Stories by Jo Clifton

Thursday, April 2, 2020 by Jo Clifton

No rest for contractors hauling city waste, recycling

Council gave the official nod of approval last week for short-term contracts for collection, processing and disposal of trash, as well as recycling services and disposal of brush and compostable materials, to Central Waste and Recycling and Texas Disposal Systems.…

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 by Jo Clifton

City takes precautions for critical employees

Electricity. Water. Trash pickup. The city of Austin provides all these services and we take it as a given that they will be there when we need them.Even as most Austinites have been ordered to stay home, the employees who…

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Worrying about elections in the time of coronavirus

While some people may be worrying about their health or their business, it is Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir’s job to worry about elections. One of her major worries is how she’s going to conduct the July 14 runoffs for…

Monday, March 23, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council enters new territory with online participants

Under normal circumstances, Council chambers would be packed with city staff, observers and people wishing to comment on various agenda items. Today, under national, state and local emergency declarations, COVID-19 has made these times anything but normal.According to a memo…

Friday, March 20, 2020 by Jo Clifton

May 2 elections called off, not so for May 26

After Gov. Greg Abbott’s proclamation Wednesday allowing political subdivisions to postpone elections planned for May 2, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir announced Thursday that Travis County would not be conducting any elections on that date. Most if not all of…

Thursday, March 19, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Planning, Development Services still operating

Despite the unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, the city is attempting to conduct its land use and development services business to keep those processes moving forward.Jerry Rusthoven, leader of the Planning and Zoning Department, told the Austin Monitor…

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by Jo Clifton

LDC vote postponed due to COVID-19

The new Land Development Code, which was moving toward final passage with the support of seven Council members just a few days ago, has now been relegated to the back burner as Mayor Steve Adler and City Council look at…

Monday, March 16, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Decision on floodplain variance on hold

Sam Kumar, owner of Journeyman Austin Holdings Inc., came to City Council last week requesting a floodplain variance to allow parking in both the 100-year floodplain and the 25-year floodplain at his building at 1000 N. Lamar Blvd. Kevin Shunk,…

Friday, March 13, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Local disaster declaration extended indefinitely

As expected, Mayor Steve Adler has extended the local state of disaster declaration indefinitely, with the unanimous consent of City Council. On March 6, the mayor declared a local state of disaster for one week due to concerns over the…

Thursday, March 12, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Habitat for Humanity, Environment Texas weigh in on land code lawsuit

Travis County District Judge Jan Soifer heard arguments Wednesday from attorneys for 19 Austin homeowners who sued the city over the new Land Development Code. The homeowners filed rezoning protests, but the city denied their requests for a hearing. The plaintiffs…

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Eckhardt resigns, declares for Texas Senate

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt resigned her position on the Commissioners Court Tuesday, launching her campaign for the Texas Senate seat being vacated by Kirk Watson. Eckhardt wiped away tears as she told her colleagues, “I really love Travis County.…

Friday, March 6, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Digital meter reading coming to Austin Water

Austin Water is preparing to roll out digital water meters that will allow the utility, as well as individual customers, to see how much water each customer is using every hour. Ultimately, every single one of the utility’s 240,000 meters…

Thursday, March 5, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Which Republican will Fleck face in HD 47 runoff?

House District 47 Rep. Vikki Goodwin had no opposition in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, but five Republicans were vying for the opportunity to run against her in November.Attorney Jennifer Fleck led the Republican pack with 5,760 votes, more than…

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Garza, Eiserloh in runoff for Travis County Attorney

Longtime county and city lawyer Laurie Eiserloh will face Council Member Delia Garza in a runoff in May to determine who will become Travis County Attorney when David Escamilla retires from the job next January.In the end, Eiserloh had 43.63…

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Petitioners may collect signatures outside libraries

The Austin Public Library has adopted new rules relating to free speech and petitioning at city libraries, according to a memo Library Director Roosevelt Weeks sent to the mayor and Council last week.That memo states that the new rules were…

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by Jo Clifton

City’s waste collection problem solved

According to a memo from Deputy Procurement Officer Shawn Willett, the city of Austin now has three short-term contracts for the disposal of refuse, recycling, brush and compostable materials.The city’s procurement team and members of Austin Resource Recovery scrambled last…

Friday, February 28, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Travis County seeks a ‘Marshall Plan’ for east side

Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion and Joe Straub, president of Rodeo Austin, started a conversation with members of the City Council Audit & Finance Committee Wednesday. “Let me just say for the record, I did not come to pick a…

Thursday, February 27, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council gives initial OK for Delwau campgrounds

The case of the Delwau campgrounds rezoning – which Council rejected in 2018 – has returned, minus the sales of hard alcohol that doomed its chances the first time. Last Thursday, Council gave first-round approval for the case that would…

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council declines to vote on airport lounge contract

What started as an objection from the second-place bidder for a lucrative contract to build and operate a lounge at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport ended with Council rejecting staffers’ recommendation and sending them back to the drawing board at last Thursday’s…

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Petition would recriminalize homeless camping

Travis County Republican Party Chair Matt Mackowiak began the week taking a shot at local Democrats on the Austin City Council, announcing a petition that seeks to recriminalize camping in public places by the homeless.According to local Republican Party spokesman…

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