Stiehm looks to continue work in city government with new faces, rules

Published 7:47 am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Austin residents could see a slight shift in priorities — including more emphasis on flood mitigation, cleaning up neglected properties in town and continuing to maintain the budget — when two newly elected City Council members take their seats in January.

Newly elected council members Roger Boughton and Judy Enright said they hope to bring new viewpoints and ideas on city issues to the council.

“I’m really concerned about the vacant and neglected properties all over town, especially in the northeast and southeast,” Enright said.

Tom Stiehm

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Enright said she wants to see an ordinance that requires landlords who live out of the city or state to have a manager in town that can monitor and maintain rental property.

“If we constantly monitor (rental property), that should help,” she said.

Janet Anderson said the mayor and council have recently begun meeting with the Landlord Association to discuss possible options for monitoring rental property.

“If property is being neglected seriously, it’s creating problems in the neighborhood,” Anderson said. “We need to check it out and see what we can do.”

Two of Boughton’s main concerns as he prepares to take his seat on the council in January are economic development and the budget.

Boughton said Austin needs to focus on growing existing businesses rather than attracting new ones. He also said working on further cuts to the budget, if they are needed, will be challenging.

“There’s not much left to cut,” he said. “We’re not going to cut public safety, so that leaves general administration and roads and parks maybe. It’s a tough decision … but I’m sure that working together, we’re going to come up with answers.”

Further cuts to the budget will depend on what Austin residents want, according to Ward 1 council member Jeff Austin.