Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Parties seek election judges, workers for March

Even though March 2022 seems far away, Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for the March 1 primary elections. Part of that is appointing election judges and other polling place workers. Travis County Democratic Party Chair Katie Naranjo has been…

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Gómez, Woody prepare for rematch at ballot box

Margaret Gómez, who has served as Travis County Commissioner for Precinct 4 since 1995 and who was the first Mexican American woman in a county commissioner position, declared Monday that she is not done yet. Susanna Woody announced last week…

Friday, June 18, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council gives final OK on tank farm site rezoning

City Council voted 10-0 last week to grant planned unit development zoning on the former site of the East Austin tank farm at 1011 and 1017 Springdale Road. Council Member Pio Renteria made the motion to approve rezoning for the…

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council gives final approval for dense development on Brackenridge site

After years of planning and negotiations, City Council gave final approval Thursday for Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning for the Central Health property at 15th and Red River streets – the former Brackenridge Hospital site. The vote, which was on…

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Reformer ponders challenging Shea

Bob Libal, a consultant for criminal justice and immigration reform organizations, announced Monday that he is “considering a run” against Travis County Precinct 2 Commissioner Brigid Shea in next spring’s Democratic primary. The major issue for Libal is Shea’s support…

Friday, June 11, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council delays considering wastewater service in Bull Creek watershed

City Council put off a decision on whether to grant a wastewater service extension request to CWS Capital Partners in the environmentally sensitive Bull Creek Watershed at Thursday’s meeting. The postponement came after Council Member Leslie Pool announced that there…

Thursday, June 10, 2021 by Jo Clifton

City tax increase likely, but not 8 percent

Although City Council can raise the city’s tax rate by 8 percent under Gov. Greg Abbott’s disaster declaration related to Winter Storm Uri, Council members will have to carefully weigh how to spend any revenue collected on money generated above…

Thursday, June 10, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Austin legislators fought hard for city, Franco reports

It was no surprise to City Council Tuesday when Brie Franco, Austin’s intergovernmental relations officer, described the recently concluded 2021 session of the Texas Legislature as “one of the most difficult sessions I’ve actually worked on in my over 20…

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 by Jo Clifton

After fireworks, Springdale PUD moves a step forward

On Thursday City Council approved on second reading Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning for the properties at 1011 and 1017 Springdale Road, home of the infamous East Austin tank farm. But the 10-0 vote came only after Council Member Vanessa…

Friday, June 4, 2021 by Jo Clifton

With Council approval, DSD to add 41 new workers

City Council on Thursday approved a staff request to hire 41 new reviewers and inspectors in the Development Services Department starting in July, with a goal of having those new employees trained and ready to work by the end of…

Thursday, June 3, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Development Services seeking more staff this summer

The Development Services Department, which conducts inspections and approves permits for new housing, remodeling and commercial construction, is facing an ever-increasing volume of work, as Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales and department Director Denise Lucas explained at Tuesday’s City Council…

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Austin Energy leader insists utility is resilient

While Sidney Jackson, Austin Energy’s deputy general manager and COO, told City Council the “system is resilient,” utility customers who went without power for three days might disagree. By Saturday night, power had been restored to 88 percent of the…

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council to consider loan for Airport Hilton

When Austin’s airport lost 63 percent of its passengers last year due to Covid-19, the Airport Hilton lost 60 percent of its business. Now, Austin-Bergstrom Landhost Enterprises, or ABLE, the nonprofit corporation that operates the hotel, is asking for City…

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Espero at Rutland offers hope for the homeless

At next week’s meeting, City Council, acting as the board of directors of the Austin Housing Finance Corporation, is expected to approve funding for a 171-unit supportive housing development at 1934 Rutland Drive. In building and operating Espero at Rutland, AHFC…

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council to request maximum tax rate calculation

At next week’s meeting, City Council is expected to approve a resolution directing Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo to calculate the property tax rate for next year with an increase of 8 percent above the city’s current maintenance and…

Monday, May 24, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Owner withdraws mini mart rezoning case

Although City Council gave preliminary approval for rezoning of the Sunrise Mini Mart at 913 and 915 W. Oltorf St., the road ahead looked bleak to property owner Abdul Patel and his agent, Jim Wittliff of Land Answers. With a…

Friday, May 21, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs site for new Dougherty Arts Center

City Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve a site for the Dougherty Arts Center, close to the current ZACH Theatre at Butler Shores Park. The site, called 1A, was not city staffers’ first choice, but it was clear that staffers’…

Thursday, May 20, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Vote would fund new family violence shelter

At today’s meeting, Austin City Council members plan to award a contract for up to $8.1 million over four years to the SAFE Alliance to manage and provide services at a city-owned shelter for those experiencing domestic violence or sexual…

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 by Jo Clifton

What’s the plan for American Rescue Plan money?

After seeing a rough outline of how city staffers plan to spend $143.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to house the homeless, address food insecurity, and provide affordable child care and job training, City Council still had a…

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Postmortem of winter storm raises many questions

While individuals and departments shone in their dedication to the city and its people during the cascade of calamities caused by Winter Storm Uri, City Manager Spencer Cronk still has a lot of questions to answer when he releases the…

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