Stories by Jo Clifton

Friday, April 28, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Homestead exemption unlikely to change

After hours of budget presentations and discussions Wednesday, City Council took up the always controversial issue of homestead exemptions. They have heard for several months that this year’s budget will be tight, leaving no room for additions without corresponding subtractions.…

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Complaint filed against former police monitor

The Office of the City Auditor has filed an ethics complaint against Austin’s former police monitor, Margo Frasier, alleging that she used her city computer for her outside consulting practice and that such use was a violation of the city’s…

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Friday, April 21, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs Bowie impervious cover swap

City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution allowing the Austin Independent School District to transfer development rights from two or more properties the district is in the process of purchasing to allow for greater development at Bowie High School.…

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Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Growth slows, making city budget tighter

The days of Austin’s turbo-charged growth are over – at least for now. City Council got that message from the city’s economic adviser, Jon Hockenyos, as well as Deputy Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo, at Wednesday’s financial forecast and…

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council moves toward changing meeting rules

City Council members took a significant step Tuesday toward revising the way they conduct meetings as well as the time frames for scheduling business on the agenda in the hope that they can reduce the number of hours spent sitting…

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Group says Champion tract vote broke rules

City Council is facing yet another possible lawsuit over a vote it took that may not have complied with the Texas Open Meetings Act. City Attorney Anne Morgan confirmed Monday that she plans to discuss the matter with Council in…

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Final fight over Austin Oaks this week?

After many months of arguments and thousands of hours of work by representatives of the city, neighborhoods and the developers, the third and final vote on the Austin Oaks planned unit development may finally happen on Thursday. But it may…

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Linkage fees challenged at legislature

Just as Austin is beginning to study the idea of adopting linkage fees – fees on new construction levied for the purpose of raising funds for affordable housing – the Texas Legislature could be poised to close off that avenue.…

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Friday, April 7, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs waiver of anti-lobbying ordinance

City Council on Thursday approved a temporary waiver of the city’s anti-lobbying ordinance for companies and individuals who wish to talk to the Council working group on solid waste issues. The vote was 7-1-1, with Council Member Ellen Troxclair voting…

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Bastrop’s lawyer claims Aleshire in contempt

David Bragg, the attorney for the city of Bastrop, has threatened to seek a contempt of court ruling against Austin attorney Bill Aleshire because of Aleshire’s representation of a Bastrop resident in a lawsuit accusing the city of violating the…

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Troxclair’s legislative speeches criticized

During a legislative briefing at Tuesday’s City Council work session, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo criticized Council Member Ellen Troxclair for testifying against the city’s position on three hot topics at the Texas Legislature. “I need to express my grave…

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Bastrop resident claims open meetings breach

After years of litigation and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars spent on attorneys fees, the case involving the Pine Forest development in Bastrop County took a startling turn this week. Paul Burt, a Pine Forest homeowner, filed suit against…

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Friday, March 31, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Fixing street cut repair program to take time

City Council Member Ellen Troxclair said she was “really alarmed” when she read the Office of the City Auditor report showing that the city has a 3.6-year backlog in repairing potholes created by utility crews fixing water lines. That’s the…

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Thursday, March 30, 2017 by Jo Clifton

City still dealing with retaliation, harassment

The appearance of two witnesses – one employee and one former employee of the city of Austin – at Wednesday’s City Council Audit and Finance Committee added a sense of urgency to the findings of an outside auditor’s report on…

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Renteria says no on tough Vinson Oaks case

Although City Council approved a zoning change on second reading last week that would allow for town houses, including two affordable units, in a neighborhood south of Ben White, property owner Antonio Giustino may find himself back at square one…

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Friday, March 24, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Affordable units to rely on third party agreements

City Council on Thursday approved on second reading zoning changes allowing the owners of two South Congress properties to build vertical mixed-use projects with deep affordability for some residents, but the developers will be looking for a private partner to…

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Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Thornton Road developer nixes zoning request

Developer PSW Real Estate on Wednesday withdrew its request for a change to multifamily (MF-4) zoning for 2413 Thornton Road in South Austin, as well as its application to the neighborhood housing department for participation in the city’s Smart Housing…

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Auditor’s report: Affordability data incomplete

According to a special report from the Office of the City Auditor, information about city programs and initiatives that affect affordability for Austinites is inconsistent, may be unreliable or incomplete and may not be readily accessible. In addition, auditors found…

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Legislation spotlights Austin’s fair chance rules

Members of the Texas House Business & Industry Committee heard lengthy and conflicting testimony Monday on fair chance hiring regulations but did not take a vote on Austin Republican Rep. Paul Workman’s House Bill 577 – which would overturn Austin’s…

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Friday, March 17, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Some seek to protect manager applicants’ names

A group of Austin citizens is urging City Council to do something out of the ordinary when they hire the next city manager – keep the names of the applicants a secret and only reveal the name of the person…

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