WNA May Meeting Minutes, 5/12/14

Wooten Neighborhood Association

Minutes from the WNA Meeting, May 12, 2014


President Chris Gregory called the meeting to order at 7pm. The meeting minutes from March 2014 were approved.

Sarah Gregory provided a treasurer’s report. The neighborhood garage sale from earlier in May made $326 for the Park Fund, which now has a total balance of $592.21. We spent $141.75 on printing flyers for the garage sale, and received $343.97 for newsletter ads, as well as $10 in dues, which leaves Wooten with a current balance of $2108.09 in the general fund.

Austin Police Department District Representative Officer Joe Hebbe provided an update on crime statistics and other issues in the neighborhood. He said that he tried to get some of the apartments along Wooten Park Drive to start a neighborhood organization to deter crime. He said that when he arranged for a meeting to take place, he didn’t get a tremendous response, but he did get a few good contacts of residents there who were interested. Officer Hebbe said he also went to Wooten Elementary and Burnet Middle School to reach out to parents about the issue.

Officer Hebbe explained that from January to March, there were 15 vehicle burglaries and six residential burglaries in Wooten. From March to May, there were 13 vehicle burglaries and 14 residential burglaries, and these numbers are likely to increase over the warmer summer months. Officer Hebbe said it was hard to know whether the youths arrested recently were involved in many of these crimes. Most home burglaries happen during the day when people are not home, and vehicle burglaries are more likely to happen at night. He reiterated that if you see something suspicious, call 9-1-1, not 3-1-1.

A neighbor asked if there was a way to get patrols out at the time that school starts and stops to deal with some of the mischief the students make on their walk to/from school. Officer Hebbe said it was possible, but because there are so many schools around Austin, it’s hard to get enough officers out to all of them, but he said he would try to see what he could do to get a patrol near Burnet MS.

Chris explained that Joanne Clem Garrett, who could not attend the WNA meeting, had attended the meeting with some of the residents from the Wooten Park Drive apartments, and wanted to relay that the residents were concerned about the prevalence of marijuana smoking, dumpsters sticking out into the street getting hit by cars, and the lack of lighting in Wooten Park.

Chris explained that Stephen Zettner now has a website called AustinDistrict7.org to help introduce residents to the District 7 candidates for City Council. Chris has been participating, but only as a resident, not as an official WNA representative. Chris asked if WNA would want to donate $50 to their organization to purchase signs to encourage people to learn about the candidates and vote. Steve Rogers explained that our bylaws prevent us from using WNA funds to go toward anything that ends up endorsing a candidate; Chris said he will look into whether the group would ultimately endorse and report back at the next WNA meeting.

Chris discussed the Love Your Block program, which offers grants from $500 to $1000 for tree planting, vacant lot cleanup or garden development. Applications are due June 1, and it was suggested that those in Wooten submitting an application coordinate with each other so they don’t duplicate requests.

Chris and Steve Rogers attended the Austin Neighborhoods Council Sector 2 meeting  earlier this month. Chris and Steve explained that the meeting largely discussed CodeNext, the rewrite of the land development code, and it seems that ANC is a little nervous that our neighborhoods’ plans exist from a previous city-wide plan, and people are unsure if CodeNext may ultimately trump some of the existing neighborhood plans. ANC has a Yahoo Group, called ANC Talks, and anyone can join it.

Marilyn Rogers explained that WNA is no longer a member of ANC. ANC dues are $35/year, and they meet on the fourth Wednesday of every month. Being a member allows WNA to vote on their resolutions. Marilyn motioned to join ANC again; Adam Turner seconded the motion; and the motion was passed to join.

Marilyn also discussed Austin Energy tree trimming. Wooten has been targeted to have our trees trimmed by Austin Energy to stay clear of power lines. Austin Energy will evaluate each property to determine what work needs to be done, and then they will notify the property owners of what they plan to do to each property starting in mid-May.

Laura Tomlinson provided a park committee and garage sale update. WNA put in a proposal for two water fountains in Wooten Park. Each fountain costs $3000, plus nearly $20000 for the plumbing work to clear out the old fountain and install the new one. The proposal asks for $23,500, and WNA will need to match at least 10% or $3000 by 4/30/15. The park fund has $326 from the garage sale, and they are considering other ways to raise money, including selling memorial bricks for where the pet fountain will be, or putting up signs that encourage people to donate, or asking businesses for donations.

Rhan Jackson provided a Commander’s Forum Update. The next forum for our region is 7/7/14. There have been 49 robberies/violent crimes city-wide this year, which comes to 3 per 100,000 people. The gang issues in Austin are not murder-involved, which is good news. Residents can call the APD Public Information Office at 512-974-5017 if they hear helicopters overhead and want to know what they’re doing. Typically, the helicopters are looking for a suspect, or a missing person.

There are two candidate forums coming up in September. One on 9/18/14 is sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Austin Ethics Commission. This is for both Districts 4 and 7. One on 9/26/14 is just for District 7, and Matt Armstrong from Crestview set it up.

In July, Shoal Creek Conservancy will be coming to speak at the WNA meeting, as will John Michael Cortez from Capital Metro. In September, there will be a discussion about property taxes with a representative from the Tax Assessor’s Office.

Chris welcomed Jeb Boyt, Ed English, and the wife of Jimmy Paver, all candidates for the District 7 seat on City Council.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:12pm.

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