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Flannigan chides Austin Council for talking about reneging on Domain incentives

(Photo courtesy Simon Property Group)

As Austin City Council works on finalizing its budget for the next fiscal year, there's talk of the city going back on its incentives agreement with The Domain.

Some on Council like Leslie Pool think its ok to renege on the agreement and not give them their incentives because the developer hasn't met certain affordable housing goals or sent back enough in taxes and fees. Councilmember Jimmy Flannigan warns of the consequences of such actions. "Every time we make it more difficult. Every time we send a signal to the community that we're not going to hold ourselves to the agreements that we make, the next negotiation we go into is going to get more expensive."

When the city cut the deal with the Domain years ago, it left a bad taste in everyone's mouth and city policy regarding incentives changed.  Flannigan even cited a previous election about it. "But the community said, 'we believe the city should hold fast to the contracts and agreements that it makes.' The community sent that signal in a very large way, in no uncertain terms." He goes on to say "Every time we talk about making it more difficult, or any time we talk about our willingness to cancel agreements, the next agreement becomes more expensive. It becomes more difficult to get community benefits. It becomes more difficult to get affordable housing."

Council took no further action on that item but will take it up again later this week. 

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