Austin Code’s ‘Repeat Offender Program’ could increase utility bills

Austin Code’s ‘Repeat Offender Program’ could increase utility bills


UP FOOTING THE BILL…ROBERTA POTENTIAL INCREASE IN YOUR UTILITY BILL – COULD GO TOWARD FUNDING THE OVERSIGHT NEEDED TO HOLD LANDLORDS ACCOUNTABLE FOR FIXING THEIR OWN PROPERTIES. KXAN HAS TOLD YOU ABOUT THE STRUGGLES TO CRACK-DOWN ON APARTMENTS ON THE REPEAT OFFENDER LIST. MANY FAIL TO HAVE HOT WATER, OR EVEN AIR-CONDITIONING. TONIGHT KXAN INVESTIGATOR KYLIE MCGIVERN ASKS HOW MUCH OF THE BURDEN SHOULD FALL TO TAXPAYERS. JULIANA GONZALES, AUSTIN TENANT’S COUNCIL: “WE GET A NUMBER OF CALLS ABOUT THIS PROPERTY RELATED TO INTERNAL ISSUESâ|” THIS PROPERTY IS ON THE AUSTIN TENANTS COUNCIL’S RADAR FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY VIOLATIONS… JULIANA GONZALES, AUSTIN TENANT’S COUNCIL: “LOT OF TIMES WE’RE TALKING ABOUT PLUMBING LEAKS OR VENTILATION PROBLEMS, ROOFING ISSUES, THAT SORT OF THING.” BUT NOT EVERY PROPERTY THAT SHOULD BE ON THE REPEAT OFFENDER LIST IS..JULIANA GONZALES, AUSTIN TENANT’S COUNCIL: “THE CODE DEPARTMENT ISN’T ABLE TO TRACK DOWN PROPERTIES AND FOLLOW UP WITH PROPERTIES THAT SHOULD BE REGISTERED SO THAT THE PUBLIC CAN BE AWARE OF THE CODE PROBLEMS AT THE PROPERTY.” AUSTIN CODE IS REQUESTING AN ADDITIONAL 4 INSPECTORS FOR THE PROGRAM…PAUL TOMASOVIC, AUSTIN CODE: “WE ARE CURRENTLY BEHIND IN OUR INSPECTIONS. WE HAVE A POTENTIAL OF ABOUT 168 REPEAT OFFENDER PROPERTIES OUT THERE. CURRENTLY RIGHT NOW WE ONLY HAVE 78 THAT ARE REGISTERED.” THE FEES — JUST $254 A YEAR, NO MATTER HOW BIG THE PROPERTY IS. JULIANA GONZALES, AUSTIN TENANT’S COUNCIL: “AN INCREASE IN REGISTRATION FEES WOULD PUT THE BURDEN OF RUNNING THAT PROGRAM ON TO THE PROPERTY OWNERS WHO ARE CREATING THE NEED FOR THE PROGRAM.” INSTEAD, AUSTIN CODE IS ASKING TO RAISE EVERYONE’S UTILITY BILL BY 90 CENTS A MONTH… INCLUDING SARAH HIRNEISEN’S.. SARAH HIRNEISEN, MOM: “I’M JUST CONCERNED AS TO – WHAT IS THIS PROGRAM ACTUALLY DOING AND IS IT BENEFITTING MY FAMILY? AND DO WE REALLY NEED TO BE PAYING MORE FOR SOMETHING IT SOUNDS LIKE THE BUILDING OWNER SHOULD REALLY BE PAYING FOR.” MAYOR PRO TEM KATHIE TOVO: “WE DO NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE’RE HOLDING PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE.”MAYOR PRO TEM KATHIE TOVO SAYS COUNCIL WILL NEED TO CONSIDER HOW MUCH IT CAN RAISE FEES FOR LANDLORDS — WITHOUT PASSING THE COST TO TENANTS…MAYOR PRO TEM KATHIE TOVO: “WE WANT TO BE KYLIE MCGIVERN, KXAN NEWS. ROBERTAUSTIN CODE SAYS IT WANTS TO DO A FULL REVIEW OF THE “REPEAT OFFENDER PROGRAM”. BUT THAT WOULDN’T HAPPEN UNTIL AFTER THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVES A BUDGET NEXT MONTH. PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE PROPOSED BUDGET WILL BE HELD NEXT THURSDAY.ROBERTONE OF THE PLACES ON THE CITY’S REPEAT OFFENDERS LIST IS THE CROSS CREEK APARTMENTS IN NORTH AUSTIN.WE’VE BEEN REPORTING ON THE PROBLEMS THERE FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS NOW.LAST WEEK, RENTERS WERE PROTESTING- FIGHTING FOR RELIABLE HOT WATER.WE CHECKED TONIGHT AND PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE SAY THEY STILL HAVEN’T SEEN ANY PROGRESS.CROSS CREEK OWES THE CITY MORE THAN 1-POINT-5 MILLION DOLLARS IN FEES FOR CODE VIOLATIONS.TO SEE THE CITY’S “REPEAT OFFENDER LIST” AND OUR MOST RECENT KXAN INVESTIGATION — HEAD TO KXAN-DOT-COM.ROBERT:IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER… THERE ARE SEVERAL FEES AND CHARGES ON YOUR UTILITY BILL.IN ADDITION TO ELECTRICITY, WATER AND WASTEWATER…YOU’RE PAYING THE CITY OF AUSTIN FOR SEVERAL SERVICES.THERE IS A CLEAN COMMUNITY SERVICE FEE WHICH INCLUDES PAYMENTS TO THE CODE DEPARTMENT AND AUSTIN RESOURCE RECOVERY TO KEEP THE CITY CLEAN.THERE IS ALSO A DRAINAGE FEE THAT GOES TO THE WATERSHED PROTECTION DEPARTMENT TO HELP FIND SOLUTIONS TO FLOODING.AND THERE IS A TRANSPORTATION USER

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