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Stories by Jessi Devenyns

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…

Monday, February 26, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

FEMA grants Austin funding to help fix Guerrero Park

Eight months ago, Austin’s Watershed Protection Department optimistically declared that the washed-out bridge over what’s known as Country Club Creek West in Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park would be completed by 2020. Unfortunately, now the plan has been shifted back…

Friday, February 23, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Once again, Austin’s landfill criteria is back in discussion

Nobody wants their backyard to become a landfill.For nearly a year, Austin Resource Recovery has been redesigning the landfill criteria matrix that refuse companies will have to abide by going forward. Problem is, it seems that staff is caught in…

Thursday, February 15, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Austinites may soon be able to directly support candidates through voucher donations

When it comes to political campaigning, it’s no secret that Austin has funding inequalities. Some fear these funding inequalities have fostered a lack of engagement among voters that has helped lead to the city’s notorious low turnout at the polls.Responding…

Friday, February 9, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Regret an ethics complaint? City may soon allow take-backs

On occasion, a complaint will come to the Ethics Review Commission only to be later followed by a request for withdrawal. However, according to current code, a request of this nature may not be honored.Concerned with the inability of plaintiffs to…

Thursday, February 8, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

The Austin people have spoken through six resolutions on displacement and gentrification

In Austin, it appears that the people have a plan. This past Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Susana Almanza of People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER) and Fred McGhee of Preserve Rosewood revealed the People’s Plan:…

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Parkland Events Task Force recommendations need more work

Almost exactly a year ago, the Parks and Recreation Department was tasked with implementing the final recommendations that were adopted by City Council from the 17-member Parkland Events Task Force.Established in 2015, the task force was given the assignment to…

Friday, February 2, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

2012 APD bond projects appear to be stalled on many sides

Generally, if a bond is issued with a specific project in mind, when the money is awarded, the city gives a project team five years to complete whatever project the taxpayers are funding. That is, of course, unless the costs…

Monday, January 29, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Nash Hernandez joint-use facility will remain indefinitely unopened 

For seven years, East Austin’s Nash Hernandez Building has remained empty as the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Austin Police Department have worked to create a 9,600-square-foot joint-use facility for Austin’s park rangers and park patrol units. As…

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission rejects Champion tract amendments

After years of lawsuits related to the development of the Champion tract, proposed amendments to the original 1996 development agreement will go to City Council without the Environmental Commission’s blessing.“We are here to tell you what the best environmental thing…

Friday, January 19, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission weighs options, recommends boat dock variance

It is always difficult to plan a project. However, conventional wisdom suggests that when three construction options exist, you pick the path of least resistance and do not select the choice that requires you to seek a variance from City…

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