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How will you help address the affordability problems in Austin?

Rich DePalma

City Council, District 8

As the city continues to grow so do our affordability and housing needs. To start, we should:

  • Update our land development code so that more diverse types of housing units can be built throughout the city including on smaller lots.
  • Fix the permitting process and requirements so that residents do not need a degree or a loan to be able to apply for a building permit. The city is upgrading its permitting system AMANDA and it should look to partner with Austin Tech Alliance to create additional third party tools to fix any gaps that the system currently has still (I am not a fan of it).
  • Release an RFP for the development of existing city property and prioritize the properties where vertical mixed use development along a transit corridor make sense.
  • Land bank new properties in future areas of growth.
  • Create pre-approved standard plans for infill development.
  • Incentivize senior housing.
  • Relax regulations on housing cooperatives.
  • Continue to Leverage the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. Our city could do more to ask developers to include more affordable housing units that target 40-50% MFI households, as opposed to only 80% MFI households.

Ultimately, one of the main reasons for our high taxes is the broken public school funding formula. This needs to be prioritized by the Texas Legislature in the 2019 legislative session. Austin Independent School District is the largest contributor to recapture and the taxes are impacting everyone including the City of Austin. AISD taxpayers pay more to recapture than their ENTIRE property taxes to the City of Austin. When taxes are too high, the taxpayer just wants them cut and the City of Austin is often the one under the microscope. Iā€™m the only candidate in the race who has testified at the state legislature on the impact the funding formula is having on affordability and on our facilities. This work is only beginning.