Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition | June 2020

SOUTHWEST AUSTIN DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION 2020 HEALTHCARE EDITION

ONLINE AT

VOLUME 13, ISSUE 3  JUNE 24JULY 28, 2020

2020

South Austin senior care community learns fromCOVID19 battle

CLUSTERS TRACING

195 A COVID-19 “cluster” is dened by Austin Public Health as three or more cases in the same community. Because nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, APH closely monitors clusters in senior care facilities.

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BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE

Onion Creek assisted-living community Village on the Park had its brush with coronavirus early. On March 31, three employees reported to the facil- ity’s executive director, John Redford, that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 after they had family members test positive. While Redford said Village on the Park reacted swiftly and appropriately, sending the employees to be tested and assessing any points of con- tact they have had, public reaction was strong when word leaked the employees had the virus. “There was a general hysteria,” Redford told Commu- nity Impact Newspaper . “Those days were hard. I act like it was a year ago, but we’ve learned so much so fast.” Redford elded phone calls “for a week straight” from concerned family members of residents and sta. Ultimately, only one resident out of 120 decided to leave Village on the Park due to coronavirus fears, and they returned two weeks later. No other sta or residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility since the initial three sta cases as of press time. However, Village on the Park’s experience has not been the outcome for some other South Austin senior care facilities, where COVID-19 has often spread rapidly CONTINUED ON 38

79 CORONAVIRUS CLUSTERS TOTAL IN TRAVIS COUNTY 35 29 20

COLORADO RIVER

TRAVIS COUNTY

35

290

MOPAC

SPONSOREDBY • Baylor Scott & White Health • Premier Family Physicians • Westgate Skin & Cancer Center HEALTH CARE SNAPSHOT HEALTH CARE EDI T ION 2020

71

130 TOLL

360

183

14

290

71

35

ARE IN SOUTHWEST TRAVIS COUNTY

MAP NOT TO SCALE N

SOURCE: AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

coronavirus deaths in the Travis County area have been traced to nursing homes.* 56 OUT OF 106

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52.8%

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*DATA AS OF JUNE 16

Pandemic highlights challenges of food access in the South Austin area

Central Texas Food Bank fed an estimated SOURCE: CENTRAL TEXAS FOOD BANK COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 4 , 200 p e op l e through its South Austin distribution event May 28.

BY NICHOLAS CICALE

community partnerships, President and CEO Derrick Chubbs said food insecurity is a growing concern during the pandemic, as prices increase and access has become more challenging. The food bank has seen a 200% increase in new clients since March, and the large-scale South Austin distri- bution events are a new way to reach more individuals than before. “We have people who never thought CONTINUED ON 40

For three consecutive months during the coronavirus pandemic, the Central Texas Food Bank has distributed free boxes of perishable and nonperish- able items to more than 1,000 families during a monthly event at the Toney Burger Activity Center in South Austin. While the South Austin-based food bank has been providing groceries for individuals and families for years through mobile food pantries and

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • JUNE 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

IMPACTS

6

Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 11 Project Connect passes next milestone EDUCATION BRIEFS 13 Districts plan for coming school year

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Deeda Lovett, dlovett@communityimpact.com EDITOR Nicholas Cicale, ncicale@communityimpact.com REPORTER Olivia Aldridge STAFF GRAPHIC DESIGNER Rachal Russell ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Alyssa Cevallos METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Travis Baker MANAGING EDITOR Joe Warner ASSOCIATEMANAGING EDITOR Amy Denney ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Haley Grace CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across six metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON

FROMDEEDA: My mom always told me to take care of myself because without our health we have nothing. She’s not the rst person to utter that line, but I think of it often as the pandemic presses on. Never in my lifetime have health precautions dominated more everyday activities and conversations than they do today. This month’s issue is our annual Health Care Edition in which you can learn not only the latest regarding COVID-19 but also about medical treatment options for a variety of ailments in your neighborhood.

2020LocalVoterGuide

CANDIDATE Q&A

20

Who is running in the July 14 election

HealthCareEdition

Deeda Lovett, GENERALMANAGER

HEALTH CARE SNAPSHOT 23 See how health in Travis & Hays counties compares to others across Texas NEWS BRIEFS 25 Local COVID19 stats and updates

FROMNICK: Our front-page stories this month look at two vulnerable communities that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic: individuals who are in nursing homes and families who are food-insecure. Nursing homes in Southwest Austin have been hit particularly hard compared to others in the region, with residents facing increased risk of catching COVID-19. The pandemic has also made it dicult for those with limited resources to access food, and local organizations are working to ll the gaps. Nicholas Cicale, EDITOR

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • JUNE 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or have been in the news

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN

OLD BEE CAVES RD.

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Summer Moon Coffee

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chai lattes and iced teas, are also avail- able. 737-202-4288. www.summermooncoffee.com 4 ZuriTap , a new app based out of a South Austin startup, launched earlier this year, offering on-demand professional services from a range of specialties, such as carpentry, dog grooming and cleaning. ZuriTap LLC operates out of 236 Jayne Cove, Austin. 302-648-2610. www.zuritap.com COMING SOON 5 A new Domino’s Pizza is coming to 5701 W. Slaughter Lane, Bldg. A, Ste. 160, Austin, replacing what had previously been a Z Pizza restaurant in Circle C Ranch. Permits were submitted to renovate the space May 28, but an official opening date has not yet been announced. www.dominos.com RELOCATIONS 6 Austin Automotive Center will move to a new location at 8702 Cullen Lane, Austin, on July 1, according to a repre- sentative from the business. Currently located at 111 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin Automotive Center is celebrating 10 years of business in June under the ownership of Joe Estrada. 512-779-1724 7 The Legal Connection Inc. , which offers legal services to law firms, moved its corporate headquarters to 8656 W. Hwy. 71, Bldg. F, Austin, in April. Formerly located at 7103 Oak Meadow Drive, The Legal Connection also offers notary pub- lic services and conference room space available for business meeting reserva-

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SOUTH AUSTIN

JAYNE COVE

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MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 Elite Motion & Performance , a prac- tice offering sports chiropractic therapy for people and pets, opened in the Oak Hill area June 1. Helmed by chiropractor and myofascial specialist Dr. Amanda Massey, Elite Motion & Performance is lo- cated at 7401 Old Bee Caves Road, Austin. 512-766-9140. www.amasseychiro.com 2 Nomadic Dining ATX , a private chef service, launched in South Austin on

3 The newest Summer Moon Coffee officially opened May 25 in Circle C Ranch. Located at 5701 W. Slaughter Lane, Ste. A170, Austin, the cafe is open for inside and call-ahead orders and has limited seating both inside and outside. The drive-thru is also open. The Central Texas-based chain offers a menu of hot and cold coffee drinks, featuring its signature Moon Milk sweet cream and wood-fired espresso in its lattes. Tradi- tional drinks, including drip coffees,

May 20. Based out of 1606 W. Stass- ney Lane, Ste. 1, Austin, the company is owned by Chef Nicholas Hymel, who previously worked as a sous chef at South Austin restaurant Odd Duck and Central Austin’s Barley Swine. The com- pany offers to bring customizable food experiences to the home for private din- ing events and parties, creating unique menus to cater to each client’s needs, according to Hymel. 985-413-1290. www.nomadicdiningatx.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE & NICHOLAS CICALE

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Store leadership stands in front of the new H-E-B prior to opening June 10.

McLane Family Dental

Brodie Homestead Event Center

COURTESY MCLANE FAMILY DENTAL

COURTESY BRODIE HOMESTEAD EVENT CENTER

11 Total Wine & More has been open in Sunset Valley for five years. Located at 5601 Brodie Lane, Ste. 800, Austin, the liquor and wine store opened May 21, 2015, and was the first Total Wine & More to open in the Greater Austin area. The 28,600-square-foot store is offering curb- side pickup, delivery and in-store services for cigars, wine, spirits and beer sales. 512-892-8763. www.totalwine.com IN THE NEWS 12 Austin Lighthouse for the Blind , a local nonprofit located at 4512 S. Pleas- ant Valley Road, Austin, has expanded its capacity as of April to create needed supplies at its warehouse and distribu- tion center. The nonprofit offers skills training, education and employment opportunities to the blind. The non- profit has put additional resources into making products such as soap and hand sanitizers—hiring 20 additional tempo- rary workers and investing more than $100,000 in equipment. 512-442-2329. www.austinlighthouse.org 13 Sunset Valley City Council on June 3 refunded the Brodie Homestead Event Center $61,471 in fees that were collected 10 years ago because the city had yet to use the funds. The fees were originally collected during the project’s devel- opment for watershed protection and mitigation efforts, but owner Dan Ross officially submitted a request for a refund because no efforts had taken place. Ross, who renovated the historic Brodie Home- stead at 5211 Brodie Lane into an event venue, said that his business has seen 35- 40 events either postponed or completely canceled from the start of the coronavirus

tions for up to 22 people. 512-892-5700. www.tlc-texas.com 8 Skandinavia Contemporary Interiors , a furniture store previous- ly located on Shoal Creek Boulevard, relocated to 4477 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 300, Austin, and its storefront is open as of June 9. The new showroom offers 200,000 square feet of space, according to the store owners. The company had originally planned to open in May before Memorial Day but was delayed due to COVID-19. 512-451-1868. 9 McLane Family Dental celebrates 10 years in the Southwest Austin community in June. Run by Drs. Deidra and James McLane, the dental practice offers services ranging from cleanings and cosmetics to cavity and gum disease treatments, and it originally opened June 21, 2010. Located at 5000 W. Slaughter Lane, Ste. 200, Aus- tin, the practice is open to provide dental care during the coronavirus pandemic. Protocols are in place to reduce the spread of the virus. 512-292-8002. www.mclanefamilydental.com 10 South Austin Beer Garden —which reopened May 22 under new state guidelines regarding the coronavirus pandemic—celebrated its first anni- versary in business during the closure. Located inside of a renovated home at 10700 Menchaca Road, Austin, the beer garden offers 60 beers on draft and a cocktails menu with both indoor and patio seating. 512-669-5763. www.southaustinbeergarden.com www.skandinaviatexas.com ANNIVERSARIES

The new 130,000-square-foot supermarket has been under construction since 2018.

PHOTOS COURTESY H-E-B

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN After a few delays this spring, H-E-B opened its newest supermarket, located at 8801 S. Congress Ave., Austin, on June 10. The 130,000-square-foot store oers H-E-B Curbside, home delivery service, a Texas Backyard outdoor section and a pharmacy. A new restaurant, True Texas BBQ, will also oer food with indoor and outdoor seating and a drive-thru. 737-236-8348. www.heb.com pandemic through the end of June. As a result, the business has seen revenue decrease by at least 95%. 512-439-2981. www.brodiehomestead.com 14 Jester King Brewery , located at 13187 Fitzhugh Road in Southwest Austin, reopened May 29 following a period of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jester King varied its services and options with the reopening, opting to use its 165 acres as socially distanced space for park and picnic activities. Visitors can make reservations for six different areas of the

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property. 512-661-8736. www.jesterkingbrewery.com. CLOSINGS 15 H-E-B closed its location at William Cannon Drive and South First Street on June 5. The H-E-B—located at 600 William Cannon Drive, Austin—closed because it is small in size compared to newer stores and does not have some of the amenities offered at other locations, according to the company. 512-447-5544. www.heb.com

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • JUNE 2020

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Thank you to all the essential workers who keep Central Texas moving. We appreciate you today and everyday.

www.MobilityAuthority.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

COMPILED BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE & NICHOLAS CICALE

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SILVER CREEK RD.

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DRIPPING SPRINGS

KO's Cafe

EVO Cinemas

HARGRAVES DR.

COURTESY KO’S CAFE

RENDERING COURTESY EVO ENTERTAINMENT GROUP

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COMING SOON 3 EVO Cinemas on July 1 will open in the space previously occupied by Sky Cinemas, 166 Hargraves St., Ste. A100, Dripping Springs. EVO Entertainment Group—which owns movie theaters and entertainment centers in Central Texas—will take over the Belterra Village theater space and is investing $1 million to renovate the space over the next year. The theater will have an expanded scratch kitchen for in-theater service and will offer signature cocktails and beer. Sky Cinemas officially closed May 18. www.evocinemas.com NAME CHANGE 4 Dripping Springs Healthcare, which has been in the Dripping Springs commu- nity since 2016 and is located at 13830 Sawyer Ranch Road, Ste. 301, rebranded

as CARMApsychiatry this spring. Part of the CARMAhealth system, the facility offers psychotherapy, medication and al- ternative medicine treatments for mental health conditions including addiction, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care facility has continued its telehealth services and is open for in-per- son services as well. 512-853-0777. www.carmapsychiatry.com CLOSINGS 5 The Creek Road Cafe in Dripping Springs closed May 31 after 12 years in the community, according to a Facebook post by owners Carl Shroyer and Chae Dona- hue. Branded as “casual fine dining,” the restaurant was located in Dripping Springs at 301 W. Hwy. 290 and offered a menu of shrimp, salmon, pork chop, filet and vegetarian dishes. 512-858-9459.

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NOWOPEN 1 Hamilton Pool Vineyards & Farms opened at 25711 Hamilton Pool Road, Round Mountain, in May after coronavirus precautions prevented the business from its planned Easter weekend opening. 512-400-4173. www.hamiltonpoolvineyards.com 2 KO’s Cafe , the in-house eatery at Hospital Housekeeping Systems, expanded to offer meals to the wider Dripping Springs community in March.

Operating out of the HHS Home Office at 12495 Silver Creek Road, Dripping Springs, KO’s Cafe offers family-style meals for preorder. The culinary service gathers produce from an on-site gar- den and seeks sustainable meats and produce from local sources, according to representatives from KO’s. Menu options include pizza, salad, entrees, sides and desserts. KO’s accepts orders via Facebook Messenger or email at gregt@hhs1.com. https://kos-cafe.business.site

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • JUNE 2020

WATER IS ESSENTIAL

Please remember to follow Conservation Stage Guidelines RESIDENTIAL CONSERVATION Automatic Irrigation

Odd Addresses: Wednesday Even Addresses: Thursday Hose-end Sprinklers

Odd Addresses: Wednesday & Saturday Even Addresses: Thursday & Sunday Midnight – 10 a.m. • 7 p.m. – Midnight Tree Bubblers, Hand-Held Hose, Drip Irrigation: Any Day/Any Time Home Car Wash Allowed with Bucket or Auto Shut-Off Hose

Summer is a great time to be Water Wise and plan for fall landscaping. Take advantage of these Austin Water rebates 6 Irrigation Upgrades up to $1000 to improve irrigation efficiency 6 Landscape Survival Tools up to $120 for compost, mulch, and core aeration 6 WaterWise Landscape up to $1,750 to convert turf grass to native beds 6 WaterWise Rainscape up to $500 for landscape features to retain rainwater 6 Rainwater Harvesting up to $5,000 for equipment to capture rainwater Find more water-saving tips and rebates at Austinwater.org

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

BY JACK FLAGLER Austin area’s public transportation plan goes fromvision to actionwithProject Connect vote

adopted, a major next step for local officials will be working out financing. According to a presentation from Jill Jaworski of PFM Financial Advisors, analysis of other projects around the country support an estimate that 45% of Project Connect—or $4.4 billion— could be federally funded. That leaves $5.4 billion to be funded locally, which would come in part from property taxes. In August, once the city and Capital Metro board determine how much revenue is needed and the amount at which the city would need to set its tax rate, City Council could call for an election, which would ask voters for permission to raise property taxes. Final details about funding have not been determined, but early estimates show an $0.11 increase per $100 valuation, which would be equivalent to about a $358 increase for homes valued at $325,000.

Capital Metro on June 10 approved Project Connect, the plan that includes adding light-rail lines and expanding the local bus network. The $9.8 billion transportation plan would add three light-rail lines. One, the Orange Line, would run between Tech Ridge in North Austin to Slaughter Lane in South Austin. Another, the Blue Line, would connect downtown Austin to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and the third, the Gold Line, would run between Austin Commu- nity College’s Highland campus and South Austin. The rails outlined in the plan would run through an underground tunnel downtown so they would not interfere with above-ground traffic, according to Project Connect program manager Dave Couch. Now that the plan has been

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Tech Ridge Station

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Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

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SOURCE: CAPITAL METRO, SHERRY MATTHEWS GROUP SURVEY CONDUCTED MAY 8-27/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER ORIGIN

South Austin I-35 projects near the finish line

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closures to accommodate the last major element of the project. For the Stassney Lane and William Cannon project, crews continue to work on shared-use paths along I-35 frontage roads and storm sewer systems. Work also continues to rebuild driveways that lead to frontage roads, according to TxDOT. Improvements to exit ramps for William Cannon and turn lanes for Stassney were completed in May.

BY NICHOLAS CICALE

Two substantial South Austin construction projects on I-35 are approaching completion as the Texas Department of Transportation aims to finish work at Oltorf Street and between Stassney Lane and William Cannon Drive over the summer. According to an update by TxDOT, paving for the Oltorf project began in May and will continue through the end of June, with nightly lane

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • JUNE 2020

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EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Austin ISD & Austin Community College

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE

Austin ISD could reduce its tax rate for 202021

Inclusion ocer could be hired soon at ACC AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE In discussing protests and demon- strations about race and police brutality that have taken place across the country and in Austin in June, Richard Rhodes, the president and CEO of Austin Community College, said at a board meeting June 1 the district is prioritizing the hiring of a new chief equity, diversity and inclusion ocer. Although the district is under a hiring freeze during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is actively looking to ll the position, which manages the district’s equity and inclusion oce established in 2016. Rhodes said the ACC Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center—an initiative to inspire lead- ers to “break down radical hierar- chies” —is a place where the district can encourage honest conversations about race and inequities. The dis- trict will continue its commitment to equity, he said. Dripping Springs ISD Agenda review: third Monday at 6 p.m.; voting meetings: fourth Monday at 6 p.m. 510 W. Mercer St., Dripping Springs www.dsisdtx.us Austin ISD Board information sessions: second Monday at 6 p.m.; voting meetings: fourth Monday at 7 p.m. www.austinisd.org Meetings may be held virtually and not in person. MEETINGSWE COVER

AUSTIN ISD District residents could see a decrease in the tax rate based on the current estimated Austin ISD budget for the 2020-21 scal year. Although the district will not ocially set the tax rate until September, the most recent budget outlines a drop from the current rate by $0.0136 per $100 in valuation. If approved, the total tax rate would be $1.1084 per $100. Austin ISD trustees were sched- uled to vote on a proposed $1.67 billion budget for scal year 2020-21 on June 22—after time of press for

unforeseen costs. Of that total, the district has already spent $9.8 million on line items including technology, food service changes and academic resources for remote learning. Estimated future costs include about $22.35 million for technol- ogy and a blended in-person and online learning format. There is also an estimated need for about $13.6 million in campus supplies, training materials and personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.

this edition—in which the district would operate at an estimated shortfall of about $66.3 million. According to a June 8 presentation to trustees by Chief Business and Operations Ocer Nicole Conley, the proposed budget includes expenses that would allow the district to be ready for actions that may be needed to teach during the coro- navirus pandemic. It also does not include any budget cuts compared to the previous year’s, she said. AISD estimates the pandemic will bring a total of $45.75 million in

PROPOSED TAX RATE

OVERALL BUDGET As of June 8, AISD’s proposed 2020-21 budget had a shortfall of about $66.3 million. Revenue:

Austin ISD trustees will vote on a possible tax rate decrease in September, according to a June 8 presentation to trustees.

Current total tax rate:

Maintenance & operations rate: $0.9954 per $100

Interest & sinking rate:

Fiscal year: 202021

$1.1084 per $100*

$0.113 per $100

Expenditures: $1.6billion $1.67 billion

$1.122 per $100 201920 201819 SOURCE: AUSTIN ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER $1.192 per $100

$1.009 per $100

$0.113 per $100

$1.079 per $100

$0.113 per $100

*PROPOSED TOTAL TAX RATE

Austin ISDplanning for blended teaching approach for 202021 AUSTIN ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz said during a board presentation June 1 that the district is working toward a blended approach for classes for the 2020-21 school year. While AISD typically follows a 22-1 student-to-teacher ratio, Cruz said

next year classrooms could be limited to six to eight students due to social distancing requirements. The district may also have to reduce its bus capacity from 60 students to 12-14 per route, which would make transporting its esti- mated 23,000 students who rely on buses challenging. Serving about 75,000 meals a day could also be dicult, as would nding places to eat on campus while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

According to a presentation by the district, a blended approach would allow AISD to switch from in-person to virtual learning when needed.

AUG. 18 Whether holding classes in-person or online, Austin ISD will start the school year on SOURCE: AUSTIN ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

PUBLIC SAFETY City Council takes aimat police budget, practices

BY CHRISTOPHER NEELY

Austin and cities across the coun- try are reimagining policing follow- ing weeks of outrage and heated demonstrations aimed at institu- tional racism, excessive use of force by police and racial bias. The latest push can be traced to Memorial Day in Minneapolis. On May 25, 46-year-old George Floyd was arrested under suspicion of using a forged $20 bill to pay for cig- arettes. Moments later, Floyd, a black man, was face down on the asphalt, handcuffed and crying for help as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Captured on camera by bystanders, Floyd lost con- sciousness, and his body went limp before Chauvin released his knee. Floyd was pronounced dead less than one hour later. The tragedy spurred protests in all 50 states. Inmanymajor cities, includ- ing Austin, the demonstrations grew violent, resulting in countless stories and videos of protesters sustaining significant injuries at the hands of police, which only attracted further scrutiny and criticism of police tactics and culture. During protests, citizens have demanded change and promises from policymakers to rethink policing in

The Austin Justice Coalition held its “Justice For Them All March” on June 7, which focused on police brutality, systemic inequity, and the history of institutional racism faced by people of color in East Austin. The event, which began at Huston-Tillotson University, Austin’s historically black university and oldest institution of higher learning, led crowds in the several thousands on a 1.5-mile peaceful march through East Seventh Street to Congress Avenue and up to the Texas Capitol. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

in the way the city operates feels fresh, he said. “What’s been happening here the last few weeks has been differ- ent from anything I’ve seen before,” Adler said. “What’s new is both the scale and urgency of what’s being discussed, the willingness of the com- munity to think outside the box and the possibility of reimagining [how we do things].” Initial demonstrations held in Aus- tin grew violent as police clashed with protesters, 11 of whom were injured by the bean bag bullets fired by police. Austin police’s tactics galvanized Austin City Council to hold a special called meeting June 4 to listen to residents about the experience. The meeting drew over 300 people wish- ing to weigh in. In a significant showof unity, Austin

City Council unanimously resolved June 11 to decrease next year’s police budget and reallocate those funds to social service initiatives. They also set stricter policies against the use of deadly force and the deployment of weapons on protesters, and they com- mitted to reducing the police depart- ment’s stockpile of “military-grade” equipment and the racial disparities in traffic stops. All 10 City Council members and the mayor also signed off on language that said they have “no confidence” that Austin’s police leadership intends to implement nec- essary changes. As it pertains to future funding of the city’s police department, Austin City Council is scheduled to have bud- get and tax rate public hearings July 23, 30 and August 4 before holding budget adoption meetings Aug. 12-14.

communities. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Floyd’s “horrific” death would “change the arc of the future of the United States.” Locally, Floyd’s death drew closer attention to the case of Austin resident Michael Ramos, a black man who was killed by officer Christopher Taylor on April 24 after police responded to a 911 call about people smoking “crack and crystal meth” inside a parked car and claiming the male in the driver’s seat was holding a firearm. Police later confirmed Ramos was unarmed. Tra- vis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said she will bring the case to a grand jury. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the cityhas beenworking onpolice reform and addressing institutional racism in “bits and pieces” for years. However, the energy behind fundamental shifts

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from Austin & Travis County

Sunset Valley and San Leanna receive COVID-19 funding fromTravis County

City of Austin will look to redraw its 10 council districts

NUMBER TOKNOW Numbers released June 9 by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport show the airport lost 96.6% of flight usage in April year-over-year as the nation dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. 96.6% The 2020 census survey process to count each person where they live is ongoing, and that data is sched- uled to be delivered to individual states no later than March 31, 2021. Based on the new data, a commission of Austin residents will redraw the city’s 10 council districts. The process will take place over two years with the new districts in place for the November 2022 City Council elections. The Texas Legislature will handle redistricting on a state and federal level in 2021. Texas is expected to gain at least three seats in the U.S. House of Repre- sentatives—a jump from 36 to 39. In 2010, Texas gained four seats.

BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE

Bee Cave, Lakeway, Cedar Park, Sunset Valley, San Leanna and other municipalities—been granted, it would have accounted for around $23 million of Travis County’s $61 million in CARES Act funds. CARES ACT FUNDING IN SOUTH AUSTIN Two South Austin entities were awarded CARES Act funding by Travis County on June 2.

TRAVIS COUNTY The County has allocated around $7.3 million in coronavirus relief aid to 21 munici- palities within the county following requests from small-city mayors for $23 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds. Relief funding could be used by cities to cover expenses directly related to COVID-19 response efforts. Travis County at a June 2 meeting voted unanimously commissioners unanimously to designate $55 per cap- ita to 21 municipalities that contribute approximately 133,344 individuals to Travis County’s total population. This amount was significantly less than the $174.79 per capita 16 local mayors had most recently urged the county to contribute in a letter submitted to Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe. Had that request—made by the mayors of Pflugerville, Rollingwood,

BY JACK FLAGLER

AUSTIN In 2014, Austin radically changed the shape of its city government. After nearly 200 years of electing council members from anywhere in the city with an at-large system, the city changed the makeup of its City Council to represent 10 geographic districts, along with the mayor, elected by all city residents, in the current 10-1 system. Those districts were drawn with the goal of making each one relatively equal in population. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data from 2010, they ranged from 77,650 residents in Southwest Austin’s District 8 to 82,381 in Northwest Austin’s District 10. Over the course of six years, Austin’s population has grown, and its demographics have changed.

SUNSET VALLEY $37,345

SAN LEANNA $28,160

SOURCE: TRAVIS COUNTY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from Dripping Springs & Travis County

CITY HIGHLIGHT TRAVIS COUNTY Commissioners approved a climate action plan in June, a step toward a collection of short and long-term goals to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and water use. The vote signifies the county’s commitment to track environmental progress. Austin City Council Meets July 30 at 10 a.m. 301 W. Second St., Austin www.austintexas.gov/department/ city-council Travis County Commissioners Court Meets Tuesdays at 9 a.m. 700 Lavaca St., Austin www.traviscountytx.gov/ commissioners-court Dripping Springs City Council Meets July 14 at 6:30 p.m. and July 21 at 6 p.m. 511 Mercer St., Dripping Springs www.cityofdrippingsprings.com Sunset Valley City Council Meets July 7 and 21 at 6 p.m. 3205 Jones Road, Sunset Valley www.sunsetvalley.org Meetings may be held virtually and not in person MEETINGSWE COVER

Fire in the Sky show moving to Sports & RecreationPark

SEEING

Travis County was one of the most responsive to the census of any Texas county as of the most recent data May 31.

There has been a

self-response rate in Travis County.

BY NICHOLAS CICALE

SOURCE: TRAVIS COUNTY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

DRIPPING SPRINGS The annual Fire in the Sky fireworks show will be based out of Dripping Springs Sports & Recreation Park this July 4, as the coronavirus pandemic has required organizers to revamp the community event. Organizer and former state Rep. Jason Isaac told City Council on June 9 that the move to Dripping Springs Sports & Recreation Park will allow for fireworks to be launched from a location that is more centralized for the city than Ranch Park, where the event has been held in the past. This would allow more residents to see the show from the downtown area. The park will be closed during the event, and areas including downtown Mercer Street and large parking lots may be used for viewing.

Census officials use grassroots deep dive to reach residents in southeast Travis County

BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE

are Hispanic or Latino. Travis County’s Hispanic-Latino Commu- nity Complete Count Committee, chaired by Precinct 4 Constable George Morales, employed targeted outreach to the area. According to Lawler, the Montopolis and Riverside census tract saw response increase from 27.8% to 35.8% between April 28 and May 18, growth he attributed to the committee’s efforts. “We can actually see on a neighborhood level the impact that our effort made on folks getting counted,” Lawler said.

TRAVIS COUNTY Census work- ers continue to pursue historically hard-to-count groups and are seeing positive results in majority Hispanic-Latino areas of southeast- ern Travis County. In a June 9 update to county commissioners, John Lawler, Travis County census programmanager, used the Montopolis and Riverside area of Southeast Austin as a case study of successful census grass- roots outreach initiatives. That census tract accounts for 3,247 households, of which 86.1%

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