Stories by Chad Swiatecki

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…

Monday, April 13, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City may begin evaluating creative spaces bond sites in June

The city expects to use real estate and economic development professionals from the Texas Facilities Commission to broker the acquisition of what may be multiple properties for local artists and musicians to use.An April 3 memo spells out the steps…

Thursday, April 9, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Music Commission backs Council proposal to unlock $4.5M to aid artists, venues

The Music Commission has asked the city to protect and replenish the recently created Live Music Fund if any of it is used to help musicians and music venues impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.At a special meeting called for Wednesday…

Monday, April 6, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Workforce housing group raising funds to assist residents in need

The nonprofit group Affordable Central Texas is looking to raise $125,000 to assist residents in the three apartment complexes owned by the Austin Housing Conservancy Fund, which was created to preserve workforce housing in the Austin area.The ACT Together Fund…

Friday, April 3, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Garza, Casar lead plan to use $15M in city reserves for Covid-19 relief programs

The city is expected to expand its contracts with social service organizations in order to begin deploying a portion of Austin’s budget reserves to residents facing financial peril due to the spread of Covid-19.Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza and Council…

Thursday, April 2, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Forecasters size up city’s lost tax revenues from sales, hotels, alcohol due to Covid-19

Early analysis shows the city will lose $1 million per month in mixed beverage taxes while the local bar and restaurant industry is shut down, with a forthcoming economic model expected to give a picture of the loss in sales…

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Expanded hotel use among city’s strategies for combating Covid-19 among homeless population

Increased availability of public hygiene facilities, emergency food access, coordination with health care organizations and expanded use of local hotels for shelter are some of the steps the city has taken to assist the homeless community in the midst of…

Monday, March 30, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Advocacy groups push for fast, centralized aid for musicians impacted by Covid-19 spread

More than a dozen local music nonprofits have signed on in support of City Council’s recent move to create aid programs to address the business impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a letter sent last week calling for quick relief…

Friday, March 27, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council wants ‘bridge aid’ for residents, businesses ahead of federal COVID-19 help

City Council directed staff to move quickly in the coming weeks to allocate direct payments and other forms of aid to residents and small businesses that have taken a severe financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.A wide-reaching item passed on…

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council vote could allow online board and commission meetings during COVID-19 quarantine

The city’s boards and commissions, which have been sidelined since mid-March because of bans on large gatherings linked to the spread of COVID-19, could get the green light to hold virtual meetings.Today City Council is expected to vote on temporarily…

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Latest Zandan poll shows more Austinites see city on ‘wrong track’

The latest edition of Austin pollster Peter Zandan’s survey of Austin residents’ attitudes on city issues shows that a growing number think the city is headed in the wrong direction.The responses, which were gathered in the first months of 2020,…

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