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Mark Richardson is a multimedia journalist, editor and writer who has worked in digital, print and broadcast media for three decades. He is a nationally recognized editor and reporter who has covered government, politics and the environment. A journalism graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, he was recently awarded a Foundation for Investigative Journalism grant and has three Associated Press Managing Editors awards for excellence in reporting.
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Source of Income among Council items
The first big item on today’s City Council agenda is about forcing landlords to accept Section 8 vouchers for rental units for low-income people. The Council unanimously approved the original resolution, setting in motion the procedure that has so angered some members of the real estate community while pleasing groups like the Austin Tenants Council. At least one Council member is considering offering an amendment to the proposal that would exempt landlords of single-family homes, duplexes and apartment complexes of up to four units. This could prove critical to blunting opposition from the Austin Board of Realtors. Emily Chenevert, director of government relations at the ABoR, said Wednesday that her organization is hoping for just such an amendment, adding, “Where you’re going to have the most participation is in large multifamily complexes.” Single-family landlords are also less likely to have experience in dealing with a voucher program, she noted. ABoR is also interested in narrowing the definition of source of income, Chenevert said, explaining that it does not include less stable sources, such as gambling. . . . Council members will be going into executive session today to talk about the compensation, benefits and evaluation of City Manager Marc Ott, the city clerk, the municipal court clerk and the city auditor. There is little controversy surrounding the two clerks, and City Auditor Ken Morey has already announced that he plans to retire at the end of November. So the Council discussion is expected to center around comments that Council might or might not want to make public about the city manager. . . . Also at today’s meeting, members will discuss whether to hear or postpone the zoning case related to the proposed St. Elmo’s Market and Lofts on South Congress. Another possible postponement is a proposal for the hotel with no parking at Seventh and Congress, but staff was uncertain about that Wednesday. Sometime after 4 p.m., Council will have two public hearings, one related to so-called micro units, the very small efficiency dwellings that have had a rough time gaining traction with neighborhood advocates. The second public hearing involves a request for floodplain variances for development of a multifamily property at 1010 W. 10th St.
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