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Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Thursday, April 26, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Libraries plan to designate areas for petitioning

After a month of consultations with the Law Department over the language of the rules governing petitioning on library property, the Austin Public Library may have found a compromise.Instead of limiting petitioning to sidewalks surrounding the libraries, which groups have…

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin can now access a database dedicated to the effects of development on trees

The City Arborist Program has just released a new, interactive tool where everyone has access to all active tree permits at any given time online.Not all trees are being tracked on this dashboard. The city arborist only reviews and protects trees…

Friday, April 20, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin Energy troubled by hiring concerns

City jobs are notorious for having a prolonged hiring process. However, at Austin Energy, the process has become excruciatingly long, even by its own standards, and it’s starting to have repercussions.At the April 16 Electric Utility Commission meeting, Mark Dombroski, who…

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin Energy’s last employee returns from Puerto Rico

At 6:30 p.m. on April 16, Paul Vasquez, the superintendent of system operations at Austin Energy, announced at the Electric Utility Commission meeting that Austin Energy’s last employee had returned from the disaster reparation efforts that Austin had participated in…

Monday, April 16, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Landfill fix on hold for now

Landfills exist comfortably outside of the public eye until something happens that reminds everyone that their upkeep is a critical component to keep our city functioning.On April 11, Tony Davee, a project manager with Austin Resource Recovery, came to the…

Friday, April 13, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Will PARD ever get enough money to implement recycling in the parks?

In every Austin home, there is the option to trash your waste or recycle it (many even have a composting option available). So why aren’t Austinites given the same opportunity at the city of Austin’s parks and recreational facilities?At the…

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

AISD board debates how to prevent a financially insolvent school district

When Austinites passed the $1 billion Austin Independent School District bond that was intended for major improvements in school facilities as well as transportation and district-wide improvements to technology for teachers and students, they knew they were voting to provide…

Monday, April 9, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends CodeNEXT drainage regulations with review

How many complaints on an issue are sufficient to warrant a change in city code? This question cropped up continually at the April 4 meeting of the Environmental Commission as commissioners worked to pass a resolution regarding CodeNEXT drainage regulations.According…

Monday, April 2, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Artist Access Program development remains paused

Recently the city paused a program for artist venue space in response to complaints about how it would balance the residential groups’ cultural identities and the programming that would take place in the individual cultural centers.Since 2011, the city has…

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Will petitions be allowed on library property?

Since 2018 began, two individuals with IndyAustin who were gathering signatures for a CodeNEXT petition outside of Austin public libraries have been cited with criminal trespass warnings. Those citations have been rescinded as the city works to clarify their position on…

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Commissioner rocks the boat with concerns about security of Austin Energy software contract

Several years ago, Austin Energy found itself “over a barrel” due to an underbid and underdelivered contract awarded to IBM to create new system software that would bridge Austin Energy’s meters and its billing system. Now one member of the…

Friday, March 23, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Commission: Former police monitor did not violate city policy

On Wednesday night, the Ethics Review Commission found that former police monitor Margo Frasier was not in violation of any city policy and did not impose any sanctions against her.By clearing Frasier’s name in a 7-2 vote, the commission took…

Thursday, March 22, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin’s 100-year flood plain looks more like today’s 500-year flood plain

In Austin, flooding has been a concern for decades, but in the last several years, the urgency with which the city is conducting the conversation has escalated. In the last four years alone, Austin has experienced four federally declared flooding…

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin Water still repairing shattered trust with water bill smoothing

After months of investigation, Austin Water and Austin Energy have an answer for the unusual spikes that Austinites saw in their water bills last September.Although Austin Water responded and changed its meter-reading contractor after the rash of misreads came to…

Monday, March 19, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Should the auditor’s office be exempt from municipal civil service?

Having an independent auditor’s office is integral to running a city where checks and balances fulfill their intended function. Independence, however, is not always easy to maintain, and in Austin, the Office of the City Auditor is working to balance…

Thursday, March 15, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Commissions weigh use of parkland for stadium

In the face of a lawsuit brought against it by the Ohio attorney general and the city of Columbus to prevent it from relocating to Austin, Precourt Sports Ventures, the owner of the Columbus Crew SC Major League Soccer team,…

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Human Rights Commission offers measured support to the People’s Plan

It’s no revelation that the Austin housing market is exploding and new developments are popping up almost as quickly as people are moving in. And out.To help address the displacement and gentrification Austin is experiencing, at its Feb. 26 meeting,…

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin’s community solar program comes to light

For years, people have lamented that although the sun shines at no cost, it is cost prohibitive to redirect its energy from the outdoors and into your home. Even if Austinites want to implement solar technology, they must contend with…

Friday, March 2, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

CodeNEXT Draft 3 makes significant changes to water-quality and drainage regulations

After months of waiting, last month the third and final staff draft of CodeNEXT was released. After allowing adequate reading time, on Feb. 21, Matt Hollon, the manager of the Watershed Protection Department Planning Division, gave the Environmental Commission an…

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Dumpster contract headed to Council, hung up on lobbying ordinance rewrite

As City Council continues to debate the policies associated with the anti-lobbying ordinance, Austin solid waste contracts are beginning to expire with very little recourse for renewals. The latest casualty is city-owned facilities’ dumpster collection services.On Feb. 14, Austin Resource…

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