AUSTIN - Austin City Council met with Austin Energy officials for another work session Wednesday morning to discuss a proposed rate hike the city-owned utility says is necessary to help cover its operating costs and pad reserves.
Their discussions included a recommendation to cap rates at a 10 percent discount for the Austin Independent School District.
Other topics included connection and disconnection fees plus Austin Energy's efforts to negotiate with low-income residents who need power turned on after being delinquent or overdue in prior payments, and churches will get categorized and billed at a special rate.
Something Austin Energy and city officials did not talk about publicly was the latest KXAN News Investigation . KXAN's Lead Investigator Chris Willis uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable spending by Austin Energy.
KXAN has still not received a response from city leaders about the $612,138 Austin Energy spent on food and gifts at a time when the city-owned utility wants to raise citizen and business rates.
The investigation found thousands spent at just about every restaurant in Central Texas, and thousands more spent on employee outings to places like Dave & Busters, Main Event, bowling alleys, and the IMAX Theatre at the Bob Bullock Museum.
KXAN also found $52,401 spent on gift cards for employees, and tens of thousands spent on catered events at both on-site and remote locations. Records also showed expenses for employee lunches, holiday parties, end of the year lunches -- including farewell luncheons for AE interns.
What did city leaders have to say about this? KXAN has had dozens of calls and emails from viewers asking the same question.
It's obviously something they don't want to talk about. Requests to speak with several City Council members fell on deaf ears. The city's public information office denied Willis access to City Manger Marc Ott, who ultimately controls all city spending.
KXAN is expanding its investigation beyond Austin Energy. The investigative team is now going through data showing city-wide expenditures on food and awards across all city departments. KXAN will have more on that next week, and will keep pushing for answers from the city manager and council members.
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.