Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 by Jo Clifton

UT, city start negotiating a development deal

In response to a City Council request in February, the University of Texas has presented the broad outline of an agreement for developing its Austin properties, including the Brackenridge tract, the Pickle Research Center West, Sematech in East Austin, and…

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Public Safety Commission gives EMS a boost, criticizes APD

On Monday the city’s Public Safety Commission unanimously recommended an additional $2.3 million for Austin-Travis County EMS to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, while rejecting almost every request from the police department for additional funding.The commission also voted to recommend…

Thursday, May 14, 2020 by Jo Clifton

With businesses shut, Austin Water’s revenues fall

Austin Water, which contributed an extra $5 million to the city’s utility customer assistance program and cut rates by 10 percent in an effort to help those affected by the coronavirus, has itself felt the impact of business closures on…

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Delwau campground zoning moves forward

A zoning change that would allow property owners to open a campground for recreational vehicles, a convenience store and cafe at 7715 Delwau Lane took the next-to-last step forward last week, as Council approved General Commercial Services-Mixed Use (CS-MU) zoning…

Friday, May 8, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council rejects Texas Gas Service rate hike

City Council voted unanimously Thursday to reject new rates proposed by Texas Gas Service. The vote came as no surprise. The decision had strong support from a group of environmental and consumer advocates who wrote a letter to Council last…

Thursday, May 7, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Resolution seeks help to make Austin more resilient

Austin has long been recognized as a leader in green energy and environmental sustainability. Now, under a resolution sponsored by Council Member Leslie Pool, Mayor Steve Adler and Council members Kathie Tovo, Natasha Harper-Madison and Alison Alter, Council is asking…

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 by Jo Clifton

TCAD stands out in not appraising property values this year

The Travis Central Appraisal District stands alone among six districts surveyed in its decision not to update property appraisals this year, according to a special report by the Austin city auditor. The failure to update property values has caused considerable…

Friday, May 1, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Environmental, consumer groups oppose gas rate hike

Nine leaders of environmental and consumer organizations have sent a letter to the mayor and City Council urging them to reject the rate increase proposed by Texas Gas Service and restructure its rates in a manner designed to help low-income…

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council hears good news, bad news on coronavirus

Two researchers from the University of Texas Covid-19 Modeling Consortium told Council Tuesday that the orders from Mayor Steve Adler and County Judge Sarah Eckhardt to stay home and avoid spreading the virus have delayed and possibly even prevented a…

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Abbott says his order overrides local disaster rules

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday the first phase of reopening the state for business in response to an apparent lessening of Covid-19 cases that have sent the nation into an economic tailspin. Abbott claimed he had the authority to allow…

Friday, April 24, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Annexation planned for McKinney Falls tract

Sometime in the next few months, the city will likely be annexing a 55-acre tract in Southeast Austin and granting zoning to allow development of the property as a light industrial (LI) site. The matter was on Thursday’s agenda, but…

Thursday, April 23, 2020 by Jo Clifton

City utilities offering more help with bills

Austin Energy and Austin Water, two enterprise departments that help fund the city’s operations, are giving back to the community in the form of reduced electric and water and wastewater bills during the Covid-19 pandemic. Each utility is also contributing…

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Austin gets millions to deal with coronavirus

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to climb, Austin and Travis County learned this week they would receive $170.8 million and $54 million, respectively, from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to help local governments deal with the crisis.During a…

Friday, April 17, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Audit: AFD employee accepted gifts from subordinate

An investigative audit by the Office of the City Auditor has found that Austin Fire Department spokesperson Michelle Tanzola violated city ethics policy by accepting gifts of photographic services from an employee who reports directly to her. Tanzola has responded…

Thursday, April 16, 2020 by Jo Clifton

A perfect storm: Covid-19, the census and redistricting

City demographer Ryan Robinson is worried about the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Census. “This is going to be a horrible census,” he told the Austin Monitor.Because of the need for social distancing to slow the spread of Covid-19, the…

Wednesday, April 15, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Travis County jail treads carefully amid coronavirus

In big city jails across Texas, both inmates and corrections officers are testing positive for the coronavirus. The Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that Covid-19 infections continue to rise in the Harris County jail, with 65 employees and 49 inmates testing…

Friday, April 10, 2020 by Jo Clifton

City joins county with expanded sick leave pay

City employees will be eligible to receive 100 percent of their regular pay if they take emergency sick leave as a result of Covid-19, retroactive to March 15, under a resolution approved by City Council on Thursday.The resolution, similar to…

Thursday, April 9, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council to consider zoning for apartments near McKinney Falls

The lone zoning case City Council is likely to discuss today would allow a developer to build low-density apartments, as well as a small commercial development, on a 23-acre tract on Colton Bluff Springs Road in Southeast Austin near McKinney…

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 by Jo Clifton

City financial forecast better than many

According to the city’s economic consultant, Jon Hockenyos, a quarter of a million workers in the Austin area will lose their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We’re just at the beginning of seeing the economic implications of…

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 by Jo Clifton

No hearing on gas rates this week

Negotiators for the city of Austin and Texas Gas Service, which provides residential and commercial services to Austin and the surrounding communities, have not been able to reach agreement on new rates for residential customers, Larry Graham, a spokesperson for…

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