BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 1, 2019)



Travis County adopts updated flood plain standards following release of Atlas 14 study (Community Impact Austin)

Travis County commissioners voted by consent motion to adopt updated flood plain standards for land development, taking into consideration a new federal study that shows more intense rainfall has exacerbated the threat of flooding in Central Texas.

The study, called Atlas 14, was conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is the first of its kind since 1961. Using updated rainfall intensity data, the NOAA has redefined critical storm events.

Previously, a 100-year storm in Travis County would consist of 10 inches of rain in 24 hours. Using the updated data, a 100-year-storm now consists of 13 inches in the same period.

Despite the release of this study, it will take years for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to update its flood insurance rate maps, according to a summary prepared by Stacey Scheffel, flood plain administrator for Travis County… (LINK TO STORY)

Family that has run Butler Pitch & Putt for 70 years on outs with city (Austin American-Statesman)

In 1949, John Douglas Kinser first designed the small golf course known as the Butler Park Pitch & Putt. His family has run the course ever since and thought it was headed toward a 70th consecutive year of business as usual at the nine-hole course just south of Lady Bird Lake.

Instead, the course’s operator, Lee Kinser — John Douglas’ niece-in-law — has found herself locked out of competitive contract negotiations to operate the course. The city of Austin disqualified her from consideration, Kinser told the American-Statesman on Tuesday, for failing to sign a required form.

“This was a technical mistake, and I don’t think it is fair to reject my proposal after being here for 70 years for one omitted signature,” Kinser said.

City documents show three companies, including Kinser’s, submitted bids to run the small par-3 course tucked away just east of South Lamar Boulevard between Barton Springs Road and Riverside Drive. However, her company was not considered in final evaluations… (LINK TO STORY)

See also:

A family fights to keep downtown Austin golf course (KXAN)

Watson drops taxes from proposed Muny district’s powers (Austin American-Statesman)

The 2018 Austin City Limits Festival pumped more than $264 million into the Austin economy, according to data released Monday by festival organizers and the city. That represents an increase of more than $10 million in impact created by the 2017 edition of the festival that runs for two weekends each October in Zilker Park.

The announcement came during a press conference at Edward Rendon Metro Park where C3 Presents, the Austin-based festival promoter that launched the festival in 2002, presented a check for over $5 million to the Austin Parks Foundation. The money will be used in coordination with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to fund improvements at parks throughout the city.

To date C3 has donated more than $35 million for parks improvements throughout the city, in addition to paying for reconstruction and installation of an irrigation system for the Zilker Park Great Lawn… (LINK TO STORY)

DAA launches annual report and new nonprofit (Austin Monitor)

Amidst a multitude of rosy economic statistics on Tuesday, the Downtown Austin Alliance released its first State of Downtown report at the inaugural Future of Downtown event. The report seeks to be “a market snapshot illustrating the central role downtown plays as Austin’s economic, governmental and cultural center.”

The taxable property value for downtown property has risen to $13 billion as of 2018. Mayor Steve Adler told the Austin Monitor that while the property represents only one half of 1 percent of the city’s land area, it accounts for 10 percent of Austin’s total assessed value.

According to the report, downtown generates “20 times more tax revenue than the city average on a per acre basis.” In addition, the report notes that downtown’s share of Austin’s property value “has doubled in the last 10 years, reinforcing its economic importance to the region.”… (LINK TO STORY)


Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says Senate won't pass bill to lower penalties for marijuana (Texas Tribune)

Less than 24 hours after the Texas House gave preliminary approval to a bill reducing the criminal penalties for Texans found to possess small amounts of marijuana, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared the measure dead in the Senate.

House Bill 63 by state Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, would lower possession of 1 ounce or less from a Class B to a Class C misdemeanor, which is the same classification as a traffic ticket. Those found to possess 2 ounces or less or marijuana but more than 1 ounce would be charged with a Class B misdemeanor — punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, jail time or both… (LINK TO STORY)

Texas is leading fundraising state for Donald Trump’s re-election so far (Houston Chronicle)

President Donald Trump’s frequent visits to Texas appear to be paying off in contributions for his re-election campaign. Texans are responsible for at least $5.7 million of the $97 million Trump has raised for his re-election, according to donations tracked by the Federal Election Commission — more money than Trump has raised in any other state.

The second-best Trump state was California, which delivered $5.3 million in campaign donations. And those donation totals don’t include money raised after March 31. Earlier this month, Trump held a pair of fundraisers in Texas that Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said were expected to bring in another $6 million. That money won’t be reported to the FEC until June… (LINK TO STORY)

Not giving up, embattled Texas Secretary of State David Whitley asks Senate Dems for another chance (Dallas Morning News)

Acting Secretary of State David Whitley, whose confirmation has been stalled in the Texas Senate after a bungled advisory from his office questioned the citizenship of nearly 100,000 voters, has asked to meet with Senate Democrats following a settlement Friday that rescinded the advisory.

Sen. José Rodriguez, an El Paso Democrat who leads the chamber's Democratic caucus, said he was polling the members to see if anyone objected to Whitley attending their Tuesday meeting. "Obviously, he wants to talk about the settlement agreement," Rodriguez said. "For me, it doesn't change anything." In a written statement, the secretary of state's office said Whitley wants to discuss the settlement and the future maintenance of Texas' voter registration list… (LINK TO STORY)


Trump sues banks to stop them from complying with House subpoenas (New York Times)

President Donald Trump, his three eldest children and his private company filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Deutsche Bank and Capital One, in a bid to prevent the banks from responding to congressional subpoenas.

In the suit, filed in the federal courthouse in Manhattan in New York City, the president and his family members argue that the Democrat-controlled House committee leaders who issued subpoenas engaged in a broad overreach. On April 15, the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services Committees issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank, a longtime lender to Trump’s real estate company, as well as to a range of other firms and financial institutions… (LINK TO STORY)


Episode 44: Austin 5G Update with Bob Digneo, Assistant VP, External and Regulatory Affairs at AT&T

On today’s episode Bingham Group Senior Consultant Paul Saldaña, and CEO A.J. Bingham update on discussions around Austin’s Palm School.

Located at Cesar Chavez and I-35, Palm School was Austin’s second elementary school, and served generations of students from the city’s Mexican-American community during its 84 years.

Travis County is considering whether to put the building up for sale or a long-term lease, and there are some who don't want its cultural history gone.

Check out Episode 44 here!

The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.


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