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Council spending for May 15, 2014

We at the Monitor are excited to introduce a new feature after every City Council Meeting. Often overlooked, expenditures make up an important part of the nuts and bolts of city government.   Here is a detailed look at expenditures…

City hires outside law firm to handle Capitol View Corridor violation

After a closed-door executive session, City Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve $1.8 million in legal fees for an outside law firm to protect the interests for a possible violation of the Capitol View Corridor.   After some confusion and…

Council sets up study process for ridesharing, taxi service issues

Taxicab drivers and safer-streets activists were among those with a heavy stake in two transportation-related items at Thursday’s City Council meeting. But in the end, all they got was a stakeholder process that will not be over until mid-November, making…

Council accepts DOJ consent decree to settle firefighter hiring issue

With Council Members Mike Martinez and Chris Riley dissenting, Austin City Council members voted Thursday night to move forward with a proposed agreement with U.S. Department of Justice that would settle claims of hiring discrimination that have dogged the department…

Kyle Council incumbent’s opponent seeks recount

Kyle City Council incumbent Becky Selbera, who won re-election Saturday by just six votes, is being accused by her opponent in the race of being unqualified to run under city charter rules. Jaime Sanchez also is seeking a recount of…

Council questions management’s funding process

The question of funding for Austin’s African-American Cultural Heritage District got wrapped up in an ongoing City Council and management discussion over how mid-year funding for various projects should be vetted. The conversation took place at Tuesday’s work session  …

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Spelman continues to press police department on budget increases

With no attempt at coyness, Council Member Bill Spelman kicked off his questioning about the Austin Police Department budget during last week’s budget work session saying, “This is a ritual, we’ve done it for years – I’ll do it again.”…

Mayor criticizes use of Austin Water funds to pay for general fund expenses

The Austin Water Utility came under scrutiny at last week’s budget session, as City Council members took a closer look at rate increases proposed by the utility. In fact, Mayor Lee Leffingwell called for “truth in budgeting,” telling AWU officials…

Library offers lean budget now in hopes of increase in future years

City Council members heard a humble request from the Library Department last week.   ThoughLibrary Director Brenda Branch is requesting an increase of 4.4 percent in next year’s operating budget, her presentation to City Council noted that that increase did…

Council members surprised by changed format for budget process

Several City Council members expressed surprise Thursday about not being provided with budget presentations from city departments as part of their FY2015 budget deliberations. Members also said they were concerned over a decline in the amount of information delivered by…

Austin Fire Chief explains to Council why she can’t expand service

Ranks of the Austin Fire Department are down by 76 members and that number is growing every month as veterans retire, according to Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr. Kerr says at that rate, the department would have around 100 vacancies…

Task Force recommends major changes to some city commissions

The Boards and Commissions Transition Task Force issued its final report last week, recommending the elimination of up to 19 city commissions, mostly through combining the duties of two or more current panels.   The Austin City Council gave the…

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