Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Report: City lacks complete list of homelessness agreements

The Office of the City Auditor reports that City Council initiated 47 resolutions, ordinances and other orders related to alleviating homelessness between September 2018 and May 2021. As a result of those directives, the city entered into at least 101 agreements, mostly…

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 by Jo Clifton

County judges criticize Abbott, state

Over the past 18 months, county judges – especially the chief executives of Texas’ largest counties – have faced an array of unprecedented challenges. Joshua Fechter, urban affairs reporter for The Texas Tribune, had a virtual sit-down with five of…

Friday, September 17, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Proposed ‘Statesman’ PUD draws criticism

Members of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board will be deciding in less than two weeks whether to recommend approval of the Statesman planned unit development from a parks perspective. It could prove to be a difficult decision. Parks planner…

Thursday, September 16, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Parks board says no to parkland compromise

Austin’s Parks and Recreation Board voted unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting to reject a developer’s appeal related to city regulations for parkland dedication for a proposed apartment complex at 403 E. Koenig Lane. Only six members of the board – the…

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Code takes a step to address mold complaints

In the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri, numerous Austin renters found their homes uninhabitable due to water and the resulting mold. Many were forced out of their apartments as a result and the city experienced a surge in the number…

Thursday, September 9, 2021 by Jo Clifton

How many cops do we want and at what cost?

Reporters and promoters of Proposition A have been using two officers per 1,000 Austin residents to describe the police staffing required if the proposition wins voter approval on Nov. 2. But that number may be insufficient, according to calculations done…

Wednesday, September 8, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Addressing affordability no easy task in Austin

During last week’s speech on the state of the city, Mayor Steve Adler identified issues the city has been grappling with, including defeating Covid and homelessness. He also pointed out the next big issues the city must tackle in order…

Friday, September 3, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs new ballot language for Prop A

As directed by the Texas Supreme Court, City Council on Thursday approved new language for Proposition A, the ordinance that would increase Austin’s police force to two officers per every 1,000 residents. Although the political action committee Save Austin Now…

Thursday, September 2, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Both sides claim victory in Prop A ballot language ruling

Save Austin Now, the political action committee behind Proposition A, which would require the city of Austin to hire two police officers for every 1,000 Austin residents, claimed victory Wednesday when the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the city must…

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Conduct of meetings is going to change – and change again

Just as Austin’s most civically engaged citizens – including some new to the process – have gotten used to phoning in their comments on the City Council agenda, the rules are changing. In addition, Council will be considering new rules…

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Mayor Adler praises Austin, warns against misinformation

Mayor Steve Adler told Austinites in his annual State of the City speech Monday that although Austin continues to be “a magical place,” there are those who seek to divide us through falsehoods as the city faces its major challenges:…

Friday, August 20, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Auditors to look at Austin Energy’s customer assistance program

Three members of the City Council Audit & Finance Committee want City Auditor Corrie Stokes to look into whether an Austin Energy program that offers bill relief to utility customers is helping the right people. According to a spokesperson for…

Friday, August 20, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Committee accepts critical city hiring audit

Members of the City Council Audit & Finance Committee delved into details of the city recruiting and hiring audit at yesterday’s meeting, questioning both the audit staff and Human Resources Director Joya Hayes. As noted in Wednesday’s Austin Monitor, only…

Thursday, August 19, 2021 by Jo Clifton

City not tracking its interlocal agreements

The city of Austin has entered into a multitude of interlocal agreements, with Travis County, local school districts and even the state of Texas, worth millions of dollars. Yet no one at the city knows exactly how many of these…

Wednesday, August 18, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Audit: City failing to hire equal numbers of women

While the city has achieved its overall goal of hiring racial and ethnic minorities in numbers equal to the local population, only 39 percent of Austin’s Municipal Civil Service workforce are women, compared to 50 percent of the Austin-Round Rock…

Wednesday, August 18, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Alter, Tovo find more funds for EMS

As a result of budget amendments provided by City Council members Alison Alter and Kathie Tovo, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services will gain a new deputy medical director and three paramedic practitioners beginning in November. In addition, three EMS division…

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Gas companies seek more cash from consumers

Texas Gas Service, as well as other utilities throughout Texas that provide natural gas to consumers and businesses, is asking the Texas Railroad Commission to allow it to put a surcharge on customers’ bills in order to pay for natural…

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Austin Public Health offers vaccine incentives

Austin Public Health is offering $50 HEB gift cards to people who receive Covid-19 vaccinations at APH community vaccination sites and fill out a survey afterwards. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations require two separate shots to be effective. Those…

Friday, August 6, 2021 by Jo Clifton

City tax bills could go down for 2022

City Council’s decision to enact a 20 percent maximum homestead exemption will save the typical homeowner $33 on next year’s tax bill if Council members decide to go along with City Manager Spencer Cronk’s proposed 3.5 percent increase in the…

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Alter finds funding for more EMS, fire services

When City Council Member Alison Alter heard that the Loop 360/Davenport Fire and EMS Station would not be opening in Fiscal Year 2022 as planned, she thought of how savings from that station could be used to help the Austin…

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