Austin Monitor

Parks board continues debating alcohol sales in parks

The Austin Parks and Recreation Board debated Monday whether to approve a recommendation for City Council to create guidelines for the sale of alcohol in city parks in addition to those already found in city code. The draft recommendation notes that, while city code “prohibits the sale, possession and consumption...
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Abortion access resolution gathering steam

City Council Member Chito Vela, the lead sponsor of a resolution discouraging Austin police from investigating allegations concerning abortion, said Monday he expects City Council to consider the resolution at a special meeting held the week of July 18. In addition to Vela, sponsors of the resolution so far include Council members Vanessa Fuentes, Paige Ellis, Leslie Pool, Ann Kitchen, Alison Adler and Kathie Tovo. The planned action is in direct response to Dobbs v. Jackson, the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision protecting a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion.

Capital Metro announces leader of transit police force

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors has approved Eric Robins, the former chief of police of Sugar Land, Texas, to become the new chief administrator of the Capital Metro transit police. Robins will serve as chief administrator starting Aug. 1, until the nascent transit police department is certified...

Austin ISD approves $1.9 billion budget – but nearly half of that money will go to the state

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees voted 7-2 early Friday to adopt a nearly $1.9 billion budget for the upcoming academic year. School board president Geronimo Rodriguez Jr. noted it was the first balanced budget trustees have passed since 2017. Austin ISD had warned its bond rating could be at risk if the board decided to use cash reserves for the 2022-2023 budget.

Austin moves to prepare for climate disasters

City Council passed a resolution at its June 16 meeting to create a disaster preparedness guide and toolkit for the city. The guide, which will be part of the city’s climate response efforts, will instruct residents on how to create local resilience hubs in the event of an emergency. City staffers will be directed to work with area nonprofit organizations to create the guide.

City, police union tussle over increased oversight, officers’ rights

The city of Austin has proposed changes to its labor contract with the Austin Police Association that its bargaining team said would improve the transparency of administrative investigations and other disciplinary decisions involving police officers. The police union’s bargaining team pushed back, saying the changes were too broad and infringed...

Austin Energy ramps up outreach for proposed rate changes

Austin Energy has entered the public hearing phase of its base rate review process, following its proposal to raise service costs. The monthslong dialogue with stakeholders and city staff, slated for resolution by City Council in November, has surfaced predictable conflicts over the price hike. Released late April, Austin Energy’s...

Why high gas prices aren’t hitting Capital Metro … yet

As gas prices hover near record highs, taking a big chomp out of many household budgets, the region’s public transit agency is sending hundreds of buses into the streets every day topped off with diesel costing less than $2 a gallon. Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority burns through some 4.5...

Austin endorses tax exemption for menstrual products

City Council members approved a resolution Thursday endorsing the removal of sales tax for menstrual products and diapers. As the resolution states, “Menstrual products and diapers are necessary to daily life for millions of Texans, and these taxes create an undue and inequitable burden on those who purchase them.”

STI testing unit to get location in downtown Austin

City Council members approved a resolution Thursday designating a parking spot for mobile STI testing and other sexual health care services, to be located in downtown Austin to make the testing easily accessible to city residents. The resolution comes shortly after Austin Public Health approved the Mobile Vaccination Program as...

City to study Fleet Services site for housing

In the continuing effort to find ways to create more affordable housing, City Council directed City Manager Spencer Cronk last week to assess the site that currently houses Fleet Mobility Services as a possible location for housing. The department at 1190 Hargrave St. provides service to about 7,000 city vehicles in 25 departments, from the Fire Department to Austin Energy and Austin Resource Recovery.