Stories by Jo Clifton

Friday, June 14, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Nonprofit funds OK’d despite Flannigan questions

In spite of Council Member Jimmy Flannigan’s effort to postpone the vote, Council last week approved adding $319,000 to a contract with Capital IDEA for funds to train young adults for entry into the workforce. The total for the six-year…

Thursday, June 13, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Appraisal board lets June 4 decisions stand

The Travis Appraisal Review Board voted Wednesday to confirm property appraisal decisions that their individual panels made on June 4, in spite of an attempt by Board Chair Betty Thompson to have all of those decisions nullified and new hearings…

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Audit finds management violating ethics rules

A report just released by the Office of the City Auditor says city management ignored a violation of city code by an employee serving on a city commission that covers subject matter related to her department – despite a warning…

Friday, June 7, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Sparks fly over proposed changes to camping laws

Representatives of the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition and the Downtown Austin Alliance continue to stress that they are working together to end homelessness in Austin. But their conflicting messages to City Council on Thursday about proposed changes to ordinances that…

Thursday, May 30, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Maintenance needs could prompt future elections

“You don’t have to step very far away from City Hall to find some facilities that are badly in need of maintenance,” Deputy Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo told the Council Audit & Finance Committee on Wednesday.But funding maintenance…

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 by Jo Clifton

‘Death of mobile voting’ bill to complicate elections

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir calls House Bill 1888, which won legislative approval with little fanfare, “the death of mobile voting.”The legislation requires that each early voting location be open for voters on each and every day that voting is…

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Landowners, pipeline company meet in court today

Attorneys for Hill Country landowners along with the city of Kyle and Hays County have prepared for a fight this morning with lawyers for Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline and the Texas Railroad Commission over the route of the proposed natural…

Friday, May 24, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs Palm School, convention center ideas

In a stunning victory for Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Kathie Tovo, the Austin City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a 27-page resolution directing city staff to gather all the information necessary to move forward with an extensive renovation…

Thursday, May 16, 2019 by Jo Clifton

City eyes Palm School, bigger convention center

City Council Member Kathie Tovo, with assistance from Mayor Steve Adler, has produced a 23-page resolution outlining Council’s desire to create a plan for the southeast part of downtown, including use of the Palm School for cultural programming and expansion…

Monday, May 13, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Dougherty move OK’d but questions remain

Council voted Thursday to instruct the Parks and Recreation Department to move forward with preparing a design for a new site for the Dougherty Arts Center at Butler Shores Park. However, the instructions were not an all-out endorsement of the…

Friday, May 10, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Tax wranglers may once again sue appraisers

Once again a battle is brewing between firms seeking to help property owners lower the appraised value on their property and the Travis Appraisal Review Board. The issue boils down to scheduling of hearings with no regard for the fact…

Thursday, May 9, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Harper-Madison questions electric vehicle resolution

Council Member Alison Alter’s resolution furthering Austin’s commitment to combating climate change seems exactly like the sort of statement Austinites expect from their leaders. Austin city councils have backed environmental initiatives, including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, for many years.The…

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Streamlined housing plan comes to Council

In keeping with its commitment to increase Austin’s affordable housing stock, Council will consider an ordinance Thursday which will eliminate certain requirements that currently apply to all new housing, affordable as well as market rate.Under a new program called Affordability…

Friday, May 3, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Watching Legislature, city delays financial forecast

Without final action on the property tax bill moving through the Texas Legislature, Austin budget planners are holding off on presenting the city’s financial forecast to City Council. At this point, however, legislative watchers expect final passage of SB 2,…

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 by Jo Clifton

DAA launches annual report and new nonprofit

Amidst a multitude of rosy economic statistics on Tuesday, the Downtown Austin Alliance released its first State of Downtown report at the inaugural Future of Downtown event. The report seeks to be “a market snapshot illustrating the central role downtown…

Monday, April 29, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Zoning for affordable housing wins initial approval

With Council Member Greg Casar leading the way, Council voted unanimously Thursday to give first-round approval to rezoning a tract at 916 and 918 Norwood Park Blvd. for 228 affordable housing units in District 4.Members of the Heritage Hills Woodbridge…

Thursday, April 18, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Austinites testify for, against Precourt bill

Dave Greeley, president of Precourt Sports Ventures, told a Senate committee Tuesday night that SB 1771 “would jeopardize the viability” of Austin FC, the soccer club slated to play in the stadium his company has agreed to build at McKalla…

Thursday, April 18, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Housing committee hears about district goals

Two years ago this month, Austin City Council adopted its first strategic housing blueprint, with the goal of developing metrics to define how the city should allocate its resources to produce affordable housing for residents earning less than 80 percent…

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council overrides staff to OK Blackland rezoning

Last Thursday, Council gave final approval to a zoning change that will allow an East Austin property owner to build five units on a lot at 2107 Alamo St., replacing an existing duplex. The vote was 10-1, with Council Member…

Monday, April 15, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council says no to cell phone tower

On a vote of 7-3, last week Council rejected an application to change regulations for a planned unit development that would have allowed a cell phone tower to be erected near a condominium complex and an apartment building west of…

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