Austin City Council http://kut.org en Council Withdraws Mid-Year Evaluation of City Manager http://kut.org/post/council-withdraws-mid-year-evaluation-city-manager <p><em>This story comes to us from our city hall reporting partner, the <a href="http://austinmonitor.com">Austin Monitor</a>.</em></p><p>It seems that some City Council members were planning on giving&nbsp;City Manager Marc Ott&nbsp;– and perhaps others – a piece of their minds in private Thursday, but due to the absence of&nbsp;Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole,&nbsp;Mayor Lee Leffingwell&nbsp;was able to at least postpone that confrontation.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The executive session agenda for Thursday included four unusual items, each to do a mid-year evaluation of one of the Council’s appointees: </span>Ott<span style="line-height: 1.5;">,&nbsp;</span><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">City Auditor Kenneth Mory, Municipal Court Clerk Rebecca Stark&nbsp;</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">and</span><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;City&nbsp;Clerk&nbsp;Jannette Goodall.</strong></p><p> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:27:35 +0000 Mike Kanin & Jo Clifton 10250 at http://kut.org Council Withdraws Mid-Year Evaluation of City Manager Austin: What's the One Thing That Would Make Life On Your Block Better? http://kut.org/post/austin-whats-one-thing-would-make-life-your-block-better <p>What's the one thing that would make life&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">on your block</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;better? </span></p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Matt Largey 10226 at http://kut.org Austin: What's the One Thing That Would Make Life On Your Block Better? City Spends $9.6 Million to Buy Southwest Austin Golf Course http://kut.org/post/city-spends-96-million-buy-southwest-austin-golf-course <p>The Austin City Council approved the acquisition of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.greyrockgolfclub.com/">Grey Rock Golf Club's </a>courses and tennis facility today, allocating $9.6 million of the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget for the purchase.</p><p>The course sits on 292 acres of south of Lady Bird Lake, adjacent to the Circle C subdivision. The course lies in the environmentally sensitive Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.</p><p>City Deputy Chief Financial Officer Greg Canally called the Grey Rock purchase a “unique opportunity to acquire a piece of land that actually comes with an existing revenue stream.” Some of that existing revenue will be leveraged to pay off an estimated $400,000 in debt service; the department estimates the revenue will cover half of that amount.</p><p> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 20:58:29 +0000 Kelly Krupa 10010 at http://kut.org City Spends $9.6 Million to Buy Southwest Austin Golf Course Council Member Mike Martinez Joins Race for Austin Mayor http://kut.org/post/council-member-mike-martinez-joins-race-austin-mayor <p>Austin City Council member&nbsp;<a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/biography/council-member">Mike Martinez</a>&nbsp;announced this morning he will run for mayor.</p><p>His campaign will officially kick off April&nbsp;5, with Martinez planning campaign announcements in each of Austin's 10 new City Council districts.</p><div>"Because of the new district system and because we have moved our election to November, obviously it‘s going to be the highest voter turnout in a mayoral election than we have ever seen in the history of Austin," Martinez says. "Typically in May we see 30 to 40 thousand voters. We anticipate well over 200,000 voters in this November election, so that will be a major, major difference this year.”&nbsp;</div><p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 16:22:23 +0000 Kelly Krupa 9996 at http://kut.org Council Member Mike Martinez Joins Race for Austin Mayor Laura Morrison Says She Will Not Run for Austin Mayor http://kut.org/post/laura-morrison-says-she-will-not-run-austin-mayor <p><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15.454545021057129px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;">This article is written by KUT's City Hall reporting partner, the</em><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15.454545021057129px; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;</span><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15.454545021057129px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;"><a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(12, 76, 162);">Austin Monitor</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>Council Member&nbsp;Laura Morrison, who has served on the Austin City Council for nearly six years and has been considered a likely candidate for&nbsp;Mayor&nbsp;on the November ballot told the&nbsp;<em>Austin Monitor</em>&nbsp;today that she has decided against the race.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Morrison, 59, said decision was a difficult one for her. “I love this job and it’s been … very complicated and difficult. It’s taken me a long time to make this decision.”&nbsp;&nbsp;Weighing all the pros and cons of a race that might cost up to a million dollars, Morrison said, “I just think a different future is what’s right for me.”</span></p><p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 19:54:00 +0000 Jo Clifton 9991 at http://kut.org Laura Morrison Says She Will Not Run for Austin Mayor City, Firefighters Union Headed for Mediation in Hiring Dispute http://kut.org/post/city-firefighters-union-headed-mediation-hiring-dispute <p><em>This article is written by KUT's City Hall reporting partner, the</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/">Austin Monitor</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>The Austin Firefighters Association (AFA) – the union for City of Austin’s firefighters – and city management are headed to federal mediation over lingering accusations of hiring discrimination. Asked how long the mediation process might take AFA head Bob Nicks Tuesday declined to speculate.</p><p>Also, at Tuesday’s work session Council Member Mike Martinez, former head of the firefighters union, announced from the dais that city staff had requested a week’s postponement for council ratification of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.</p><p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:47:02 +0000 Mike Kanin 9851 at http://kut.org City, Firefighters Union Headed for Mediation in Hiring Dispute Live Blog: Mayor Leffingwell's 2014 State of the City Address http://kut.org/post/live-blog-mayor-leffingwells-2014-state-city-address <p><strong>Update</strong>: Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell&nbsp; delivered his final "State of the City" address today at noon.</p><p>Leffingwell's office billed the 40-minute speech as an overview of the mayor's two terms in office. Leffingwell was elected mayor in 2009 and 2012; Austin will elect a new mayor this November. Read below for a real-time report on the mayor's remarks. Video of the mayor's speech will be included in this post once it is available.&nbsp;</p><p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">That's a wrap: </strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Leffingwell ends his speech with a call for interconnectedness going forward into single-member districts. On to a Q&amp;A session with the crowd.</span></p><p>Not many major proclamations coming out of the mayor's address: calls for a medical school innovation district and urban rail were big moments from the mayor's speech last year. Still, the address can be viewed as doubling down on initiatives Leffingwell wants to accomplish before leaving office; as soon as his speech ended, his office <a href="http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=1861810ce1dca1a4c1673747c&amp;id=60a9617df7&amp;e=abd658caa4">issued a statement</a> titled "Mayor defines focus for
 final&nbsp;10 months in office."</p><p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 19:06:29 +0000 Wells Dunbar 9844 at http://kut.org Live Blog: Mayor Leffingwell's 2014 State of the City Address Austin City Council Votes to Lower Occupancy Limits http://kut.org/post/austin-city-council-votes-lower-occupancy-limits <p class="p1">The Austin City Council had a long day at the dais yesterday, with a meeting that sputtered along for the better part of 15 hours.</p><p class="p1">"Stealth dorms," fee waivers, economic incentives, an officer-involved shooting, the MoPac sound wall and&nbsp; even a proclamation for KUT's own Cactus Cafe.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">With that in mind, here's a rundown of the council action, and inaction, from yesterday.</p><p> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:13:14 +0000 KUT Staff 9784 at http://kut.org Austin City Council Votes to Lower Occupancy Limits City Council Poised to Decide on 'Stealth Dorm' Regulations http://kut.org/post/city-council-poised-decide-stealth-dorm-regulations <p>The city of Austin limits the number of unrelated adults who can live in a single-family home. Right now, that limit is six.</p><p>But there’s a push before the <a href="http://austin.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=515&amp;doctype=agenda" target="_blank">Austin City Council</a> to lower that number to four.&nbsp; The Austin City Council meets today to decide whether to impose new rules that would lower occupancy limits – and do away with what some call “<a href="http://kut.org/post/will-occupancy-limits-aimed-stealth-dorms-hurt-austin-affordability" target="_blank">stealth dorms</a>.”</p><p> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 16:18:20 +0000 Joy Diaz 9778 at http://kut.org City Council Poised to Decide on 'Stealth Dorm' Regulations Op-Ed: Reducing Occupancy Limits Hurts Affordability Without Solving Problems http://kut.org/post/op-ed-reducing-occupancy-limits-hurts-affordability-without-solving-problems <p style="margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;"><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Tomorrow, the Austin City Council takes up&nbsp;<a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1015598-austin-city-council-final-draft-of-occupany.html" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(12, 76, 162);">an ordinance</a>&nbsp;that would lower occupancy limits on single-family zoned property. If approved, the maximum number of unrelated adults allowed to live together would fall from six to four.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;"><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Supporters</em><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">&nbsp;of the change is needed to stop the spread of so-called "stealth dorms" – neighborhood homes built or remodeled to hold as many renters as possible. Opponents say the change will hurt Austin's declining stock of affordable housing.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;"><em><span class="s1" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">Julie Montgomery is a </span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">Program Coordinator &amp; Research Associate, Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at her alma mater UT Austin.</span></em></p><p style="margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;"><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial; font-size: 13.333333969116211px; line-height: 16.61111068725586px; white-space: pre-wrap;">An occupancy limit reduction would make housing more expensive for all of us. It wouldn’t really solve the unfortunate quality of life problems experienced by some neighborhoods. And it is a costly distraction from the challenging work that policymakers, staff, and advocates need to do to address Austin’s housing shortage.</span></p><p> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 21:16:47 +0000 Julie Montgomery 9772 at http://kut.org Op-Ed: Reducing Occupancy Limits Hurts Affordability Without Solving Problems Op-Ed: Austin Should Lower Occupancy Limits to Stop 'Stealth Dorms' http://kut.org/post/op-ed-austin-should-lower-occupancy-limits-stop-stealth-dorms <p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">This Thursday, the Austin City Council takes up <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1015598-austin-city-council-final-draft-of-occupany.html">an ordinance</a> that would lower occupancy limits on single-family zoned property. If approved, the maximum number of unrelated adults allowed to live together would fall from six to four.&nbsp;</em></p><p><em>Supporters</em><em style="line-height: 1.5;"> of the change is needed to stop the spread of so-called "stealth dorms" – neighborhood homes built or remodeled to hold as many renters as possible. Opponents say the change will hurt Austin's declining stock of affordable housing.</em></p><p><em>For over 30 years, Mary Sanger has had a professional career in community organizing and electoral politics with a focus on environmental issues, and growth and development issues.&nbsp;</em></p><p><strong>What is before the City Council? </strong>In November, the Austin City Council unanimously passed <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1015579-city-of-austin-dwelling-unit-occupancy-amp.html">a resolution</a> instructing the city manager to initiate a code amendment to reduce occupancy limits for structures on single-family zoned properties from six to four unrelated persons over the age of 18. The resolution covers both duplexes and houses. It does not apply to apartments or buildings not in single-family zoned areas.</p><p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 21:06:39 +0000 Mary Sanger 9737 at http://kut.org Op-Ed: Austin Should Lower Occupancy Limits to Stop 'Stealth Dorms' SXSW is Due $755K Worth of City Waivers & Payments - Here's a Breakdown http://kut.org/post/sxsw-due-755k-worth-city-waivers-payments-heres-breakdown <p>This year, the City of Austin is planning to cover <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1016239-city-of-austin-fiscal-note-for-sxsw-waivers.html">over $750,000 worth of fees and services</a> for South by Southwest .&nbsp;</p><p>The proposal, which the Austin City Council <a href="http://austin.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=515&amp;doctype=agenda&amp;itemid=30483">is set to vote on</a> Thursday, includes up to $274,320&nbsp;worth of fee waivers – ranging from $30 sound permit fees to $89,000 worth of litter control services. Any fees already paid by SXSW would be reimbursed to the company.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">The city would also authorize payments for $481,324 worth of city services – the bulk of which is $340,000 in additional police costs.</span></p><p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 16:15:26 +0000 Filipa Rodrigues 9750 at http://kut.org SXSW is Due $755K Worth of City Waivers & Payments - Here's a Breakdown City’s General Fund Ends Fiscal Year 2013 with $14 Million Surplus http://kut.org/post/city-s-general-fund-ends-fiscal-year-2013-14-million-surplus <p><em>This article is written by KUT's Austin City Hall reporting partner, the</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/">Austin Monitor</a>&nbsp;(formerly&nbsp;In Fact Daily).&nbsp;</em></p><p>The <strong>City of Austin’s General Fund</strong> ended fiscal year 2013 with a $14.2 million surplus. That figure amounts to a roughly 1 percent variance from projections made by city staff.</p><p>Despite the positive figure, Austin’s <strong>Chief Financial Officer Elaine Hart</strong> told members of the Council’s <strong>Audit and Finance Committee</strong> Wednesday that management was not planning on coming forward with a mid-year budget adjustment.</p><p> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:26:18 +0000 Mike Kanin 9728 at http://kut.org City’s General Fund Ends Fiscal Year 2013 with $14 Million Surplus Austin's Political Players Look to Gain Seats on New City Council http://kut.org/post/austins-political-players-look-gain-seats-new-city-council <p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">This article was co-produced&nbsp;as part of an ongoing City Hall reporting partnership between the <a href="http://www.infactdaily.com/">Austin Monitor</a> and KUT. Listen to the audio story broadcast on&nbsp;KUT in the player below.&nbsp;</em></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">With single-member districts soon to become a reality,&nbsp;</span><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">Austin City Council</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;candidates are already lining up to crowd what promises to be a very full November ballot. Austin's political insiders and outsiders alike are trying to get a handle on an election that promises to shape the city for years to come.</span></p><p><strong>Roger&nbsp;Borgelt</strong>&nbsp;is vice chairman of the&nbsp;<strong>Travis County&nbsp;Republican Party</strong>. He also served as co-chair of&nbsp;the&nbsp;<strong>Austinites&nbsp;for Geographic Representation</strong>&nbsp;– the group responsible for getting 10-1 on the ballot. He says that he is excited about the promise of more localized, neighborhood representation, as well as the possibility of conservatives (or at least fiscal conservatives) taking some of the 11 open City Council seats.</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/132793502&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 14:10:08 +0000 Elizabeth Pagano & Joy Diaz 9698 at http://kut.org Austin's Political Players Look to Gain Seats on New City Council City Council Approves Athenahealth Incentives Deal - But Not Unanimously http://kut.org/post/city-council-approves-athenahealth-incentives-deal-not-unanimously <p>Last night the Austin City Council approved a deal that offers nearly $680,000 dollars in incentives for <a href="http://www.athenahealth.com/">athenahealth</a> to expand in Austin. The grant will be offered in addition to a $5 million subsidy from Gov. Rick Perry's <a href="http://governor.state.tx.us/ecodev/financial_resources/texas_enterprise_fund/">Texas Enterprise Fund</a>.</p><p>But not everyone is happy with the deal. Some council members argue that the city’s booming economy doesn’t need to offer subsidies to bring business to Austin. (The deal passed on a 5-2 vote, with city council members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo voting no.)</p><p><a href="http://www.infactdaily.com/">Austin Monitor</a> publisher Michael&nbsp;Kanin&nbsp;says that this debate is heating up as council members become increasingly divided on the issue of business incentives.</p><p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 17:45:55 +0000 Phoebe Flanigan 9688 at http://kut.org City Council Approves Athenahealth Incentives Deal - But Not Unanimously