Stories by Jo Clifton

Friday, March 29, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Ethics commission loses some duties

Austin’s Ethics Review Commission will no longer be looking at allegations of ethics violations related to most city employees. On Thursday, City Council approved changes to the ordinance governing the commission’s authority after ensuring that reports about such allegations would…

Thursday, March 28, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council: TxDOT should pay for underpass cleanup

Several members of the Austin City Council expressed anger at the Texas Department of Transportation after learning at Tuesday’s work session that the city would have to pick up the cost of cleaning up the state’s property at city underpasses.…

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Honor Flight duties raise concerns

City employees working in the Veterans Services Office have spent a considerable amount of city time working for Honor Flight Austin, the nonprofit organization that provides trips to Washington, D.C., for World War II veterans, even though the city does…

Monday, March 18, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Casar to pay Pressley’s court fees, but they’re not much

When Council Member Greg Casar filed the report on his special officeholder account on Jan. 15, it showed just $321.91 in the account. The purpose of that account has been to help Casar pay the legal fees in the lawsuit…

Friday, March 15, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Austin taking over underpass cleanup from TxDOT

The Texas Department of Transportation, which has been cleaning under the city’s highway overpasses for many years and cleaning up homeless camps for about three years, has notified the city of Austin that it can no longer provide those services.TxDOT…

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council rules unlikely to change despite opinion

Despite a ruling by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismantling a provision of the Texas Open Meetings Act that prevents local government officials from meeting in small groups in what is known as a “walking quorum,” it seems unlikely…

Friday, March 8, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Flood plain variance a conundrum for Council

After hearing from the city’s flood plain expert, Council voted 6-5 Thursday to grant a variance to allow a property owner to replace an older, smaller home in the flood plain of Waller Creek at 4515 Avenue D with a…

Thursday, March 7, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Alter worried about cost of city leases

Council Member Alison Alter is worried about how much money the city is spending on renting space for city offices as compared to purchasing or building those offices.At Tuesday’s work session, Alter grilled Alex Gale, the city’s interim real estate…

Friday, March 1, 2019 by Jo Clifton

TCEQ OKs Dripping Springs discharge permit

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a wastewater discharge permit to Dripping Springs on Wednesday, giving the city authority to expand its existing wastewater plant and discharge up to 822,500 gallons of effluent per day into Onion Creek. However,…

Thursday, February 28, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Austin’s homeless population still growing

Despite the expenditure of millions of city and federal dollars, and the fact that Austin’s efforts are frequently cited as best practices in other cities, homelessness is still on the rise here.Ann Howard, executive director of the Ending Community Homelessness…

Monday, February 25, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Casar opposes dense rezoning Renteria supports

On Thursday, Council approved the rezoning of two adjacent properties in the East Riverside corridor that will allow for considerably greater density when the property is redeveloped. The approval, which was on first reading only, was done over the objections…

Thursday, February 21, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Mayor talks taxes, mobility at RECA lunch

Mayor Steve Adler faced a friendly crowd at Wednesday’s Real Estate Council of Austin meeting. He spoke about his hopes for the future, outlined challenges the city faces in the areas of mobility, affordability and property taxes and answered questions…

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 by Jo Clifton

City survey: Austinites’ satisfaction up

Austinites have expressed a very high level of satisfaction with city services, with overall satisfaction 21 percent higher than the national average for cities with a population of more than 500,000, Chief Performance Officer Kimberly Olivares told Council at Tuesday’s…

Thursday, February 14, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Buda seeks passage of aquifer storage bill

Buda’s explosive growth, from about 7,300 people in 2010 to nearly 17,000 today, coupled with a changing climate that brings both floods and drought, means that the city has to carefully manage its water resources.The city is hoping to move…

Monday, February 11, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Updated: Human Resources director faces ethics complaint

Joya Hayes, director of the city’s Human Resources Department, misused city resources and abused her position by directing staffers to care for her child while Hayes attended meetings, according to a complaint filed by the Office of the City Auditor.The…

Friday, February 8, 2019 by Jo Clifton

City, UT to work together on moving Red River

City Council unanimously agreed Thursday to enter into an agreement with the University of Texas to facilitate the relocation of Red River Street between East 12th Street and East 32nd Street in order to develop a new arena to replace…

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Local officials unite to fight property tax caps

Just hours after Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his State of the State address on Tuesday, declaring school finance reform, property tax relief and teacher pay raises to be emergency items on the legislative agenda, county officials from around the state…

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Harper-Madison removes three commissioners

After just one month in office, District 1 Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison has signaled her intent to remove three sitting commissioners from their respective commissions, and a fourth is already gone. One of those commissioners, Bryan King of the Board…

Friday, February 1, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Firefighter off for one day for ‘disrespect’

After finding that a male firefighter under his command spoke in a disrespectful manner to a female firefighter, Austin Fire Chief Joel Baker suspended the firefighter for just one day, to the dismay of the female firefighter. Baker did not…

Thursday, January 31, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Who’s serving on City Council committees?

It’s finally time for the first City Council meeting of the year – and consequently, time to reconstitute Council committees. But anyone expecting big changes in the membership of those committees would probably be mistaken, though there will be some…

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