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Stories by Jo Clifton

Friday, February 24, 2017 by Jo Clifton

New campaign finance rules in the works

Two City Council members, Ellen Troxclair and Jimmy Flannigan, are collecting campaign funds in anticipation of re-election campaigns that seem far in the future. Troxclair is likely to run for re-election in November 2018 for her District 8 seat, but…

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Developer wins suit against Crestview neighbors

Mark Dawson Homes has won its lawsuit against the residents of the Crestview neighborhood who tried to enforce an expired restrictive covenant against the developer that might have prevented it from building two homes on one lot at 7801 Mullen…

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Friday, February 17, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Immigration sparks Council fight

After a heated exchange between City Council members Ellen Troxclair and Greg Casar, Council voted 10-1 Thursday to approve $200,000 in emergency funding for immigrant legal services. Troxclair, Council’s only Republican, offered the only no vote and the only negative…

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Poll shows progress at Development Services

When Rodney Gonzales took over the Development Services Department in April 2015, the Zucker Report had reported customer survey results showing that 82 percent of respondents felt that the city’s development review and plan check processes were unnecessarily cumbersome or…

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Austin has proposal for Dripping Springs permit

The city of Austin has released a draft proposal for Dripping Springs’ controversial permit to discharge 995,000 gallons of treated wastewater into Onion Creek. The Austin and Dripping Springs city councils must both agree to the terms of the proposal.…

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Friday, February 10, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Tension surrounds Council rules changes

There were some tense moments Thursday as City Council worked through the ramifications of two innocuous-sounding items on its agenda about Council procedures. Two years ago, when everyone on the dais was new to city government except Mayor Pro Tem…

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Thursday, February 9, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Audit: City needs new flood buyout policy

The Office of the City Auditor found that the city of Austin has provided the full cost of replacement housing for people displaced by flooding in the Onion Creek and Williamson Creek flood buyout areas, just as it was directed…

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Plan for new city facility faces questions

City Council members Ann Kitchen and Alison Alter along with Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo expressed skepticism at Tuesday’s work session about a staff plan to move the Development Services Department, the Planning and Zoning Department and some staff from…

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Audit criticizes city’s historic program management

Citing a lack of staff dedicated to the city’s historic preservation program, an outdated fee collection system and inadequate coordination between historic preservation staff and those higher up in the chain of command, the Office of the City Auditor has…

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Monday, February 6, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Curbside textile recycling continues – for now

In the wake of protests from nonprofits including the Salvation Army, Goodwill and the Assistance League of Austin about the impact curbside recycling of textiles is having on their businesses, City Council on Thursday directed Interim City Manager Elaine Hart…

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Thursday, February 2, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Simple Recycling, complicated problem

City Council members will have to decide today whether to cancel a contract with Simple Recycling, a small business that invested a significant amount of money and hired employees to bring a new recycling service to the city. If they do…

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council could pick manager recruiter next week

After hearing from Human Resources Department Director Joya Hayes at Tuesday’s work session, City Council appears poised to select a firm or firms to move forward with the search for a permanent replacement for former City Manager Marc Ott. Ott…

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Baker: historic preservationist, zoning queen

Betty Baker, once known as Austin’s Queen of Zoning, died in her sleep Monday morning, according to longtime friends. Jerry Rusthoven, acting assistant director of the Planning and Zoning Department, told the Austin Monitor that Baker would have been 84…

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Friday, January 27, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Flannigan commission appointee stirs controversy

Although City Council approved the appointments of nearly 100 new and returning members of city boards and commissions Thursday, it declined to accept the appointment of nuclear engineer Rick Jacobi, Council Member Jimmy Flannigan’s nominee to the Environmental Commission. After…

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Changes coming to Historic Landmark Commission

Mayor Steve Adler went on record at Tuesday’s City Council work session as opposing a loosening of the regulations for the Historic Landmark Commission to begin the process of designating Austin homes as historic. At the same time, Council Member…

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Water conference raises open meetings questions

An attorney for the nonprofit League of Independent Voters of Texas warned the Texas Water Development Board on Sunday that the agency was in jeopardy of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act. However, by the end of the day Monday,…

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Friday, January 20, 2017 by Jo Clifton

City discovers problem with homestead districts

Since 2007, Austin has attempted to create several homestead preservation districts in low-income areas in order to fund more affordable housing and help people living below the poverty line stay in their homes. However, only one – District A –…

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Outdated CodeNEXT draft sets folks aTwitter

The unauthorized release this weekend of a preliminary draft version of the Land Development Code’s next iteration, known as CodeNEXT, via Twitter, started a round of finger-pointing but no conclusive evidence as to the source of the leak. However, the…

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Austin Water official resigns under cloud

The program manager for Austin Water’s Public Information & Marketing Office resigned in late December after an investigation by the Office of the City Auditor concluded that he had accepted a gift or favor from a city contractor and wasted…

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017 by Jo Clifton

2016: Adler’s very big year

The past year was definitely a banner one for Mayor Steve Adler, who started 2016 by calling for it to be “the year of mobility.” He was probably not thinking about transportation network companies Uber and Lyft leaving town in…

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