Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Hot race shaping up for Republicans in HD 47

Former Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman outraised four other Republican candidates vying for the chance to meet Democratic state Rep. Vikki Goodwin in the House District 47 race next year.Zimmerman reported raising nearly $37,700 in his July 15 filing…

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Reports: Running for office is expensive

Mayor Steve Adler’s campaign still owes him more than $449,000 from loans he has made to his campaign starting when he first ran in 2014. When that race was over, the Adler campaign reported owing the candidate more than $418,000.…

Friday, July 12, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Report finds Texas bipartisanship wins

Despite the “blue wave” election in 2018, Republicans maintained control of both houses of the Texas Legislature during the 2019 legislative session that just concluded. As expected, the majority of bills were authored and approved by Republicans.During the session, however,…

Thursday, July 11, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Camping rules continue to stoke arguments

City Council’s decision to revise ordinances related to where homeless people may camp, sit or lie down continues to cause controversy in the city, with some claiming the changes are making things worse for everyone, particularly law enforcement.Mayor Steve Adler…

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Guernsey announces retirement

After 34 years with the city of Austin, Greg Guernsey, director of the Planning and Zoning Department, announced his retirement Tuesday. Guernsey’s last official day is July 31, but he’s planning to take vacation time, so his last day in…

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Merck withdraws from economic incentive plans

Pharmaceutical giant Merck has notified City Manager Spencer Cronk that it is terminating its incentive agreement with the city effective June 23. As a result, Merck will not have to comply with the terms of the agreement, which included an…

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by Jo Clifton

City to get land for Shoal Creek bike bridge

As a result of two bills sponsored by Rep. Donna Howard and Sen. Kirk Watson, both Austin Democrats, the city of Austin will soon have an easement on state property that will allow for construction of a pedestrian-bicycle bridge connecting…

Friday, June 28, 2019 by Jo Clifton

‘Shot clock’ bill resets development review time

As Austin city leaders had their attention focused on the 3.5 percent tax cap that moved through the Texas Legislature, legislators were busy approving a bill that could have a serious impact on the city’s efforts to regulate development. The…

Thursday, June 27, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Tovo envisions changes to Second Street parking

With budget season approaching, Council members are thinking about what they can do to cut costs and increase revenues in their final budget with an 8 percent tax cap. Because of legislative action, next year’s tax cap will fall to…

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council rezones nine mobile home parks, sometimes defying neighbors

Council passed two resolutions last year directing city staff to identify all mobile home parks or other properties being used for mobile homes but not zoned as such. The next step was to initiate the appropriate zoning so the properties…

Friday, June 21, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council votes to tax Lake Austin homes

After hearing from a handful of residents who have never paid city property taxes on their Lake Austin homes, Council voted unanimously on Thursday to repeal an ordinance that exempted about 400 such properties from city taxes.Council also approved a…

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council wants to look at 380 agreements again

A $165,000 economic development agreement between the city of Austin and Austin Community College to help the college provide and maintain what is described as “leading edge” technology equipment for ACC’s fashion incubator could be an early casualty of Council’s…

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…

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