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Stories by Jo Clifton

Monday, December 17, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Action ramps up in appraisal district suit

Action continues to ramp up in the battle between the Travis Central Appraisal District and firms representing property owners seeking hearings to lower the appraised value of their properties.Last month, Texas ProTax Austin, Five Stone Tax Advisors, 46 commercial property…

Thursday, December 13, 2018 by Jo Clifton

City’s federal housing funds in jeopardy

The city of Austin could lose a significant amount of federal funding if President Trump follows through on his threat to shut down the federal government on Dec. 21. Various national publications reported Trump making the threat if Congress refuses…

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Ellis handily wins District 8 election

Paige Ellis won the runoff for Southwest Austin’s District 8 City Council seat Tuesday night, defeating Frank Ward with 56 percent of the vote in a race that drew considerably fewer voters than the Nov. 6 election.Ellis received 6,115 votes…

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Home repair problems continue to surface

After our story last week highlighting problems in the city’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development home loan repair program, the Austin Monitor received information from another homeowner who says the contractor hired to refurbish his home in 2014 did a…

Friday, December 7, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Transportation Dept. faulted in right-of-way audit

When Austinites are asked for their top complaints about the city, one of the most frequent responses relates to traffic. The central city is particularly congested and contractors working in the right-of-way exacerbate the problem.According to a report released by…

Thursday, December 6, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Homeowners share stories of home repair anguish

Austin city auditors found the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department home rehabilitation loan program left a significant number of homeowners unhappy with the work contractors did and frequently missed its own goals over a three-year period, fiscal years 2015-2017.…

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Candidates dissatisfied with polling places

After all the excitement about Austinites’ heavy participation in the Nov. 6 election, there has been a huge drop in the number of voters participating in runoff elections.News outlets across the state reported heavy turnout throughout the November election’s early…

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Asian center zoning change moves forward

On Thursday, Council Member Alison Alter offered a zoning solution to satisfy the needs of the Asian American Cultural Center at 11713 Jollyville Road, yet placate neighbors fearful of increased traffic and apartment buildings looming over their single-family neighborhoods.Amy Wong…

Thursday, November 29, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Ward, Ellis offer contrasting views

Early voting starts today in City Council District 8, as well as Districts 1 and 3, for the Dec. 11 runoff elections.Frank Ward, the outspoken Republican seeking to represent Southwest Austin’s District 8 on the Austin City Council, believes a…

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Cronk announces finalists for two ACM posts

On Monday, City Manager Spencer Cronk announced the names of 10 finalists who will be interviewed in the coming weeks for two assistant city manager positions. The interim assistant city managers in those two positions, Joe Pantalion and Sara Hensley,…

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Berkman zoning sparks quiet argument

Council Member Ora Houston joined her colleagues Thursday in a unanimous vote to rezone properties on Berkman Drive, but she was clearly conflicted about it.The decision will allow a developer to build 40 rental units and assorted retail in the…

Friday, November 16, 2018 by Jo Clifton

TCAD not giving taxpayers timely hearings

Faced with an unprecedented number of property tax protests, the Travis Central Appraisal District is scheduling formal hearings through the month of December – months after the appraisal roll was certified and tax bills set.Attorney Bill Aleshire told the Austin…

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Ellis picks up important endorsements

Paige Ellis, the top vote-getter in the Nov. 6 race for City Council District 8, announced Tuesday that her two Democratic opponents in the race, Rich DePalma and Bobby Levinski, had endorsed her. Ellis will face Republican Frank Ward in…

Thursday, November 8, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Tovo campaign complains about PAC spending

District 9 Council Member Kathie Tovo’s re-election campaign filed an ethics complaint Monday against the Center for Austin’s Future Political Action Committee, a group supporting Danielle Skidmore, Tovo’s most significant opponent.The complaint alleges that the committee, which calls itself CAFPAC,…

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Tovo easily wins third term

Kathie Tovo will serve her third term on the Austin City Council after winning a relatively easy victory over three opponents on Tuesday, finishing with almost 53 percent of the vote. Her closest challenger, Danielle Skidmore, garnered less than 32…

Friday, November 2, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Despite road plans, Council OKs zoning

Council rejected recommendations of the city’s zoning and transportation staff and the Zoning and Platting Commission at Thursday’s meeting, granting on first reading a request for commercial and mixed-use zoning on a northeast Austin property at 9100 Brown Lane. The…

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council seems ready to OK biosolids contract

The latest chapter in the city’s quest to sign a new contract for handling biosolids at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant appears to be nearing its end after two and half years of struggle. With Council Member Alison Alter…

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 by Jo Clifton

City ethics rule may be unconstitutional

Mayor Steve Adler’s campaign manager filed an ethics complaint Tuesday against Megaphone GPAC, a general purpose political action committee opposing the mayor’s re-election. But it seems likely that the complaint will be dismissed, according to attorneys familiar with election law.Adler’s…

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Complaints filed against District 1 candidates

Complaints filed with the Texas Ethics Commission charge City Council District 1 candidates Natasha Harper-Madison and Vincent Harding with filing erroneous campaign finance reports in violation of the Texas Election Code.Both campaigns denied any violations when contacted Monday, but the…

Friday, October 26, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Boil water order may be lifted Sunday

Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said Thursday he expects a boil water notice for water utility customers to remain in effect until Sunday evening. In the meantime, the utility is working to satisfy all of its internal requirements as well…

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