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Austin Water director resigns after third water failure in four years

Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros is stepping down as director.

Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros is stepping down as head of the utility service days after water was restored to Austin residents following a boil-water notice.

City Manager Spencer Cronk sent a memo to Austin City Council stating that Meszaros, who has been in the position for 15 years, would resign Friday. "His decision to focus on family and new horizons at this time is one that I respect and support," Cronk said.

Additionally, Meszaros sent a city memo out with additional details about the boil-water notice put in place on Feb. 5 for about four days. The boil-water notice was due to a mistake made by employees at Austin Water, the director revealed on Sunday.

Three employees have since been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident. In this status, employees will not be able to work, but are not terminated.

Austin Water and the City’s Human Resources Department have started an investigation that is expected to complete in the coming weeks. No specifics about what went wrong have been revealed, but the boil-water notice was required due to turbidity levels at the Ullrich Water Plant. There has been no evidence of contaminants in the water during that time frame, the memo says.

“I share everyone's frustration and am deeply disappointed that this event occurred. Knowing how it has affected this community and our organization weighs heavily on me,” he said in the memo.

The full memo includes questions asked by city council and the public about the timeline of events and the water quality requirements and can be read here.


With deposition and trial looming, Elon Musk has offered $44B for Twitter, again

Elon Musk has proposed once again to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.

The news that Musk is offering to carry on with the $44 billion buyout was first reported by Bloomberg. Now, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Musk made the proposal in a letter to the tech giant on Monday.

The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading in Twitter stock twice Tuesday, first because of a big price move and the second time for a news event, presumably the announcement of Musk's renewed offer.

While the per share offer price on this latest proposal remains the same as the original offer, it’s unclear if Musk has made other term changes or if Twitter would reject it. According to other reports, a deal could be reached this week.

The stock closed at $52.00/share Tuesday, indicating market uncertainty around the $54.20 offer.

After Musk informed Twitter of plans to terminate the original agreement in July, Twitter sued. A trial has been expected in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17.

With the proposition of a buyout on the table again, it revives the question of whether Musk might move Twitter from San Francisco to Central Texas.

He’s done so with some of his other companies. Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County had its grand opening earlier this year and tunneling business The Boring Company moved to Pflugerville. At least two other Musk companies, SpaceX and Neuralink, have a Central Texas presence without being headquartered here.

Technology journalist Nilay Patel this afternoon voiced concerns that owning Twitter and Tesla together could be problematic for Musk, as his Tesla manufacturing facilities in Germany and China are both in countries that have disputes with Twitter over content moderation and censorship.

Telsa shares fell after the Twitter news became public, before rallying to close up, at $249.44.

Austin rents nearly double in a year and are now in the top 5 nationwide

While searching for a place to live, Austin renters will face monthly rates of nearly $3,000, a recent guide from rental marketplace Dwellsy shows.

The median rent in August this year was $2,930, a more than 86% increase since August 2021. That’s $820 more than the nationwide median asking rent in August and puts Austin just below the Bay Area, Boston and New York for large cities with the most expensive asking rent.

“Within this group, Austin, TX stands out for the highest increases in asking rent, which has nearly doubled since this time last year,” the study notes.

Outside of those large cities, however, others are seeing even higher rent spikes. Metro areas that ranked above Austin in one-year increases include those like Kansas City, MO with a 112% change in rent since last August and Tucson, AZ with a 124% change.

The data reflects large apartment communities, single-family homes and 2-6 unit buildings.