Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Austin Energy payments to city keep growing

Even though City Council froze the transfer from Austin Energy to the city’s general fund at $105 million in 2012, the amount the utility pays for support services has continued to grow. For the current fiscal year, the utility will…

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Council sends cost overrun issues to committee

City Council members approved an additional expenditure last week of a little more than $91,000 for the construction contract for restoration of infrastructure along lower Shoal Creek to Lady Bird Lake. The total budget of that project was $1,217,366 to…

Friday, March 13, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Ott splits Planning & Development Review Dept.

Like the couple that marries and divorces but marries again only to divorce a few years later, the Planning and Development Review Department is once again being broken into a neighborhood planning department and a development review department. In a…

Friday, March 13, 2015 by Jo Clifton

City seeking 567 volunteers for commissions

In order to keep the city’s many boards and commissions running on time, City Council must make 500 appointments by June 30. Other groups need to appoint an additional 67 individuals to participate in the process of advising Council on…

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Committee reaches few conclusions on new staff

The City Council Audit and Finance Committee had a wide-ranging discussion Monday about the possibility of hiring more staff to help Council, but arrived at no conclusions. The conversation was sparked by an attempt by Mayor Steve Adler to add…

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Springdale apartment complex appeal denied

City Council has rejected an appeal by DeWayne Lofton, who was seeking to overturn a decision of the Planning Commission to grant a conditional use permit for an affordable housing complex at 5905 Springdale Road. Lofton, president of Pecan Springs/Springdale…

Friday, March 6, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Two committees to take up Decker Golf questions

After raising numerous questions about the deal it is being asked to approve for creation of two high-end golf courses at the Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in far East Austin, City Council voted 9-1-1 Thursday to send those questions…

Thursday, March 5, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Zimmerman: Fine Code Compliance for losing case

City Council Member Don Zimmerman has proposed a unique punishment for the city’s Code Compliance Department when it loses a case in Municipal Court: It will have to pay. Zimmerman, who has made no secret of his disdain for the…

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Council vote on Decker Golf contract uncertain

At least four members of City Council expressed an interest Tuesday in sending the question of whether the city should enter into the contract for a developer to create two PGA-class golf courses at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park to…

Friday, February 27, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Council votes for more study of Adler staff plan

On a 6-5 vote, City Council postponed action Thursday on Mayor Steve Adler’s plan to add five staffers to his office, sending the question to the Council’s Audit and Finance Committee. Those voting for the postponement included Mayor Pro Tem…

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Council to continue July vacation tradition

Rejoice, city staffers. Your July vacation is probably safe — unless you are part of the budget staff. At Tuesday’s work session, City Council members agreed that they would continue the tradition of not scheduling meetings during July. Mayor Pro…

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Parks to consider Decker Golf; Council may punt

Although consideration of an agreement with Decker Golf LLC is on this week’s City Council agenda, Mayor Steve Adler said Monday that staff would be requesting postponement of an item allowing a 50-year license agreement for construction of new PGA-style…

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Professor lectures Adler on Austin government

Terrell Blodgett, professor emeritus at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, has written to Mayor Steve Adler and his City Council colleagues expressing concern about the mayor’s plan to add more staff for his office and lecturing him on the…

Friday, February 20, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Adler gives up on foundation funding for office staff

After hearing strong opposition from his colleagues as well as others, Mayor Steve Adler is proposing a complete revamp of his plan for additional staffing in the Mayor’s office. Adler told the Austin Monitor Thursday that he would be pulling…

Thursday, February 19, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Council set to discuss committee logistics today

The Austin City Council will have an opportunity this afternoon to discuss and possibly vote on a proposed new Council schedule, including committees. Mayor Steve Adler’s Chief of Staff, John Michael Cortez, posted the proposal on the Council bulletin board…

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Texas mayors take aim at Legislature’s tax caps

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and the mayors of nine other large Texas cities came together Monday to declare their intention to fight any proposal to diminish local government control, especially cities’ authority to set tax rates. The idea of a…

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Zimmerman struggles to stop subsidized housing

There are only two subsidized housing developments in City Council Member Don Zimmerman’s District 6, as compared to 47 in Council Member Ora Houston’s District 1 and 46 in Council Member Pio Renteria’s District 3, according to data compiled by…

Friday, February 6, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs restart of firefighter negotiations

As its first major action, the Austin City Council on Thursday approved a resolution directing city management to go back to the bargaining table with the Austin Firefighters Association. But it did not, as initially proposed, direct staff to stop…

Thursday, February 5, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Not all firefighters support pulling RFP

The president of the Austin African-American Firefighters Association told the Austin Monitor that the city would be making a mistake if it stops the RFP process for a plan to recruit new firefighters and returns to the negotiating table, as set…

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Robbins working to fix AE assistance program

Consumer advocate Paul Robbins is visiting City Council members this week in an attempt to explain to them the problems with the Austin Energy Customer Assistance Program, known as CAP. The program, which was designed to help economically disadvantaged electric…

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