Austin City Council

The Texas and City of Austin flags sit in the City Council Chambers at Austin City Hall.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

KUT is teaming up with the Austin Monitor for a series of virtual Austin City Council candidate forums. Tonight’s focused on District 4, which covers North Central Austin. The seat is currently held by Greg Casar, who is running for reelection. Candidates answered audience-submitted questions starting at 7:30 p.m.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The first in a series of virtual Austin City Council candidate forums hosted by KUT and the Austin Monitor was tonight at 7. Candidates running for District 2, which encompasses Southeast Austin, answered audience-submitted questions.

The dias at Austin City Hall.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

This year, City of Austin residents will get a chance to elect (in most cases, re-elect) representatives in Districts 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Austin's music venues were among the first businesses to close because of COVID-19, and because their business model relies on mass gatherings, they'll likely be the last to reopen.

Andrew Noble and other music industry workers rally outside of City Hall on Wednesday in support of a measure to provide financial relief to venues suffering during the pandemic.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin's music community rallied at City Hall on Wednesday to support a measure to bolster the ecosystem around live music in light of the pandemic.

An empty city council dias with flags in the background.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Five seats on the Austin City Council are up for election this November.

What do you want the candidates to be talking about as they try to earn your vote?

Protesters clash with police in riot gear in downtown Austin on Aug. 1.
Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Heading into the November election, Gov. Greg Abbott has made clear that he believes policing should be top of mind for all Texas candidates and voters.

Capital Metro's MLK Jr. rail station is adjacent to Platform Apartments in East Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As the Austin City Council looks at ways to combat gentrification and promote more affordable housing ahead of a proposed transit expansion, a new mapping tool is providing a sense of where things stand now.

The tool shows 25% of the city’s 26,663 affordable housing units are within a quarter-mile of a proposed Project Connect transit stop, and 58% are within a half-mile.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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In the hopes of discouraging cities from reducing money spent on police, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday he and other state leaders support the passage of a bill halting a property tax revenue increase for any Texas city that cuts its police budget.

The Austin City Council discusses the budget during a virtual meeting Wednesday that was projected on screen at the Palmer Events Center.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The $4 billion budget Austin City Council adopted Thursday includes plans to reduce the police budget by about a third – $150 million. Twenty million dollars is being cut immediately, with $3.5 million going to Austin-Travis County EMS, and $6.5 million going to housing assistance for people living on the street.

A train at the Red Line station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Austin City Council voted Thursday to place two transportation-related ballot measures in front of voters during the Nov. 3 election: a new property tax to help pay for transit expansion and a bond issue that would fund more active transportation projects. 

People sit spaced apart with masks on watching a screen showing Austin City Council members.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Austin is immediately cutting $20 million from the city’s police budget – and council members are vowing to make bigger reductions in the coming year.

Protesters outside Austin City Hall on July 11 call for defunding the police department.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español.

Austin City Council members are proposing cuts to the Austin Police Department budget totaling roughly $149 million, or 34% of the department’s current budget.

Council members are scheduled to vote on the city's budget for the upcoming fiscal year as early as Wednesday and no later than Friday.  

A Metrorail train is reflected in a mirror at the downtown Austin station.
Juan Figueroa for KUT

The Austin City Council and Capital Metro Board voted Friday to form a new local government corporation to oversee the funding and implementation of Project Connect, the transit expansion plan. 

Protesters outside Austin City Hall on July 11 call for defunding the police department.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The second public hearing on the City of Austin’s proposed budget is taking place today. Speakers are phoning in to a virtual City Council meeting to tell council members their thoughts on the proposal.

A sign says alcohol consumption on public streets and sidewalks is forbidden.
Austin Price for KUT

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No matter what side of the street you’re on, you will soon be on the right side of the law when you walk around East Austin with a beer. Austin City Council on Wednesday approved a resolution to lift a prohibition on public drinking that exists in some parts.

Vandalization of the Robert E. Lee Road sign in early 2018 sparked a conversation over whether the street should be renamed. The Austin City Council voted to change the name of the street honoring the Confederate general later that year.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

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Austin will re-examine – and could ultimately change – the names of its streets, buildings, parks and creeks that venerate historical racism and the Confederacy.

The decision Wednesday from the Austin City Council follows up on a 2018 report from the city's Equity Office, which suggested changing the name of the city itself, as Stephen F. Austin was a staunch defender of slavery.

Cap Metro's red line metro station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council voted Monday afternoon to move forward with plans to seek a property tax increase to help fund Project Connect, a plan to build more train and bus lines.

Protesters call for the defunding of the Austin Police Department outside City Hall on July 11.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Austinites waited with their phones on hold, some for over an hour, to tell city council members on Thursday that proposed cuts to the police department’s budget were too small. Residents seeking more profound changes called the cuts a “pittance,” “insulting” and a “slap in the face.”

A 2015 file photo of a citation for a city law that banned sitting or lying down in certain parts of Austin. Save Austin Now submitted signatures for a petition that would, among other things, reinstate the law in the downtown and UT Austin campus areas.
Pu Ying Huang / KUT

A GOP-backed group says it's collected enough signatures to put a reversal of the city's homeless ordinances on the ballot in November.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley
Julia Reihs / KUT

 

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Before dawn on March 21, 2018, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley stood on the side of I-35 in Round Rock, flanked by federal officers, and announced that the suspect in a series of bombings was dead.

Student protesters hold a sign outside Austin City Hall on Saturday calling for the city to defund police and invest more in the community.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin is proposing to reduce the Austin Police Department’s planned budget by $8.1 million, despite calls for much bigger cuts to the department. 

Signs on Spencer Cronk's lawn call for defunding the Austin Police Department.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The front lawn of the City of Austin's highest-paid employee got some new lawn ornaments Thursday.

Organizations urging radical change to how the city spends money erected more than two dozen lawn signs outside Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk’s house. One sign read, “Increase funding for Austin Public Health to survive the pandemic and beyond,” another “Protect and create more low-income housing.”

Drivers wait in line to get tested for COVID-19 at CommUnityCare Hancock Clinic on July 2.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Austin will now enforce laws that require people to wear facial coverings in public and penalize businesses for not following measures that aim to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

People who violate the mask rules could face a fine of up to $2,000 and could be taken to civil court by the city.

Austin Water

Berl Handcox, Austin’s first elected African American City Council member since Reconstruction, has died at the age of 88. Handcox was elected as part of the seven-member Council on May 1, 1971, and reelected on April 7, 1973. He received about 62 percent of the vote for both elections. He resigned from his seat in the spring of 1975 to serve as the head of the Texas Equal Employment Opportunity Office, part of the governor’s office.

Austin Public Health says it will need an ever-increasing supply of masks and gloves at its COVID-19 testing site in North Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

In an effort to secure N95 masks for first responders and public health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Austin has had to cancel deals with vendors that couldn’t deliver and return thousands of lesser-quality masks.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

A group of black community activists led a march from Huston-Tillotson University to the state Capitol on Sunday. Thousands of people turned out for the peaceful protest.

“This was an idea on a Tuesday, we sat down on a Friday to iron out the details, and Sunday you had thousands on top of thousands on top of thousands,” said one of the organizers, Reese Herd II, who spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown on Thursday.

A protester holds a sign that says, "Defund the Police."
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

"Defund the police” has become a nationwide rallying cry for people protesting police violence against black people. Locally, the Austin Justice Coalition has asked the City Council to remove $100 million from police department's budget.

A protester holds a sign that says "We demand police reform."
Michael Minasi / KUT

Lee esta historia en español.

Austin City Council members voted unanimously Thursday on four items related to the Austin Police Department’s policy and budget, including transferring some money from police to social services and banning police use of some potentially deadly weapons and practices.

The City of Austin is looking for applicants to help redraw Austin City Council district boundaries. The new boundaries will go into effect for the November 2022 elections.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin residents can now apply to be on the commission to redraw City Council district boundaries. The city’s charter requires those lines be redrawn after the U.S. Census is taken every 10 years. 

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