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City Council Preview: Flipping the Switch on Austin Energy Rates, Short-Term Rental Regulations

Paulo Martins for KUT News

Two contentious public hearings should bring dozens of speakers to Austin City Hall today – and stretch out what might otherwise be an unremarkable meeting into an all-night affair.

First, the council is scheduled to hear comments on an ordinance about short term rentals. Austin’s Planning Commission recently proposed a suite of new regulations for owners of short-term rental homes, with one set of rules for Austinites sporadically renting out their homes for events like South by Southwest, and stricter guidelines for homes that are not owner-occupied and are rented out more often.

Secondly, the council is also holding a public hearing on proposed electric rate increases for Austin Energy customers.

Last week, council members agreed on a plan that would break the increases into five tiers – charging a higher rate for more electricity used. The proposal would raise rates by about seven percent over five years.

Austin Energy says the rate increase is necessary because the utility is low on funds.

The public hearing portion of the meeting is scheduled to start no earlier than 4 p.m. at City Hall. Council members could also vote on these items today. You can watch the meeting online, beginning at 10 a.m.

For a look at what else is on the council agenda, take a look at our council work session write-up from earlier this week.

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.
Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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