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Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism
 

Stories by Emma Freer

Notley/Monitor Poll: Lack of affordability tops list of Austin’s most pressing issues

Austinites across demographic groups and the political spectrum find common ground when identifying the city’s most pressing issue. Nearly 60 percent chose lack of affordability, according to a June survey of 507 likely voters commissioned by Notley and conducted by…

City, police union prep for ‘more substantial' meetings as labor contract nears expiration

With three months until the current labor agreement expires, the city of Austin and the Austin Police Association are making progress toward a new contract that balances the city’s goals of increased transparency and oversight with the union’s goals of…

City, police union tussle over increased oversight, officers’ rights

The city of Austin has proposed changes to its labor contract with the Austin Police Association that its bargaining team said would improve the transparency of administrative investigations and other disciplinary decisions involving police officers. The police union’s bargaining team…

Police union proposes pay raises of up to 20% as part of contract negotiation

The Austin Police Association has proposed raises of up to 20 percent over four years as part of its ongoing labor contract negotiation with the city, citing the police department’s long-standing staffing shortages as well as rising housing costs and…

Public safety departments present budget proposals to Public Safety Commission

Austin’s public safety departments – police, fire and EMS – are preparing for the annual budget process in July and August by forecasting budgets and drafting wish lists, all of which include additional funding to fill vacant positions. Meanwhile, a…

APD pushes for return of license plate readers, nixed during 2020 police budget cuts

The Austin Police Department advocated for the reinstatement of automated license plate readers, or ALPRs, during a May 23 presentation to the city’s Public Safety Committee, reigniting long-standing concerns about privacy and data sharing among law enforcement agencies.  City Council…

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City braces for imminent drought restrictions – and stiffer penalties for violators

The city of Austin likely will enter the first stage of its drought response plan later this month or next, triggering stricter restrictions and testing out recently updated penalties for customers who violate the rules.  Robert Goode, Austin Water’s interim…

City provides update on Covid-19 funding, plan for ‘maximizing’ impact

The city of Austin spent $535.6 million related to Covid-19 through Dec. 31, 2021, according to a May 6 memo from Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo to Mayor Steve Adler and City Council members.  About 53 percent of those costs…

City, police union negotiate new labor contract after eventful five years

The city of Austin and the Austin Police Association met for their sixth day of negotiations Monday as they work toward a new labor contract. The city’s bargaining team proposed changes to the contract’s drug-testing and promotion provisions, citing recommendations from…

Austin Energy’s proposed rate increase would hit lower-use residential customers hardest

Austin Energy recently launched a public input process to collect feedback on a proposal to increase its base rates by 7.6 percent. The city-owned utility says the price hike is necessary to balance a $48 million shortfall between its costs…

Landlord misinterpretation prompts proposed amendment to help displaced renters

District 4 Council Member Chito Vela’s staff recently learned that renters in his Northeast Austin district were denied protections afforded to them under the Tenant Relocation Ordinance. Passed in 2016, the law established notification requirements for anyone seeking demolition permits,…

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