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Stories by Jack Craver

Friday, September 22, 2017 by Jack Craver

Austin risking federal sanctions over ozone levels

Despite a rapidly rising population, Austin’s air is significantly less polluted than it was 20 years ago.In a presentation to the Electric Utility Commission on Monday, Andrew Hoekzema, director of regional services at the Capital Area Council of Governments, said…

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by Jack Craver

How much do Council members spend on travel?

Late last Wednesday, as City Council neared the end of its wrangling over the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget, Council Member Ellen Troxclair made what she framed as a modest request of her colleagues.The budget presented by staff included a $6,000…

Thursday, September 14, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council approves $3.9 billion budget

Twelve hours after kicking off its final day of budget deliberations, City Council gave approval to a roughly $3.9 billion budget, including approximately $1 billion of General Fund spending.Council approved a 7.9 percent tax rate increase, just below the 8…

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council faces hard choices on final budget day

City Council went through another meandering, confusing and at times tense all-day budget discussion Tuesday and still has tough decisions left to make today, when it is scheduled to give final approval to the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 budget.The Council debate…

Monday, September 11, 2017 by Jack Craver

Austin explores a new approach to helping the homeless

Austin leaders are considering whether to try out a simple strategy for helping the homeless: give them jobs.The idea is based on a program in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that has gained national attention and been credited with connecting homeless people…

Friday, September 8, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council members concerned about fees for ADUs

Council Member Delia Garza is worried that proposed increases in building fees are going to hit middle-income homeowners who are seeking to build accessory dwelling units the hardest.At a Thursday City Council meeting over the proposed budget for the upcoming…

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 by Jack Craver

Austin sales tax revenue lower than expected

City Council has known for months that it would struggle to come up with the money needed to cover many of the programs its members hope to put in place in the coming year. However, the most recent data on…

Friday, September 1, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council supports reducing HOT funds for convention center, visitors bureau

After a lengthy public hearing featuring scores of public speakers on all sides of the issue, City Council unanimously adopted a resolution Thursday night in support of diverting millions of dollars generated by hotel occupancy taxes from the Austin Convention…

Friday, September 1, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council delves into liquor politics

A proposed liquor store in Northwest Austin still faces long odds due to intense opposition from surrounding neighbors, but it won a key procedural victory Thursday when City Council voted to give the property owner another chance to make his…

Thursday, August 31, 2017 by Jack Craver

Housing advocates want a bigger housing bond

With Austin facing an affordable housing crisis, city leaders are hoping that taxpayers will OK tens of millions of dollars to fund the construction of low-cost apartments and houses as well as repairs to homes for Austin’s low-income and working-class…

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council looks to Waller Creek TIF for homeless funds

City Council is looking to tax increment financing, a tool designed to address urban blight, as a way to address homelessness in downtown Austin.Council is considering extending the life of the Waller Creek Tax Increment Financing Reinvestment Zone for an…

Friday, August 25, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council considers new affordable housing app

As Austin faces a dire shortage of housing for its poor and working-class population, City Council is looking for every way to get developers to build units that rent at well below market rate.In many cases, developers offer to provide…

Thursday, August 24, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council debates best use of HOT dollars

Some City Council members are clearly more convinced of the role that the Austin Convention Center plays in driving the city’s tourism industry and economy than others.The day after several Council members signaled support for a proposal by Council Member…

Friday, August 18, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council approves ambitious renewable energy goals

City Council overwhelmingly approved a plan Thursday that sets big goals for Austin Energy, the municipally owned electric utility, to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels over the next decade.The update to the Austin Energy Resource, Generation and Climate Protection…

Thursday, August 17, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council to tackle two displacement resolutions today

While Mayor Steve Adler is touting a new task force on gentrification as a fresh opportunity to come up with ideas to address economic displacement, some of his City Council colleagues stress that it will only be a worthwhile effort…

Thursday, August 17, 2017 by Jack Craver

City employees likely to see raise in 2018

Good news for city employees: City staff wants to give them a raise, and some members of City Council are interested in pushing for an even bigger pay hike.On Wednesday, the city’s human resources director told Council members that she…

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by Jack Craver

Report shows compensation for nonprofit leaders

A report provided by city staff sheds light on how much top executives of Austin nonprofits get paid.The document was prepared in response to a budget question submitted by Council Member Ora Houston, who wanted to know how much the…

Friday, August 11, 2017 by Jack Craver

Environmentalists swarm City Hall in push for carbon-free electricity

In what was clearly the largest turnout for a City Council meeting yet this year, hundreds of activists showed up at City Hall Thursday night to speak out on Austin Energy’s proposed update to its resource plan.Following a rally in…

Thursday, August 10, 2017 by Jack Craver

Ethics panel reluctantly approves final hearing for former police monitor

The city’s Ethics Review Commission voted Wednesday to move to a final hearing over whether former police monitor Margo Frasier violated city ordinance by using her city computer for activity related to a private consulting business she ran.The commission voted…

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 by Jack Craver

Unhappy with pools plan, Council members push for a new task force

Unsatisfied with an Aquatic Master Plan that they say endangers many of Austin’s most beloved pools, some City Council members are pushing for a new pools task force to explore ways the city could raise more money to preserve its…

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