Austin City Council analyzes how Austin Energy spends money

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by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 21 at 10:30 PM

AUSTIN -- The Austin City Council and Austin Energy officials continue looking at a the utility's controversial rate hike proposal. Wednesday they're looking at how the city spends the money the city-owned utility sends their way.

The City is holding one of more than a dozen workshops involving Austin Energy.

Austin Energy is asking for a $137 million rate increase. Numbers for 2010 show the utility gives back to the city in excess of $150 million for social services and other programs

Some argue, "Why not cut or streamline some of the funding Austin Energy gives back to the city to lessen the amount of the rate increase?"

"I see the argument," Austin resident Gus Pena said. "From the community's perspective, the need is great. Social service agencies that need to help out the youth and senior citizens and the homeless, but the issue is some funding is not being spent wisely and prudently. For example -- $800,000 for a mural wall and $2 million for outside legal help from independent attorneys -- for what?"

KVUE's Jim Bergamo will have more reaction from residents and City staff Wednesday night on KVUE News Nightbeat at 10 p.m.

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