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Stories by Jo Clifton

Monday, October 16, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Wagner accused of misusing city resources

The Office of the City Auditor’s investigative unit has issued a report concluding that a city employee who serves as an Austin Independent School District board trustee has misused city resources.According to the report, which was released Thursday, Trustee Yasmin…

Friday, October 13, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs reduced budget for Visit Austin

Visit Austin, formerly known as the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, will no longer be paying for alcohol to entertain would-be Austin conventioneers with city Hotel Occupancy Tax collections. The group promised the mayor and City Council that in the…

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 by Jo Clifton

AFSCME supports Hart as city manager

The city employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has sent a letter to Mayor Steve Adler requesting that City Council consider hiring Interim City Manager Elaine Hart as Austin’s permanent city manager.In the letter, which…

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Clarke Hammond passes away at 66

Clarke Hammond, 66, a larger-than-life figure in the Austin community, died Saturday following liver surgery. His friend, former Mayor Lee Leffingwell, described Hammond as a man “who lived life large. He probably crammed more life into 50 years than most…

Friday, October 6, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs historic zoning for apartment house

City Council approved historic zoning on Thursday for the 1930s-era Tucker-Winfield Apartment House at 1105 Nueces St. Council Member Jimmy Flannigan voted against the designation and Council Member Ellen Troxclair abstained.Flannigan objected to the designation, at least in part, because…

Thursday, October 5, 2017 by Jo Clifton

City to lease Ben White space for DSD, AE

Last week, City Council authorized negotiation and execution of a seven-year lease for a little less than 60,000 square feet at 5202 E. Ben White Blvd. The building will house about 100 employees from Austin Energy and 93 employees from…

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 by Jo Clifton

County sued over lease information

Even though Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has ruled that Travis County must provide a copy of the 99-year lease of 308 Guadalupe St. between the county and Lincoln Property Company, the county has not yet done so.In response, real…

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Audit: Public Works skipped quality controls

The Public Works Department, which oversees the city’s capital projects, like the new Central Library and Water Treatment Plant 4, has failed to “consistently follow processes designed to contain costs and ensure the quality” of such projects, according to a…

Monday, October 2, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council puts off ethics rules vote

City Council postponed a vote on the proposed new ethics ordinance Thursday, raising questions about whether a new request for proposal for handling city biosolids might become the subject of lobbying.That was certainly not Council’s intent, according to Council Member…

Friday, September 29, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs firefighters’ contract 7-3

City Council approved a five-year contract with the Austin Firefighters Association Thursday on a vote of 7-3, after a heated exchange between Council Member Ora Houston and Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks.Houston criticized the firefighters association for not doing…

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Downtown puzzle up for vote Thursday

Consideration of Mayor Steve Adler’s complex “downtown puzzle” resolution will apparently move forward on Thursday despite doubts some of his colleagues have expressed about the timing and about a key piece of the plan: expansion of the Austin Convention Center.When…

Monday, September 25, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Utility fixing Customer Assistance Program

Last week, after City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget, longtime Austin environmental advocate and Austin Energy critic Paul Robbins had something to celebrate. Robbins had been asking Council to reform Austin Energy’s Customer Assistance Program since 2014 and…

Monday, September 25, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Injunction granted over Champion tract site plan

Under an injunction issued Friday, the city of Austin may not move forward with issuing a site plan for a multifamily development on City Park Road at FM 2222 until there is a final judgment in the lawsuit filed by…

Thursday, September 21, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Austin health insurance group’s federal funds cut

In Washington, D.C., supporters of repealing the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, are putting pressure on a few Republican senators who may or may not go along with that legislation. The Senate has until Sept. 30 to pass the…

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Probe: Management employee misused resources

An investigation by the Office of the City Auditor has concluded that an executive secretary in the city manager’s office misused city resources in order to promote her other business: the sale of beauty products and jewelry.Mary Lou Rodriguez, who…

Thursday, September 14, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council approves $3.9 billion budget

Twelve hours after kicking off its final day of budget deliberations, City Council gave approval to a roughly $3.9 billion budget, including approximately $1 billion of General Fund spending.Council approved a 7.9 percent tax rate increase, just below the 8…

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Plan for new development services staff on hold

Along the way to passing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, City Council voted Tuesday to derail the Development Services Department’s plan to hire 51 new employees beginning in either January or March. The department has said it needed…

Monday, September 11, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council begins final slog through budget today

After hours and hours of budget work sessions, including two such sessions last week, today City Council must at least start to make the hard decisions of what to fund and what to leave for another year. Today is the…

Friday, September 8, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council declines to annex Entrada tract

With the backing of Council Member Jimmy Flannigan, Council Member Ora Houston at last Thursday’s City Council meeting asserted her intention to oppose annexation for approximately 246 acres of land in northeastern Travis County known as Entrada. The property, owned…

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