Stories by Chad Swiatecki

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Hotel taxes forecast to fall by $36M, leading to expected deficit in city arts funding

With the city projecting a $36 million decrease in Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue because of lower hotel bookings due to the Covid-19 pandemic, arts funding for the current budget year is expected to see a $1.5 million shortfall.The Arts Commission…

Friday, May 22, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council pushes for economic development body to lead purchase, preservation of venue spaces

City Council is pushing staff to act this summer to create an economic development corporation that could be used to preserve and acquire real estate properties to be used for cultural arts events and meeting space.That body, possibly in tandem…

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Ahead of Abbott’s reopening, Council members urge state to address Covid-19 in East Austin

Ahead of Gov. Greg Abbott’s moves on Monday to allow more Texas businesses to reopen and cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, four members of City Council representing East Austin urged the state to do more to protect vulnerable communities from…

Monday, May 18, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Tech leaders look at access, diversity demands caused by Covid-19

With the Covid-19 pandemic reshaping much of the world economy, leaders in the Austin technology industry are looking at how startups and established companies should change the way they hire and interact with communities, especially around the issue of diversity…

Friday, May 15, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City to pursue strategy protecting at-risk workers from Covid-19 threat

The city is expected to begin assembling a strategy to limit the spread of Covid-19 among at-risk workers with high rates of contact with the public, including those in jobs that have restarted following state government moves to reopen the…

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Red River district pushes city to commit $35M to purchase venue properties

Leaders from the cluster of live music venues along Red River Street have asked the city to dedicate $35 million to purchase venue properties in the area, as part of a larger menu of programs and spending to preserve those…

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council seeks plan to form conservation corps using federal Covid-19 aid

The city intends to use some of its federal Covid-19 relief money to create an update of the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps that was dedicated to job creation that preserved and enhanced the country’s natural resources.City Council voted unanimously…

Monday, May 11, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Committee IDs employment, accessibility among priorities for next budget

The city board overseeing services for the disabled wants funding for better accessibility at City Hall, improved street crossings and more employment opportunities included in the next city budget.Last week the Mayor’s Committee for People With Disabilities moved forward with…

Friday, May 8, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council wants plan for how to spend $170M in federal aid for Covid-19 relief

Later this month City Council will get the first estimate of how the city can best use just over $170 million in federal funds dedicated to relief from the Covid-19 pandemic.As part of the consent agenda Thursday, Council approved a…

Thursday, May 7, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City taking steps toward $1,000 grants for musicians impacted by Covid-19

The city is preparing to give grants of up to $1,000 to musicians who have lost income and are facing severe economic hardships due to the shutdown of music-related businesses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.At Wednesday’s meeting of…

Monday, May 4, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Loan forgiveness, grants highlight recommendations to Council for economic recovery

The Economic Prosperity Commission has given City Council a list of suggested new programs and financial practices that are designed to assist low-income residents and small businesses most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.At last week’s meeting the commission voted 8-0…

Friday, May 1, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council looks to assemble blueprint for federal Covid-19 assistance dollars

City Council is expected to lay down the guidelines next week for how to use money handed over from the federal government to assist with prevention and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.Council Member Ann Kitchen is among the city leaders…

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Downtown survey shows small window for many businesses to reopen and recover

A large majority of business storefronts in downtown Austin are at risk of closure in the next two to three months without significant increases in commercial activity, according to a new study on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.The Downtown…

Monday, April 27, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Survey seeks data on full impact of Covid-19 on city’s music economy

The city’s major music nonprofits have partnered with a national consulting firm to conduct a survey of the economic and some health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on Austin’s music community.The survey from Music Cities Together, which is also being…

Friday, April 24, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council approves $2.5 million in aid to musicians, artists impacted by Covid-19

A pair of actions taken Thursday by City Council will direct $2.5 million toward financial assistance for local musicians and other creatives facing substantial losses of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.An ordinance change passed on the consent agenda calls…

Thursday, April 23, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City rolls out bridge loan program to assist businesses impacted by Covid-19

Small businesses now have another option for financial assistance in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the form of a new loan program from the city that will provide up to $35,000 per recipient.On Wednesday the city announced the…

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City braces for cuts to cultural arts funding, citing likely drastic hotel tax drop

The city has advised local artists and cultural contractors to hold off on submitting proposals for the next cycle of Cultural Arts project funding because of a likely drastic cut in arts money due to the impact of the Covid-19…

Monday, April 20, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council pushes for financing, streamlined planning to encourage accessory dwellings

A resolution passed by City Council earlier this month may make it easier and less expensive for homeowners to construct accessory dwelling units on their property.City staff has been instructed to look for funding to provide low-cost loans to residents…

Friday, April 17, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Health care, religious leaders join call to reduce jail population amid Covid-19 threat

Leaders in the local health care and religious communities have forwarded a pair of letters to city and county officials calling for early release of more prisoners from the Travis County jail in hopes of preventing the spread of Covid-19…

Thursday, April 16, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City, chamber, downtown alliance working to assist small businesses amid Covid-19 restrictions

With many businesses either closed or operating with restrictions caused by the Covid-19 health crisis, the Downtown Austin Alliance and Austin Chamber are gathering data from local business owners about the types of assistance they’ll need to stay open for…

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