Friday, August 19, 2022

Mayor Pro Tem Alter Advances Budget Amendments that Strengthen Austin’s Public Health, Safety, and Workforce

Mayor Pro Tem Alison Alter authored a package of FY23 budget amendments that strengthens Austin’s preparedness for disease outbreaks and invests in green jobs and employee retention.
“Austin faces long-term challenges with public health, economic opportunity and climate readiness,” said Mayor Pro Tem Alter. “I’m proud to have championed amendments that address our vulnerabilities and foster resilience in our community.”
Alter, who represents District 10 on the Austin City Council, funded several public health initiatives. One amendment expands the City’s ability to monitor and respond to infectious diseases, by hiring 4 epidemiologists and dedicating $350,000 for critical needs in response to Monkeypox. Two additional amendments improve the billing and health records system for Austin-Travis County EMS and the Paramedic Practitioner Program. Revenue from the EMS billing backlog will be invested in EMS worker retention and recruitment incentives. The Mayor Pro Tem also co-sponsored an amendment funding EMS simulation training which will expedite the hiring, training, and promotion process for medics. The amendment also scales a life-saving pilot program for in-the-field administration of whole blood.
Many of Alter’s amendments focus on Austin’s workforce, including earmarking $3 million for long-term job training. “This funding will prepare Austinites for high-demand jobs that pay liveable wages,” said Alter. Additionally, Mayor Pro Tem Alter added staffing to the Austin Civilian Conservation Corps (ACCC), a green jobs program she developed during the pandemic. “The ACCC provides jobs and job-training while helping the city meet infrastructure and conservation goals,” said Alter.
Alter also advanced actions to improve Austin’s sexual assault response system. Building on preliminary Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) recommendations, the amendments include the following and more:

  • A new dedicated crime analyst for APD’s Sex Crimes Unit
  • An annual review of sexual assault cases and an increase to the Victim Emergency Assistance Fund
  • Additional vehicles for the Sex Crimes Unit, the Victim Services Division, and Investigative Services Counselor

“These services will help survivors obtain the healing and justice they deserve,” said Alter.

Other amendments in the package include: