Stories by Chad Swiatecki

Monday, June 29, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Arts Commission shifts deepest funding cuts away from minority groups

Racial minority groups will be spared the deepest cuts in Cultural Arts contract funding in the next budget, if the recent recommendation of the Arts Commission is supported by City Council.On Friday the commission approved a funding matrix for the…

Thursday, June 25, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Arts Commission to decide on next year’s funding, with deep cuts for all

Arts groups that have received contracts from the city’s Cultural Arts office in recent years will likely see significant decreases next year, with some groups in line to lose more than half of the funding they received in their most…

Monday, June 22, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

New working group eyes town centers to solve affordability pressures

A new working group from four of the city’s commissions hopes to identify ways that the town center planning concept spelled out in Imagine Austin could be used to combat affordability issues driving veterans, artists and other vulnerable populations out…

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Music leaders eye city creation of Black Live Music Fund

The vice chair of the Music Commission has called for the city to create a Black Live Music Fund that would support the business interests of black musicians, possibly with money from the recently created Live Music Fund.In a recent…

Monday, June 15, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Tourism leaders see multiyear hit to tourism business and hotel tax from Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic is expected to cause a drop in local tourism and events business for at least five years, with a decline of at least 25 percent in hotel business this year and an ongoing drag on the city’s…

Monday, June 8, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

HAAM seeks city help to offset expected $1M shortfall

The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians is forecasting a $1 million shortfall by the end of 2020, which could mean cutting health care services for around 1,000 local musicians next year.Leaders of the nonprofit, which currently provides health care services…

Friday, June 5, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council boosts direct economic aid in spending plan for federal Covid-19 money

The city will move more of its federal aid for Covid-19 relief toward direct assistance for residents, with a total of $70 million now dedicated to rental relief, food aid and direct payments to individuals.City Council approved a resolution Thursday…

Thursday, June 4, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Amid criticism, Music Commission looks to revise eligibility for $1.5M grant program

Members of the Music Commission will begin pushing for the city to relax the application process for those applying for a $1.5 million grant program created to assist musicians facing hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic.On Wednesday the commission heard…

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

‘Smart cities’ advocates see Covid-19 policies as opportunity for change in Austin

As city leaders work to make progress with a number of programs quickly created to alleviate the effects of the pandemic, members of local urbanism and “smart cities” groups say the wave of public policy moves could help to advance…

Friday, May 29, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council members stake out priorities for federal Covid-19 aid ahead of vote next week

City Council will vote next week on the plan for spending federal money devoted to pandemic relief, anticipating significant changes from the initial outline presented by staff on Thursday.During a special meeting dedicated to allocating federal dollars – much of…

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…

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