Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 by Jo Clifton

New PAC starts to fight strong-mayor plan

It’s that time of year, Austin voters. The redbud trees have come out, signaling spring. Also coming out in time to remind us that we have choices to make in the May election are people paid to knock on our…

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Some Council members object to Flannigan’s new role at ACE

City Council approved a resolution last week granting consent for Austin Convention Enterprises to apply for a federal loan to help front-line employees working at the downtown Austin Hilton Hotel. Assistant City Attorney Lee Crawford made it clear that if…

Friday, March 5, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Bonds to fund new transportation staff

On Thursday City Council approved the release of bond funding from the 2020 transportation and safety bond. The funding will allow the Transportation Department to hire an additional 27 employees and the Public Works Department to hire eight new employees…

Thursday, March 4, 2021 by Jo Clifton

AE chief apologizes for hardships caused by storm

Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent apologized to the community during Wednesday’s AE Utility Oversight Committee meeting for the suffering and hardships experienced during Winter Storm Uri as a result of electric system outages. Even though the outages were ordered…

Thursday, March 4, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council makes Planning Commission appointments this week

City Council is making clear to those concerned – including Attorney General Ken Paxton – that it will absolutely abide by a city charter provision that requires two-thirds of all planning commissioners to be lay members. Paxton has sued previous…

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council changes camping ban ballot language

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that City Council must change the language it used to describe Save Austin Now’s ballot proposition reinstating the ban on homeless camping and the prohibition on panhandling after dark. Council, which was meeting in…

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Austin utilities work to help those hit by storm

The wake of winter storm Uri brought recriminations, finger-pointing and at least one major utility bankruptcy, not to mention the sky-high prices charged to many Texas utility customers. Meanwhile, at Austin Energy, officials have been spending their time trying to…

Friday, February 26, 2021 by Jo Clifton

City says fix the leak now, get the permit later

In an effort to assist residents dealing with the aftereffects of prolonged freezing temperatures, heavy snow and freezing rain, City Council approved an ordinance Thursday waiving residential permitting and development fees for repairing or rebuilding structures and removing downed trees.…

Thursday, February 25, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Court rejects bid to overturn ballot language

Today’s City Council agenda contains resolutions and emergency ordinances waiving fees and regulations to help Austinites deal with the aftermath of prolonged freezing temperatures and the loss of power and water. The final item on the agenda is entirely different.…

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Home repair funds increased to fix storm damage

In response to the unprecedented damage to homes caused by winter storm Uri, Austin Water has transferred $1 million to the city’s Housing and Planning Department to help Austinites repair ruptured water lines. The city already had a program to help…

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Austin Energy customers need not worry about skyrocketing bills

Austin Energy customers, like the customers of other utilities throughout the state, experienced power outages and water shortages caused by winter storm Uri. But unlike customers of other utilities, Austin Energy customers will not be facing a huge spike in…

Monday, February 22, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Save Austin Now sues city over ballot language

Three Austin voters who signed a petition to put a public camping ban on the May 1 ballot have filed suit against the city to force a change in the ballot language. Linda Durnin, Eric Krohn and Michael Lovins allege…

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Storm deals heavy blow to Austin Energy, other utilities

With roughly 40 percent of its customers without power Monday, Austin Energy and other local officials worked to explain what happened when an unprecedented winter storm swept through the entire state, leaving roughly 2 million Texans without electricity. The Electric…

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Winter weather shuts down the city

The storm that brought Austin to a standstill continues to impact city operations this week. Services are closed across the city due to extreme weather with an expectation that more winter is on the way. City officials announced Monday that…

Friday, February 12, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council rejects meeting to consider adding ballot measure

After a majority of Council members told City Attorney Anne Morgan they did not believe a special called meeting on Friday night was necessary, Morgan advised Mayor Steve Adler that the mayor would not have a quorum to consider the…

Thursday, February 11, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council to consider proposition fix at Friday night meeting

City Council is scheduled to meet once again this Friday night to consider one more possible ordinance to place on the May 1 ballot. On Tuesday night, after a long day of making decisions about how to word eight proposed…

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Camping ban, strong-mayor proposal set for May 1 ballot

Austin voters who go to the polls on May 1 will have no candidates to vote for. Instead, they will have numerous questions to answer about how Austin’s government should be run and whether to reinstate the ban on camping, sitting…

Monday, February 8, 2021 by Jo Clifton

After OK by Austin, ESD vote goes to Travis County

City Council voted unanimously Thursday to allow voters in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction within Emergency Services District 2 to vote on whether to create Travis County Emergency Services District 17. If approved by voters, the vote would authorize creation of…

Friday, February 5, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council approves District 6 hotel purchase for homeless

After hearing from scores of citizens, both in favor of and opposed to the purchase, City Council voted 10-1 Thursday to buy a hotel in far Northwest Austin for conversion to permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. The…

Thursday, February 4, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Former Commissioner Ron Davis dies at 75

Former Travis County Commissioner Ron Davis, who is remembered for his staunch advocacy on environmental issues, died Tuesday at age 75. Davis served on the Commissioners Court from to 1998 to 2016 representing Precinct 1 in eastern Travis County. His…

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