City Council Responds to Austin Interfaith: Funding and Citizen Participation

Last spring, initial budget recommendations had slated Capital IDEA, Prime Time after School, ESL and other important programs normally supported by the city for ZERO funding. Since then, Council members approved a revised budget recommendation that expands funding for the highest rated programs at 70% of requested funding. If approved, Capital IDEA would receive continued funding at current levels of over $1,000,000 and other programs like Prime Time After School Program would also be funded. More than 100 Austin Interfaith leaders have been to City Hall this month to show their support for these programs. In addition to advocating for human development programs, AI leaders created a stir about the anti-lobbying ordinance preventing public participation in this process.

The anti-lobbying ordinance had muzzled Austinites from talking with council members about these key decisions. AI leaders have attended hearings at City Hall, met with council members and staged a press conference— succeeding in bringing the issue of public participation to the forefront (see AI coverage from the Statesman & Chronicle—below). Council members have now agreed publicly that the anti-lobbying ordinance is unclear and too strict, and instructed staff to review the policy. Leaders are working with council members to put these commitments into policy.

Point Austin: Hard Choices, Austin Chronicle (05/20/2011)

Groups Seek Clarity on City's Anti-Lobbying Ordinance, KUT News (05/12/2011)

Disappointed Crowd Seeks Answers on Social Services Funding Process, In Fact Daily (05/13/2011)