Relying solely on general fund revenue is extremely volatile, which
is why it is so important that we maintain a strong parkland dedication
ordinance to require developers of new projects to help pay for and create

I am very much supportive of Proposition C, which will dedicate $149
million towards towards our parks and pools, and I am speaking in favor of
it on the campaign trail. Should the voters pass it in November, we need to
work to leverage these funds as much as possible, to ensure we are
addressing as many of our needs as possible. We should also be more
proactive in reaching out to commercial landowners for the establishment
of public improvement districts (PIDs), where a little private investment in
parkland could not only increase their land values but fill some gaps in the
system in the process, without any impact to our general fund.

With regard to the recycling receptacles, I understand there is a proposal to
increase the Clean Community Fee by $0.13 to help pay for recycling
receptacles in the parks. I am generally supportive of this plan, as it fairly
limited in its long-term financial impacts for residents; however, because
this would increase a regressive, flat-rate fee, I would also like to explore
some other funding possibilities. For example, because some of the
receptacles would be placed around metered parking lots to help keep
them clean, some of the parking meter revenue could be used to lower the
impact on the Clean Community Fee.