BG Note | News - What We're Reading (August 30, 2017)


Election News: Chairman Rep. Larry Gonzales (HD-52) will not seek re-election to the Texas House [Source Quorum Report]


Link to House Bio

Austin City Council hears plans for mega shelter at Convention Center (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

At an emergency Austin City Council meeting [Tuesday] morning, Mayor Steve Adler and council members reaffirmed the city’s commitment to helping those displaced by Hurricane Harvey, including undocumented immigrants, and discussed plans to increase the city’s shelter capacity to 7,000 people.

“We are not checking immigration status at shelters,” Adler said. “Our priority is your safety, and we want to make you feel at home regardless of where you come from. That is the character of this community and is the kind of hospitality that we’re going to show.”

Adler attacks plan to move hotel tax money (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Mayor Steve Adler made clear at Tuesday’s work session that he would try to derail Council Member Ellen Troxclair’s plan to reallocate money from the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue when it comes up for City Council consideration on Thursday.
Without saying exactly why, Adler expressed the idea that the Troxclair plan would prevent Council from adopting his “downtown puzzle” plan and interfere with a proposal to help the homeless.
Troxclair, along with Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council members Leslie Pool and Ann Kitchen, is sponsoring item 60, a resolution that would reallocate 15 percent of the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax from Visit Austin (previously known as the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau) to fund operations and maintenance of city historic facilities as well as funding for parks, music and small business.

Council looks to Waller Creek TIF for homeless funds (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council is looking to tax increment financing, a tool designed to address urban blight, as a way to address homelessness in downtown Austin.

Council is considering extending the life of the Waller Creek Tax Increment Financing Reinvestment Zone for an additional 12 years (from 2029 to 2041) as well as its boundaries in the hopes of capturing an additional $140 million in property tax revenue, some of which could be dedicated to homeless services.

Austin Schools Prepare To Enroll Harvey Evacuees (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Austin Independent School District is streamlining its enrollment process so it can accept students who have evacuated their homes elsewhere in the state because of Tropical Storm Harvey. 
The school district typically requires a child's birth certificate, record of immunizations, proof of address and a parent's photo identification. For those taking shelter in Austin, the district is requiring less documentation under the assumption most families will not have all the documentation. 
"Austin ISD will continue to welcome all students, including any evacuees who are in Austin for the foreseeable future," said Cristina Nguyen, a spokesperson for the district. "We are doing all we can to ensure all student needs are met and that there will minimal lapses in their school year."

Central Health concerns continue to stymie Commissioners Court (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

On Tuesday the Travis County Commissioners Court once again failed to reach a compromise that could satisfy all parties involved in the seemingly interminable controversy over transparency at Central Health.
Before the court was a review of the new financial policies it imposed on the health care district to guide its operations in the current fiscal year.

Trump to visit Corpus Christi, Austin to see Harvey recovery (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

President Donald Trump is coming to Texas on Tuesday to see the recovery efforts underway in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Trump is scheduled to first visit Corpus Christi, the city along the Central Texas coast near where Harvey made landfall Friday as a Category 4 storm. The president will get an update there on relief efforts with state leaders and relief groups. 

Trump will then head to Austin, where he will tour the Emergency Operations Center and receive a briefing with state leaders, according to the White House.

Part of $100 million IT upgrade at University of Texas placed on hold (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A key part of a major University of Texas technology upgrade that was already running behind schedule and over its $106 million budget has been delayed indefinitely, UT officials announced Tuesday. The project to shift UT’s payroll, human resources and finances from a mainframe computer system to cloud-based operations was originally scheduled to be implemented, or “go live,” on July 10. Officials said in January that they would introduce it in phases starting sometime later, without specifying exactly when. A consulting firm, KPMG LLP, based in New York City, had recommended a phased implementation rather than what it called a “big bang” approach.

In Austin for Harvey briefing, Trump gets earful on immigration (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Berenice Ramirez, University of Texas student and daughter of undocumented immigrants, fights back tears when she talks about the possibility of losing the program that has allowed her to go to school and work while pursuing her dream job of nursing. ... On Tuesday, as President Donald Trump’s motorcade passed by on its way to the Texas Department of Public Safety operations center for the president to receive an update on Harvey response efforts, Ramirez was among dozens of protesters gathered to urge him not to rescind the immigration program for people like her. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, gives protection from deportation to thousands of young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children and allows them to work legally.

Mexican Consulate moves to larger Austin office to meet growing need (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The long lines outside the Mexican Consulate in downtown Austin might soon be a distant memory. The consulate, which provides a range of services to Mexican citizens, is moving its Central Texas operations to a more spacious facility at 5202 E. Ben White Blvd., Suite 150. In preparation for a Sept. 5 opening, the Mexican Consulate will be closed from Wednesday to Sept. 4.


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