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Oops — Tovo cites wrong task force

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Jo Clifton

With so many city boards, commissions, task forces and working groups it should come as no surprise that even someone as knowledgeable as Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo mixes up one task force with another occasionally. Last week, Tovo posted a request on the Council message board that the Council Austin Energy committee hear a presentation from the Low Income Advisory Task Force on the utility’s policies regarding how to deal with low income customers having trouble paying their bills. Consumer advocate Paul Robbins has a deep and abiding interest in those policies and has pointed out problems associated with the current policies. He and Tovo do not see eye-to-eye on the matter. Robbins noticed Tovo’s request and emailed her to say that  particular task force has nothing to do with arrearage policies. He even attached a copy of the resolution setting up that task force, which references weatherization and solar energy for low income homes. Austin Energy’s Toye Goodson told the Monitor that what Tovo was actually referring to is an Austin Energy working group that has been meeting for several years to develop procedures for payment management. It includes services providers like Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels. Some members of the task force are also part of the working group. Tovo said Monday that she wants the Council to hear Austin Energy’s recommendation “and I also want to hear from the working group.” Tovo provided a correction on the message board on Monday and apologized, noting, ” I believe AE staff are clear on the request as we spoke to them last week, but at least one member of the public was not.”

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