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Stories by Jack Craver

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council to vote on extending paid sick leave to all city employees

Two weeks after approving an ordinance that will require private employers to provide paid sick leave, City Council is scheduled to vote on a similar measure to extend the same benefit to all city employees, including its many temporary workers.Throughout…

Friday, February 23, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council tries ‘outcome-based’ budgeting

Last year, City Council talked about the idea of doing “outcome-based” budgeting. 2018 is the first year that it is giving it a try.The idea is based on six strategic outcomes that Council developed last year: Having economic opportunities and…

Thursday, February 22, 2018 by Jack Craver

Newest CodeNEXT draft gets criticism from all sides

CodeNEXT has plenty of critics, but they’re far from united in their criticism.The third draft of the proposed Land Development Code is being attacked from both sides of the perennial debate over growth. Neighborhood preservationists say it will lead to…

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 by Jack Craver

Homelessness action report calls for doubling spending

If Austin wants to get serious about ending homelessness, it needs to spend about twice as much on the variety of programs that currently serve the more than 2,000 people living on the streets.That’s according to an action plan endorsed…

Friday, February 16, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council approves paid sick leave ordinance

Shortly after midnight on Friday, Austin became the first city in the South to require employers to provide workers with paid sick leave.The ordinance, authored largely by City Council Member Greg Casar, will require businesses and nonprofits to provide employees…

Friday, February 16, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council approves Champion tract deal

By a one-vote margin, City Council on Thursday gave its blessing to the controversial Champion development.Mayor Steve Adler, along with Council members Greg Casar, Pio Renteria, Delia Garza, Jimmy Flannigan and Ellen Troxclair, voted to approve an amendment to a…

Thursday, February 15, 2018 by Jack Craver

CodeNEXT draft boosts housing capacity

A day after the third version of CodeNEXT was unveiled, City Council members expressed cautious optimism about the proposed overhaul of Austin’s land development rules.Notably, Council members were happy to see that the new version dramatically increased the amount of…

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 by Jack Craver

The battle over conditional overlays

City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan is fed up with conditional overlays.Conditional overlays – COs in the parlance of City Hall insiders – are zoning rules that apply to a specific property. They often end up included as part of a…

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 by Jack Craver

Transportation Department defends ‘speed cushions’

Transportation Director Robert Spillar showed up at a meeting of the Public Safety Commission on Monday to defend “speed cushions,” the traffic-calming devices that have infuriated motorists across the city, most notably in a Northwest Austin neighborhood that successfully campaigned…

Friday, February 9, 2018 by Jack Craver

What policies would create the most housing in CodeNEXT?

As the city of Austin has learned over and over again in recent years, allowing something to be built doesn’t mean that it will be.Hence, density bonuses that offer developers the opportunity to build bigger buildings in exchange for on-site…

Thursday, February 8, 2018 by Jack Craver

Commission considers an independent watchdog agency for Austin

Saying that it is time for Austin to have a full-time watchdog, a task force tasked with proposing changes to the city charter is considering ways to establish an independent ethics agency.Currently in Austin, oversight of campaign finance filings and…

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council approves pools plan but funding questions remain

On Thursday, City Council overwhelmingly approved the Aquatic Master Plan, a 640-page document crafted by the Parks and Recreation Department that provides guidance for repairing and expanding the city’s aging system of pools.The plan says that the capital costs necessary…

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 by Jack Craver

Police reform activists call for city-funded nonprofit for police complaints

Representatives of Austin’s police union said Monday that they’re eager to begin negotiations with the new city manager on a contract that can hopefully win approval from City Council.Ron DeLord, an attorney for the Austin Police Association, told members of…

Monday, February 5, 2018 by Jack Craver

Another postponement for Champion case

City Council decided Thursday that a legal and political battle surrounding the Champion tract in Northwest Austin that has spanned two decades will be extended yet another two weeks.Council voted 7-4 to postpone action on an amendment to a settlement…

Thursday, February 1, 2018 by Jack Craver

Troxclair wants to know how rates compare to other Texas utilities

This year, the average Austinite will spend $2,475 on utility bills to cover the cost of electricity, water and garbage pickup.City Council Member Ellen Troxclair wants to know how that compares to what other people served by other utilities in…

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 by Jack Craver

Austin Energy gears up to ‘repower downtown’

As Austin grows, so must its utility.Austin Energy plans a nine-figure investment over the next eight years on improvements to its system of substations and transmission lines.In a presentation Wednesday to the Austin Energy Utility Oversight Committee, AE officials showed…

Friday, January 26, 2018 by Jack Craver

Charter Review Commission wants another vote on Council-appointed city attorney

Austin is one of only 6 percent of Texas home-rule cities with a city attorney who is unilaterally appointed by the city manager, with no input from City Council.As a result, critics contend, there is a lack of accountability for…

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 by Jack Craver

In Hyde Park, urbanists say they’re the ones defending neighborhood character

In Austin’s ongoing battle over development, it’s generally the traditional neighborhood associations that talk about defending “neighborhood character” and developers and urbanist activists who argue that a growing city needs to accept change, whether that is taller buildings or reduced…

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by Jack Craver

City likely to exceed its budget for pools, again

While City Council members have decidedly mixed opinions about a proposed $124 million bond aimed at upgrading Austin’s aquatics system, everybody acknowledges that the city’s pools are in desperate need of repair.The problem, of course, is that right now the…

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 by Jack Craver

Crowded field of candidates emerges to challenge Troxclair in Southwest Austin

In addition to Mayor Steve Adler, five City Council members are up for re-election this November. In three of those races – District 9, District 5 and District 3 – nobody has yet declared their intention of running against the…

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