Austin City Council

CRIME
5:48 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

APD: Guns Used in a Quarter of Violent Crimes

http://www.flickr.com/photos/publik16/3116450658/

Guns were used in nearly a quarter of violent crimes and disorderly conduct cases in Austin from 2010 to 2012, according to an analysis by Austin police. 

Crimes most likely to involve the use of a gun were murders and robberies. About 40 percent of murders and 38 percent of robberies involved firearms. More than 17 percent of aggravated assault cases involved the use of guns. Firearms were used in almost three percent of the 675 rape cases reported from 2010 to 2012. 

Read more
AUDITORIUM SHORES
9:21 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Council Mulls $3.5M Donation for Auditorium Shores Improvements

Concert goers kick back at Auditorium Shores during Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

The Austin City Council is meeting in a work session today. They could talk about accepting a $3.5 million donation from event production company C3 Presents to make improvements to Auditorium Shores.

C3 Presents is a concert promotion and management company that puts on events such as the Austin Food and Wine Festival at the park. The city approved C3 Presents’ request for a second weekend for the popular Austin City Limits Festival in 2013 and later years.

Read more
Austin
1:54 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

How Many 'Austin Bashing' Bills Made It Out of the Lege? (Update)

With five Austin-centric bills this session alone, lawmakers are keeping a keen eye on the Austin City Council this legislative session.
flickr.com/atmtx

Update: The legislative session adjourns Monday – and Austin City Council members can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

All of the bills below disappeared into the legislative black hole – that is, they either never made it out of committee, or were never cleared for a vote.

Update (March 26): Here’s some additional bills that meet the Austin City Council’s definition of “Austin bashing” – legislation that would defang local policies.

  • HB 1858, Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin)

The bill would ban cities from restricting the removal of trees if a developer or land owner deems the tree to be a fire hazard. Opponents worry the bill provides a work-around the city’s Heritage Tree Ordinance, and point to an additional piece of Workman legislation, HB 3087, as creating additional development loopholes for removing trees.

Read more
Austin
3:50 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Council Tables Independent Oversight For Austin Energy

A split City Council groudned the idea of an independent board for Austin Energy today.
I-Hwa Cheng, KUT News

The City of Austin cooled the idea of creating a board to oversee Austin Energy.

The original idea was to form a board whose members are more knowledgeable than city council members are about the electric utility industry, but after concerns that its members would be insufficiently accountable to voters, the plan changed, leaving the proposed board with less authority.

Read more
Austin
1:55 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Report Asks: Why Aren’t Hispanics Sharing in Austin's Boom?

A mural outside the Mexic-Arte Museum downtown.
flickr.com/monad68

A five-year effort from a group of Hispanic community leaders is about to wrap up. In 2008, the Austin City Council asked the group to evaluate the quality of life for Hispanics in the city. They found big disparities between Hispanics and their peers in areas including education, health care, even access to cultural institutions.

Last night, about fifty people came together at City Hall to share ideas on how Hispanics in Austin could bridge those gaps.

Read more
Austin
5:07 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

10-1 Commission Candidate List Goes to City Council

The commission that will draw the new City Council districts is taking shape.
Callie Hernandez, KUT News

Today the city of Austin moves closer to a new form of government.

It’s the 10-1 plan chosen by voters in the November election: 10 geographic districts drawn by citizens plus the mayor serving at large.

Read more
Austin
6:49 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Comment on Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life in Austin

How does life in the Capital City measure up?
Flickr, Harrison Tran http://www.flickr.com/photos/atx_is_over_9000/8626536854/sizes/m/in/photostream/

The City of Austin is getting ready to unveil its Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life Report.

A draft version of the report is available online and the city is looking for one more round of input from the public before presenting the report to the Mayor and City Council.

Read more
City Hall Hustle
4:13 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

City Hall Hustle: Council Talks Austin Energy, Ethics & Obama

There's plenty of council action both inside and outside City Hall this week - including a meeting with President Obama.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Hustle on a surprisingly busy week for the Austin City Council.

How powerful should an independent Austin Energy board be?

That’s the question the Austin City Council is asking itself. Right now, the council governs the city-owned utility. But council members are talking about turning over that power to an independent board. And haggling over the power of this unelected panel continues to dominate talk at City Hall.

Read more
Austin
8:02 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Money Talk: Austin City Council to Hear Budget Needs Today

Not all the action in City Hall today centers on City Council: the Charter Revision Committee is set to recommend a scheme for future elections.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

The Austin City Council begins budget talks today after hearing a financial forecast for the city two weeks ago. This morning, the council will discuss budget presentations by city departments.

For the first time, those presentations are available for everyone to watch on the city’s YouTube channel. The city also included a video describing how revenue from taxes and utilities equate to city services.

Read more
City Budget
5:20 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

That’s a Whole Lot of PowerPoint: Austin’s 2014 Budget Videos Play Out Over 200 Wonky Minutes

The City of Austin has released 20 vidoes to try and make their budgeting process more transparent and engaging. This graph represents the budget and number of city employees.
City of Austin

The City of Austin’s trying something different this budget season: City department officials have made 20 videos that clock in at over 200 minutes, available on the city's YouTube channel.

The videos include everything from a basic overview of how revenue from taxes and utilities equate to city services, to a 25-minute financial forecast of public utility Austin Water. Each department’s financial forecast presentation is available online, so anyone who wants the lowdown on, say, the Public Works department, can get it.

Read more
City Hall Hustle
4:17 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

City Hall Hustle: Hazy Outlook for Austin in 2014 City Budget

Contract negotiations with Austin’s public safety responders cloud a complete picture of the 2014 budget.
Polcie photo Nathan Bernier; EMS photo Daniel Reese; Fire photo Callier Hernandez

The Hustle on the city budget, Austin Energy and more

Last week, the Austin City Council got its first look at the numbers for next year’s budget.

The financial outlook? Well … we’ll get back to you about that.

The thing is, Austin’s currently negotiating its three public safety contracts – police, fire and EMS. And budget staff call those contracts a wild card in the city’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

Read more
Geographic Representation
10:22 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Interview: Volma Overton Jr. Describes Austin’s Long Struggle for Geographic Representation

Volma Overton Jr., photographed on the University of Texas campus.
Marissa Barnett for KUT News

Volma Overton Jr. on 10-1, Austin and his father's legacy

Volma Overton Sr. was a civil rights pioneer in Austin. He brought a hard-fought lawsuit to desegregate Austin schools – and brought his school-aged children with him to Austin’s segregated places, pushing against the racial boundaries of the time.

One of those children is Volma Overton Jr. KUT News recently sat down with him to talk about another front his father fought on: changing Austin’s form of at-large elections, where all candidates for City Council have to run citywide.

Read more
City Hall Hustle
2:55 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

City Hall Hustle: The Long, Winding Road to 10-1

A detail of a map plotting the applicants for the city's Applicant Review Panel, which will help select the group that draws Austin's districts.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

The Hustle on the move toward geographic representation

After seven tries and several decades, geographic representation is finally coming to the City of Austin. And as the city prepares, the vortex of activity swirls around … none other than three certified public accountants.

That’s the Applicant Review Panel. It’s a group of three CPAs, randomly selected from a group of applicants, who will vet applicants for the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. That’s the group that will ultimately draw the district lines.

Read more
Austin
8:00 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Why an Independent Board for Austin Energy?

Jessie Wang, KUT News

The Austin city council moved one step closer Thursday night toward creating an independent board to oversee the city-owned electric utility – Austin Energy. The council approved the transition on first reading – with council member Kathie Tovo absent. The ordinance has to be approved on three readings.

Read more
Austin
8:10 am
Fri April 12, 2013

First Step Towards (Weak) Austin Energy Independent Board

Ihwa Cheng for KUT News

The Austin City Council took the first step last night towards moving the governance of Austin Energy from the council to an independent board.

The council unanimously approved the transition on first reading – with council member Kathie Tovo absent. The ordinance will have to be approved on three readings.

Council members did make several changes to the original proposal last night – weakening the power of the independent board and giving more oversight back to council.

Read more

Pages