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Stories by Jo Clifton

Friday, August 11, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Surprise vote ends liquor store zoning case

With Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Pio Renteria out of town, leaving just nine City Council members to vote at its meeting yesterday, the owner of the property at the intersection of Hymeadow Drive and U.S. Hwy 183 lost…

Thursday, August 10, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council moves toward tax swap with AISD

In an effort to help the Austin Independent School District lower its tax rate and send fewer dollars to the state under the so-called Robin Hood plan, City Council voted 6-4 Wednesday to begin consideration of raising the city’s property…

Thursday, August 3, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Adler bashes Texas over ‘state property tax’

During Wednesday’s budget presentation to City Council, Mayor Steve Adler spoke passionately about the state’s system for funding public schools, calling the current system a “state property tax.”It is not city taxes that are out of line, Adler said. If…

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Budget: Staff says higher taxes needed

Even though Deputy Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo has already held 13 separate budget sessions and several retreats with City Council as well as numerous other meetings with boards and commissions and interested citizens, budget season begins in earnest…

Friday, July 28, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Dueling tree ordinance bills advance

The Texas House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation that would allow developers to get credit for planting trees to substitute for mitigation fees that cities might otherwise require from them when they remove trees from their property.House Bill 7…

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Housing bonds may be put to work early

Proponents of three proposed low-income housing projects are looking forward to Thursday when the board of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs will announce which projects have been selected to receive housing tax credits.Two of the three projects ranked…

Friday, July 21, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Political action committees quietly file reports

Although much-maligned in certain circles, political action committees help spread the word in local elections for candidates, bonds and other propositions.Among the PACs filing with the Office of the City Clerk this month was the Our City Our Safety Our…

Thursday, July 20, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Ethics complaints filed on two city commissioners

Nathan Wiebe, chief of investigations for the Office of the City Auditor, filed two complaints with the city’s Ethics Review Commission this week against members of advisory commissions.Wiebe filed a complaint against Isabel López-Aguilar, a member of the Hispanic/Latino Quality…

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Flannigan races ahead in fundraising

Council Member Jimmy Flannigan has raised more than $9,200 so far this year, according to his campaign finance report, which was filed on Monday. Reports show that Council Member Ellen Troxclair was the only other City Council member to solicit…

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Ethics complaint filed against ex-city employee

Nathan Wiebe, chief of investigations for the Office of the City Auditor, filed a complaint with the city’s Ethics Review Commission on Monday against a retired Austin Energy supervisor.In the complaint, Wiebe laid out a case against Stefan Sasko, who…

Thursday, July 13, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Environmental directory includes so much more

The Austin Environmental Directory 2017-18 is on its way to 15,000 Austin households. This is the ninth iteration of the directory, which serves as a primer on a wide range of topics, including watershed protection, challenges to clean energy, natural…

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 by Jo Clifton

EPA drops objection to Dripping Springs’ permit

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn its interim objection to Dripping Springs’ application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to discharge 995,000 gallons of treated wastewater into a tributary of Onion Creek.Dripping Springs officials have always said that…

Thursday, June 29, 2017 by Jo Clifton

City, AISD agree on Bowie expansion rules

The city and the Austin Independent School District have reached an agreement on how the district can expand Bowie High School even though it is over the environmentally sensitive Barton Springs Zone of the Edwards Aquifer.City Council voted unanimously at…

Monday, June 26, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Second Austin Energy employee investigated

For the second time this month, the Office of the City Auditor has released a report alleging that an Austin Energy employee has misused his computer, email account and telephone to work on his secondary employment.According to an investigation report…

Friday, June 23, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs $6.9 million in fee waivers for state

Despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s long list of proposed topics for an upcoming special session of the Texas Legislature that look a lot like Austin bashing, City Council voted Thursday to allow staff to negotiate an interlocal agreement with the Texas…

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Is a grueling special session ahead?

Brie Franco, the city’s intergovernmental relations officer, told City Council at Tuesday’s work session that although Austin had “some positive outcomes” during the just-ended legislative session, many of the items defeated by the city and its allies are likely to…

Friday, June 16, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Auditors to look at firefighters’ overtime

After considerable complaint from its newest members, Jimmy Flannigan and Alison Alter, City Council voted last month to amend the city’s General Fund budget by transferring $3.5 million from a stabilization reserve fund into the Austin Fire Department’s budget to pay…

Thursday, June 15, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Talk starts for 2018 city bond election

City Council got a first look during its work session on Tuesday at an initial list of staff bond proposals that could go to voters in November of 2018. That list included a total of $640 million in bonds, with…

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Casar: End curfew law that targets minorities

Seventy-six percent of teenagers accused of juvenile curfew violations from 2014 through 2016 were minorities, with Hispanics making up the majority of those cited by the Austin Police Department, according to the department’s own records.The law prohibits persons under the…

Monday, June 12, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council hears all about plumbing rules

City Council heard arguments Thursday from supporters of the Uniform Plumbing Code, which included members of the city’s commission on plumbing matters, and supporters of the International Residential (plumbing) Code, which included other plumbers, representatives of the home builders association…

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