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Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 by Jo Clifton

AG tells Cedar Park no deal on tax exemption

Attorney General Ken Paxton has ruled that the city of Cedar Park is not allowed to set its minimum property tax exemption at $10,000 but must use the $5,000 minimum set by state law.Last spring, the Cedar Park City Council…

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Health department audit shows flaws in system

Austin Public Health’s contracts with the African American Youth Harvest Foundation do not require sufficient documentation to allow the department to adequately monitor the contracts, according to a draft audit report released Monday.In criticizing the health department’s monitoring of the…

Monday, September 24, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Environmental group opposes propositions J, K

Austin Environmental Democrats on Friday voted to oppose two propositions placed on the November ballot by citizen petitions.Like a number of other groups, the environmentalists voted to oppose Proposition K, which seeks to have a comprehensive audit of all city…

Monday, September 24, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Zoning OK’d for affordable housing

With the recently released University of Texas gentrification study on their minds, City Council members on Thursday gave final approval for a zoning change that will allow construction of 258 apartments – including a few three-bedroom units – in North…

Thursday, September 20, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Firefighter wins battle with city

Austin firefighters won their battle to get the city to drop its lawsuit against one of their own, Lt. Carrie Stewart, who filed a claim for workers’ compensation after she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2015.After meeting…

Thursday, September 20, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council to put off hearing on tax credit property

At the request of Council Member Delia Garza, on Thursday City Council will likely postpone a scheduled hearing and consideration of whether to give the city’s blessing to 4 percent affordable housing tax credits to a proposed apartment complex for…

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Many, but not all, development fees to climb

Last year, Rodney Gonzales, director of Austin’s Development Services Department, asked Council to fund an additional 50 employees to increase his department’s efficiency in dealing with a multitude of permits, reviews and inspections. Council killed the plan by postponing it.However,…

Friday, September 14, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Plenty of PACs for November bond election

District 2 Council Member Delia Garza wants to make sure that when Austin voters go to the polls to vote on the city’s $925 million bond package on Nov. 6, they understand how important it is to support Proposition E,…

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Innovators, Austin lifestyle, UT brought Army here

Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, who serves as director of combat systems for Austin’s brand-new Army Futures Command, said Tuesday that Austin was chosen as the site of the first new Army command since 1973 because Austin has the talent, the…

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council endorsement dances have begun

Political season has truly begun, with groups large and small hosting candidate forums and making endorsements.Last Friday, enough supporters of both incumbent District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria and his sister, Susana Almanza, came out to vote at the Austin…

Friday, September 7, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Mental health team faces funding crisis

Mental health professionals accompany police officers to all SWAT calls in Houston and Seattle, but Austin’s Mobile Crisis Outreach Team, which operates alongside the Austin Police Department, does not accompany officers on high-risk calls, such as when a weapon is…

Thursday, September 6, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council members talk about the budget

As City Council begins its final work session on the budget this morning in preparation for next week’s budget setting meetings, the Austin Monitor asked Council members to tell us the most important aspects of the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget.Both…

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Powell Lane apartments win first-round OK

City Council last week unanimously approved on first reading a zoning change for 8 acres in North Central Austin with just a few questions and little discussion. The developer’s representative, Alice Glasco, said the magic words – affordable housing –…

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Despite owners’ wishes, historic zoning advances

Staff won a preliminary victory in its quest to zone a 1923 West Austin house historic against the owners’ wishes last week. The City Council vote was 6-3, but with two members off the dais and not voting, the final…

Friday, August 31, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs Smoot Terrace Park Historic District

Council gave final approval Thursday to creation of the Smoot Terrace Park Historic District just west of downtown, after neighbors decided to eliminate three properties owned by people who signed a valid petition opposing the historic district.That meant Council could…

Thursday, August 30, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Some Austin waterways unsafe for swimming

According to a new report from the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and the Frontier Group, many of the state’s creeks, rivers and beaches are too polluted for swimming or wading – and that includes the Colorado River at…

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council rejects campgrounds with bar

On a vote of 6-5 last Thursday, City Council rejected a zoning change that would have allowed a developer to put a campground with rental recreational vehicles as well as a bar at the end of a narrow lane in…

Friday, August 24, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Troxclair brief opposes city’s ballot language

Writing on city of Austin stationery, City Council Member Ellen Troxclair has filed an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme Court in support of a writ of mandamus seeking to overturn the ballot language Council proposes for a proposition requiring…

Friday, August 24, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs Shady Lane project on first reading

Council approved multifamily zoning for the Flats on Shady at 1125 Shady Lane on first reading Thursday, with only District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria dissenting. The developers at Barton Creek Capital plan to build about 300 units, with 15…

Thursday, August 23, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Citizens simply ask for more at budget hearing

A significant majority of those who spoke at Wednesday’s public hearing on the city’s Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget seemed pleased with the money city staff had recommended allocating to their specific interest. Several praised City Council and City Manager Spencer…

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