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AM Update: More Energy Rate Talks, Perry on Powers, Preserving Bastrop History After the Wildfires

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Electric lines photo by Natasha Lee for KUT News; Perry photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News; Bastrop photo by KUT News
The City Council continues to discuss Austin Energy rates; Gov. Rick Perry comments on rumors about Bill Powers; and a grant will look at how wildfires affected historic structures in Bastrop State Park.

Beginning of the End of Austin Energy Rate Hike Discussion?

The Austin City Council is meeting again today to talk about Austin Energy rates.

On Monday, three council members proposed a new plan for raising rates that they hope will bring a conclusion on the topic. Their plan would increase residential rates in five tiers based on how much energy is used. It would also adjust the proposed rate hikes for churches and schools.

The City Council has held 10 work sessions on Austin Energy rates since March 7. Members of the council have said they expect to have a final decision by late May or early June.

Perry Brushes Off Powers Firing Rumors

Governor Rick Perry says he agrees with the University of Texas Board of Regents’ decision to freeze undergraduate tuition at UT-Austin for two years.

It was a move that UT-Austin President Bill Powers was against. And that started rumors that Powers’ job may be in jeopardy.

Perry isn’t taking a position on the rumors. He says he’s not focused on whether Powers is doing a good job.

“That’s for the Board of Regents to make a decision on. I’ve got a state to oversee. I don’t spend all of my time on one institution of higher learning,” said Perry.

The UT system chancellor has denied the rumor that he was asked to fire Powers.

Study to Look at Historic Structures Damaged in Bastrop State Park

Texas Parks and Wildlife plans to use a $25,000 grant from the National Park Service to study how historic structures in Bastrop State Park were affected by last year’s wildfires.

The park is home to several historic structures that were built in the 1930s and 1940s as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corp.

Fire crews were able to save most of the structures from burning down. But the buildings were still exposed to flames and smoke that could continue to do damage for years to come.

Parks and Wildlife officials hope the study will help fire crews and caretakers better understand how to protect historic structures from wildfire damage.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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