Austin City Council

Callie Hernandez for KUT

The candidates for Austin’s next city manager will be vetted by nearly a million people. At least, that’s how necessary council members and city staff have said public input is to the process of hiring Austin’s newest city manager in roughly a decade.


Austin City Hall
KUT News

The deadline for council candidates to place their names on the November ballot came and went today. Here’s a list of who’s running in the five districts where seats are up for election (incumbents are indicated as such):

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

It’s official. Austin voters will decide on a $720 million transportation bond come November 8. Council members took a final vote on the ballot language this afternoon, after nearly two hours of discussion. The final count? Seven council members for, three abstaining, one hard no.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Mayor Steve Adler has christened a $720 million transportation bond the "Go Big Corridor Plan." So it begs the question, is this really that big? Seattle recently placed on a ballot a $54 billion transportation bond. But judging by other news reports, that number seems like an anomaly among municipal bond programs. 

Regardless, there's plenty to unpack when we discuss the "bigness" of this bond. 


Pu Ying Huang/KUT

The Austin City Council approved a measure Thursday clarifying the process municipal judges use to deem someone incapable of paying a municipal fine –emphasizing community service as an alternative to jail time for unpaid fines.

District 2 Council Member Delia Garza brought the item forward in an effort to reduce the number of people being sent to jail for unpaid fines.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Over the years I've been defined as many things: a woman, a mother, a grandmother. I've been an activist, a professional and a retiree. Now, I'm a public servant in Austin on the city council. My district has more African Americans than any other in the city. 

Over the years, as you may imagine, some of my roles have changed. But least one remains: I'm a mother – no matter how old my son and daughter may be.

I imagine most parents are like me. That's why my heart breaks when I try to step into the shoes of the parents, family and friends whose loved ones have been killed. 

 


Pixabay, via Austin Monitor

Update: The Austin City Council approved the teleconferencing item on consent. The pilot program will begin in District 6 and will ultimately expand to all Austin City Council districts.

Original post: In a quest to simplify the lives of some constituents, while easing some downtown traffic, Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman has proposed testing out videoconferencing for some citizen communication.


Jenna VonHofe for KUT

To understand political action committees, it’s useful to think of them in terms of families. For example, if a candidate for City Council or mayor were the older sibling, a PAC would be the baby – that is, it would generally have fewer rules imposed upon it.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

With three months to go before Election Day in November, campaign signs for local, state and presidential candidates have bloomed — despite the incessant heat and current watering restrictions — on Austin lawns. 

And whether you’ve been fixated by the past two weeks of convention speeches and endorsements and even non-endorsements (or not), there’s one element underpinning it all: money. And, in the hopes of making the inner workings of Austin's campaign finance more digestible, here's another installment of our series explaining the process

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr/KUT

Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin and members of the Austin City Council over the city's efforts to ban guns from Austin City Hall. 

401(k) 2012 / creative commons licensed

From the Austin Monitor: The non-senior Austinite who owns a median-priced home and uses an average amount of water and electricity can expect his or her bill for taxes, fees and utilities to increase by about $12.48 per month for the 2017 Fiscal Year, under a proposal from the city’s budget staff.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Austin is facing legal action over its rules governing short-term rentals, like those you’d find on sites like Airbnb and Homeaway. But some in the hospitality industry say those rentals should have to follow the same rules. The two sides sparred over the issue in a debate Thursday.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin City Council candidates scouting for new or incumbent leadership filed their first campaign finance reports Friday. Sure, it's still early going, but the fundraising cycle has ramped up in the five Council districts with races on the ballot in November.


Jenna VonHofe for KUT

Natalie Gauldin’s backyard plays by its own rules. The grass tickles our calves and her almost 3-year-old daughter has left some toys scattered around. Dogs bark at us from inside her house in Austin’s District 7. But all these distractions, we tune out. We’re here to talk about one sentence on her campaign website.


Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

In a vote that pit representatives of the city’s lowest-income districts against their colleagues, Austin City Council members narrowly approved an 8 percent homestead exemption on Wednesday – an increase of 2 percent over last year’s exemption. To a resident with a home worth $250,000, that equates to a nearly $23 in annual savings on their property taxes.


KUT News

The Austin City Council met Thursday for its final meeting before the July recess. Council met past midnight and into early Friday, passing several measures, including the approval to move forward with a $720-million mobility bond.

Gabriel Cristóval Pérez / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: While most of Austin slept early Friday morning, City Council gave the green light to a mobility bond with little historical precedent.

Just after 1:30 a.m., following a tortuous and fraught discussion marked by simmering tensions that at times neared outright hostility, Council voted 8-3 to direct staff to prepare ballot language for a $720 million grab bag of road, sidewalk, bike and transit infrastructure.

KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: After years of decline, Austin’s African-American population appears to be growing again.

In a presentation during a City Council work session Tuesday, city demographer Ryan Robinson explained to Council members that the black population within Austin’s city limits increased by an estimated 8,000 in the four years following the 2010 census. In the entire Austin metropolitan area, it grew by an estimated 20,000.

City Faces Lawsuit Over Short-Term Rental Ordinance

Jun 21, 2016
Jon Shapley for KUT

This story has been updated with a comment from the City of Austin.

A group of homeowners and renters are suing the city of Austin over its effort to regulate short-term rental units, or STRs, like those you’d find on sites such as Airbnb or HomeAway.


From the Austin Monitor: According to a poll conducted for the Austin Monitor, a majority of those polled in City Council Member Don Zimmerman’s district — 52 percent — approve of how Council handled the Uber/Lyft election issue. At the same time, 51 percent said they would vote to re-elect their Council member, who was not mentioned by name in the question.


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