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Reporter’s Notebook: Things happened

Monday, June 27, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

So, what’s up with Wednesday?… After last week’s epic City Council meeting that stretched until about 3 in the morning, there were very few people left bemoaning the looming July break. In fact, Thursday was scheduled to be the last official Council meeting before the summer break, but eagle-eyed Austinites (aka our readers) may have noticed that there will now be a specially called meeting on Wednesday. That meeting will address one single issue: the city’s Homestead Exemption. That item was discussed during a specially called meeting within the regular meeting, which, no, we don’t entirely understand either. At any rate, Council voted in favor of a 2 percent increase — which would bring the total exemption to 8 percent — at a cost to the city of about $3.8 million. That increase passed 6-5, with Council members Greg Casar, Delia Garza, Pio Renteria and Ora Houston and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo voting in opposition. That narrow victory was not enough to pass the increase on all three readings, so, enjoy Wednesday, everyone.

A raise for Ott… After a lot of back and forth and scheduling and forms and not-forms, our City Manager Marc Ott has been evaluated. And, on Thursday, that evaluation resulted in a 7.6 percent raise (or $22,000 more per year). Mayor Steve Adler noted in his remarks that the raise brought Ott’s compensation up to the market value of the position: $309,441, plus benefits. “I’m proud to cast this vote. …The city manager of Austin, Texas, deserves to be paid at least what is the average in (the) state. This is a city that is special,” said Adler. “I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the country and around the world in this role, and our city is the envy of virtually every city that I attend. … And I think that the CEO of the city is in large measure responsible for that.” Council voted 7-1-3 to approve the raise, with Council members Ellen Troxclair, Delia Garza and Sheri Gallo abstaining. Council Member Don Zimmerman, who called for Ott’s removal, voted against the raise.

Also, this happened… Can you find Adler?

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