In the swirl of protests over police brutality in Austin in the last two weeks, the lightning rod in the growing demand for change is Police Chief Brian Manley.
Will he stay? Or will he go?
While the question is easily posed in those black-and-white terms, the answer—which can be influenced by the Austin City Council but only wrought by City Manager Spencer Cronk—is more nuanced.
It is also complicated by the fact that Manley, if he goes, will need to be replaced at some point either from within the embattled department, or from an outside search that could take months.
On Thursday, the City Council is expected to approve items that, among other things, direct Cronk to submit a rewrite of the department's budget, limit or ban the use of force by Austin police, and state "no confidence" in the leadership.
The answer to what lies ahead for Manley will likely come in the soon-to-immediate future, if the strong opinions of the council—which has signaled unanimous support for sweeping change, including a no-confidence vote in "current Austin Police Department leadership"—is any indicator.
"He [Cronk] has a range of options," said City Council Member Ann Kitchen. "I'm not going to speculate. That's his [Cronk's] job, and I'm going to hold him responsible for it. And I expect that to be done shortly."
There are several things on the table for Manley's future, according to the Texas Local Government Code and city officials.
- He could be demoted to chief of staff, his former position before he became chief in 2018. Cronk alone has the authority to remove him from office, but without official accusation of a violation, Manley has the right to reclaim his old job or one of similar rank and keep his current seniority.
- He could be reassigned to another position similar in rank to his previous position.
- Cronk, who told the Austin American-Statesman last week that he still has confidence in "Manley's commitment to the community," could put Manly on probation and lay out a set of goals to achieve to keep his job.
- Manley could resign or choose to retire, allowing him to collect retirement benefits earned over three decades working for Austin police.
- Manley could be accused of an official violation of policy and fired, after which he could use the appeals process to try and win back his job. Neither the Office of Police Oversight nor Cronk's office has announced any investigations into the type of misconduct that could lead to the outright firing of the chief, a city spokesman said.
- Or nothing could change.
Cronk, who spent Wednesday in City Council meetings over the $10 billion Project Connect vote, told Austonia through a spokesman that he is listening closely to the council and the community and wants to address their desire for "the kinds of changes that these times demand."
"He does very much want to acknowledge that he's listening, he's aware of the conversations in the community, and he's fully committed to do what is necessary," said David Green, media relations manager for the City of Austin. "He's weighing all of this very heavily and being deliberative about it."
Austin police union President Ken Casaday said he would like to see a delay in Thursday's votes. Before the protests, his group gave Manley a list of proposed changes "in the way the department is run" that they believe will address concerns.
"We think Chief Manley deserves time to respond to our requests due to the events that have happened over the last couple of weeks," he said, declining to specify the proposals. "We're trying to give him the respect he's due for serving the community for 30 years."
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So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
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