BG Note | News - What We're Reading (August 18, 2017)

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As Uber touts changes after return to Austin, some city leaders remain skeptical (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

On June 15, 2016, a month after Uber and Lyft left Austin, Uber representatives Adam Goldman and Trevor Theunissen walked into Austin City Hall to meet with Mayor Steve Adler. Their purpose for being there, Theunissen said, was to mend a broken relationship with the city. Uber, along with ride-hailing competitor Lyft, had just lost a costly and intense battle with the city over an ordinance requiring ride-hailing companies to fingerprint their drivers -- a rule both companies opposed. In a May 7 special election, Austin voters sided with the city. Both companies ended service a few days later.

Richard Overton, country’s oldest vet, recovers and returns home from hospital (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Richard Overton, the oldest living veteran in America, returned to his Austin home today after being admitted to the hospital when doctors found pneumonia in both his lungs last week, according to his family.

With bathroom bill dead, Pastor Council looks to future fights (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

A day before the Texas Legislature ended its special session this week, a session that included a high-profile fight over a "bathroom bill" that appeared almost certainly dead, David Welch had a message for Gov. Greg Abbott: call lawmakers back to Austin. Again.


Austin Votes To Sue State Over Anti-Discrimination Housing Ordinance (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Austin City Council has voted to sue the state of Texas over a law that blocks the city from enforcing an anti-discrimination housing ordinance.

“I believe that everyone deserves the freedom to be able to search for housing without discrimination," Council Member Greg Casar, who wrote the measure, said Thursday. "We know that here in Austin, we have a long way to go." 


Council approves ambitious renewable energy goals (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council overwhelmingly approved a plan Thursday that sets big goals for Austin Energy, the municipally owned electric utility, to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels over the next decade.

The update to the Austin Energy Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan builds upon the goals set when the plan was first approved in 2014 by calling for the utility to generate 65 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2027.


Taxes from unregistered short-term rentals sit unused (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Millions of dollars in tax revenue from unregistered short-term rental properties sits unused because the city cannot collect it, according to Visitor Impact Task Force Chair James Russell.

In 2016, City Council passed an ordinance to phase out Type 2 short-term rentals, properties that owners rent out without living there and for less than 30 days a year. Russell said the temporary ban preventing more registration for Type 2 STR licenses has left many STRs unregistered, meaning they still pay Hotel Occupancy Tax but those taxes are not collected by the city.

“Short-term rentals was an interesting conversation,” Russell said at Tuesday’s City Council work session. “We were briefed on the amount of money that that the city currently collects from short-term rentals, because short-term rentals also had to pay Hotel Occupancy Tax, and there was a sentiment that it seemed very low for Austin being such a popular short-term rental town.”


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