Stories by Jack Craver

Monday, June 10, 2019 by Jack Craver

Why does one company get all of Travis County’s electronic monitoring business?

In recent years, Travis County has seen an increase in the number of people released from jail on bail on condition that they wear some type of monitoring device, whether it tracks their location or detects the presence of alcohol.This…

Thursday, June 6, 2019 by Jack Craver

County looks at increasing minimum wage

Generally, the city of Austin and Travis County view each other as partners, not competitors. However, when it comes to attracting and retaining talented employees, the two can’t help but compete.That’s why the Travis County Human Resources Department periodically analyzes…

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County commissioners endorse preserving Palm School

Supporters of preserving the Palm School won a partial victory Tuesday when the Travis County Commissioners Court voted unanimously in favor of restrictions that will prevent the historic building from being demolished by a future landowner.However, the issue of who…

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County sees big increase in electronic monitoring

Travis County has seen its incarcerated population drop dramatically in recent years, due in large part to policy changes aimed at keeping low-level drug offenders out of jail.As of April 2019, the average daily jail population stood at 2,143, a…

Monday, June 3, 2019 by Jack Craver

Cap Metro to debut new ride-hailing service in Manor

On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved funding a new ride-hailing project in Manor run by Capital Metro. The service, called Pickup, aims to provide residents of Austin’s fastest-growing suburb an alternative to driving that is more reliable…

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County contemplates small wins, big losses at Legislature

Every week while the state Legislature is in session, Travis County’s chief lobbyist, Deece Eckstein, briefs members of the Commissioners Court on the bills that might affect the county. In recent months, the weekly briefing has usually been bleak, but…

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County offers free bus rides to jurors

In a city as car-dependent as Austin, you might think a free parking spot would be the least Travis County could offer people traveling downtown to perform jury service.And yet, the Travis County website makes clear that those performing that…

Thursday, May 23, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County to establish first ‘strategic plan’

The Travis County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to begin formulating a long-range strategic plan to guide county policies and budgeting practices for years to come.The executives in charge of the county’s eight major departments have put in place strategic plans…

Friday, May 17, 2019 by Jack Craver

Many parents at risk of losing their children look to Travis County’s Office of Parental Representation

Low-income criminal defendants aren’t the only people Travis County is required to provide with legal representation. Parents at risk of losing custody of their children are also afforded assistance at no cost from the county Office of Parental Representation.OPR, which…

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Jack Craver

More than just a toll roads agency: CTRMA touts transit, bike and walking infrastructure

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s ability to build new toll roads may be temporarily stymied by opposition from state leaders, but the agency is keeping busy with major ongoing projects.While the great majority of its spending is on expanding…

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County leaders urge vigilance on flooding

Heavy rains over the past two weeks have not resulted in major residential flooding, but at least one death appears to be linked to flooding and government officials are urging residents to avoid certain waterways and to be on high…

Monday, May 13, 2019 by Jack Craver

Austin Monitor Radio: John Riedie

Austin Monitor reporter Jack Craver chats with John Riedie, CEO of the Austin Creative Alliance, to discuss the challenges the arts economy faces in Austin and why Riedie opposes plans to fund an expansion of the convention center. Austin Monitor Radio…

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by Jack Craver

Commissioners Court makes move on public defender’s office

Travis County took a crucial step toward creating a public defender’s office when the Commissioners Court voted 4-1 Tuesday to submit an application for state funding to set one up.The commissioners made the move after months of debate among defense…

Monday, May 6, 2019 by Jack Craver

County leaders denounce anti-lobbying proposal

In addition to imposing strict constraints on local governments’ ability to raise property tax revenue, Republicans at the state Legislature want to limit how those governments can spend their tax dollars.A number of bills have been filed this session that…

Thursday, May 2, 2019 by Jack Craver

Central Health considers how to raise awareness of its existence

With limited funds and the threat of revenue restrictions from the state, Central Health, Travis County’s public hospital district, is grappling with how to make the best use of its resources.At a town hall forum Monday at its headquarters on…

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 by Jack Craver

Commissioners Court punts on affordable housing project

The Travis County Commissioners Court declined to take action on a proposed affordable housing project in eastern Travis County Tuesday. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said the court would take up the matter at next week’s meeting, without hinting at how…

Thursday, April 25, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County braces for lean times

Travis County commissioners spent a good chunk of Tuesday morning fuming over state legislation targeting local control, notably a proposal that will sharply limit the ability of local governments to raise property tax revenue.A bill recently approved by the state…

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 by Jack Craver

Revenue caps loom over discussion of public defender’s office

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt warmly welcomed a proposal to establish a county public defender’s office, saying it was imperative that Travis County join the vast majority of major urban jurisdictions in providing attorneys to represent criminal defendants who can’t…

Monday, April 1, 2019 by Jack Craver

A big problem for low-income homeowners: septic tanks

For the most part, living in rural Travis County is cheaper than living in the city of Austin. Land values, property taxes and rents are all significantly lower. Sewage, however, often costs significantly more.The problems and costs associated with aging…

Thursday, March 28, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County already has a public defender’s office – for juveniles

Amid the contentious public debate over the creation of a public defender’s office in Travis County is an oft-neglected fact: Travis County already has a public defender’s office. It just doesn’t serve adults.The Travis County Juvenile Public Defender, founded in…

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