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Stories by Jack Craver

Thursday, May 25, 2017 by Jack Craver

City looks to clean up graffiti program

A program that was originally intended to help at-risk youth gain job skills has evolved into a city-funded graffiti clean-up service that is doing the work that should be left to private property owners. “It’s a great program and we…

Monday, May 22, 2017 by Jack Craver

Conflict of interest questions delay Central Health board appointment

City Council postponed a decision on appointing a new member to the Central Health Board of Managers amid concerns over diversity and potential conflicts of interest. The nine-member board of managers oversees the public health authority, which provides a variety…

Monday, May 22, 2017 by Jack Craver

City Council considers tax swap with school district

City Council is exploring a number of ways the city of Austin can lend a hand to the Austin Independent School District, which will forfeit $406 million this year to the state under Texas’ “recapture” policy. At a work session…

Friday, May 19, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council upholds demolition of two West Campus properties

After waiting nearly 400 days, a property owner in the West Campus neighborhood will be able to demolish two buildings that have been held up by neighbors seeking to get them classified as historic landmarks. City Council voted narrowly Thursday…

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council approves ‘Smart Trips’ transit outreach

City Council voted Thursday to approve a contract with a Portland-based company to operate the “Smart Trips” program, which aims to get more people in the urban core to opt for public transit, bikes and walking over driving. Before voting…

Friday, May 5, 2017 by Jack Craver

Downtown change: new rail station, more two-way traffic

In two votes Thursday, City Council approved funding to help the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority build a new downtown rail station and public plaza to serve the Red Line and gave the OK to turn East Fifth Street into a…

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council to reconsider curfew for kids

Members of City Council are exploring changes to a 27-year-old ordinance aimed at keeping kids off the streets at night and during school hours. Currently, those under age 17 who are caught wandering about unaccompanied during school days from 9…

Friday, April 28, 2017 by Jack Craver

Human Rights Commission ponders CodeNEXT

The city’s Human Rights Commission is taking a look at CodeNEXT in an attempt to understand the implications of the controversial overhaul of Austin’s land development code on vulnerable populations. On Monday, the commission, which last year urged City Council…

Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Jack Craver

What does CodeNEXT mean for Austin parks?

Parks advocates hope that the ongoing effort to overhaul the city’s land development code will make it easier to develop parks of all kinds throughout Austin. On Tuesday night, the Parks and Recreation Board voted to recommend three changes to…

Monday, April 24, 2017 by Jack Craver

Troxclair gets meter-reading contract postponed

How accurate are the water meters that determine how much Austinites pay their city-owned utility each month? Past allegations of frequent misreadings came up again at City Council Thursday, when Council Member Ellen Troxclair suggested that the city is not…

Friday, April 21, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council approves Smart Trips program

City Council on Thursday approved the second iteration of Smart Trips, an education and outreach program aimed at getting people in Central Austin out of their cars and onto sidewalks, bikes and buses. The first iteration took place between April…

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by Jack Craver

CodeNEXT maps unveiled

The consultants hired to craft a new land-use code for the city of Austin have finally unveiled maps showing what their proposed new system of zoning would look like. But as City Council begins its examination of the proposed CodeNEXT…

Friday, April 14, 2017 by Jack Craver

At last, City Council approves Austin Oaks PUD

After just over two hours of debate Thursday night, City Council gave its final approval for Austin Oaks, the controversial planned unit development on 31 acres of land at the corner of MoPac and Spicewood Springs Rd. The development was…

Thursday, April 13, 2017 by Jack Craver

Travis County leaders hope to spread social service dollars across region

As rising housing prices force low-income people to flee the urban core in search of cheaper living, Travis County leaders worry about the county’s ability to provide services to the area’s neediest residents in an era of steep federal and…

Monday, April 10, 2017 by Jack Craver

Travis tax appraisers tout new techniques for assessing property values

The Travis Central Appraisal District is figuring out the values of properties faster and more accurately, all while fighting off a record number of protests and lawsuits from taxpayers challenging their appraisals, agency leaders told the Travis County Commissioners Court…

Friday, April 7, 2017 by Jack Craver

Code Department proposes higher fines for violations

Code violators will pay bigger fines for a number of offenses under a new ordinance that City Council is poised to approve. Under the proposed ordinance drafted by the Code Department, the minimum fine for a first offense related to…

Thursday, April 6, 2017 by Jack Craver

Austin Police tout results of homelessness engagement program

As part of a new initiative to combat homelessness, a small group of cops, mental health specialists and medical personnel have been taking to the streets to engage directly with Austin’s homeless. The Homeless Outreach Street Team has had a…

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 by Jack Craver

County commissioners unhappy with vacation policy proposal

The Travis County Commissioners Court isn’t making nearly the progress it hoped on reforming vacation policy for county employees. Currently, county law enforcement personnel are allowed to accrue unlimited vacation, while civilian employees are allowed to accrue only up to…

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 by Jack Craver

Safety commissioners voice concerns about forensic officer’s firing

Slowly but surely, reported Austin Police Department officials at a recent meeting of the Public Safety Commission, the city of Austin is reducing its backlog of DNA evidence. The total backlog has dropped from roughly 4,500 batches in June to…

Friday, March 31, 2017 by Jack Craver

Austin Energy defends demand charge for small biz

Shudde Fath, the legendary advocate for ratepayers, wants Austin Energy to change the way it charges certain small businesses for their electricity. In a January letter to Mayor Steve Adler and City Council members, the longtime member of the Electric…

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