Thursday, December 10, 2020

News from

City of Austin - News and Events
News from the City of Austin, Texas

Amigos en Azul brings joy to children with the 18th annual Shop with a Cop Event

Dec 10, 2020 02:34 pm

Members of Amigos en Azul will host Shop with a Cop at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 12, 2020 at the Target store in the Southpark Meadows shopping center located at 9500 S IH-35. Children will arrive around 11 a.m. and officers will hand out gift cards when they arrive.
This year, due to the pandemic, the kids will not be paired up with officers. Instead, parents will be with them and they will have the option of going into the store and shopping or going home to shop online.
During the holidays, Amigos en Azul provides disadvantaged students from area elementary schools the opportunity to shop for themselves or their family members. This year, roughly 60 children from Houston, St. Elmo and Perez elementary schools were chosen to participate. The Shop with a Cop program creates a positive environment in which elementary school students can socialize with officers and reinforce the fact that police officers are friends in the community. 
Santa Claus will not make an appearance this year, due to the pandemic. For lunch this year, each child will be given a McDonald's gift card that they may use when the like.
Other organizations participating and assisting in this program include Target stores, the Crystal Horton Group, Shop Core Properties, Velocity Federal Credit Union, Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union, Dunkin Donuts, Austin Cops for Charities, Austin Police Women's Association, McDonald's, and the Lesbian and Gay Peace Officer's Association.
Amigos en Azul, or "Friends in Blue," was founded in 1982 to better bridge the gap between the Hispanic community and the Austin Police Department. Every year they:

  • Award scholarships to area high school students
  • Encourage recruitment of youth into law enforcement careers and provide a progressive image with which they can identify
  • Stimulate by word and deed a more positive identification with law enforcement on behalf of the entire Austin community
  • Improve the lines of communication between Spanish speaking people in the community and law enforcement.
  • Involved in the established police-community relation programs with the Austin community in adherence to Austin Police Department policies.
  • Volunteer in the community conducting outreach programs and crime prevention

Austin Police Operation Blue Santa pick up dates, times and locations

Dec 10, 2020 02:33 pm

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin Police Operation Blue Santa has made the tough decision not to deliver toys and meals to families this year. Instead, gift cards will be given to each child, along with a $25 gift card to H-E-B, so their families can afford a special holiday meal. We are also delighted to partner with soldiers from Ft. Hood's 89th MP Brigade who will be assisting APD on all pick up days.
Austin Police Operation Blue Santa recipients will be able to pick up their gift cards on December 12, 13 and 14, between the hours of 8 a.m. – noon and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. each day at the location applicants chose: Nelson Field (North) or 4101 South Industrial Drive (South).  Anyone with questions about the pick-up process is invited to contact 512-974-5800 or email
Important information for applicants to remember:

  • Come only on the day/time/location you selected.
  • Please be prepared with the phone number you used when applying.
  • Bring a form of photo ID. 

COVID-19 safety requirements for applicants:

  • Applicants will be required to wear a mask.
  • Remain in your car and follow instructions until you reach the front of the line. Then you may exit your vehicle.
  • Only the applicant can get out of the car and pick up the gift cards.
  • There will be no restrooms available. 

Applicants who were sponsored by the Adopt a Family program will be served by a private sponsor and are not eligible for gift cards.

We still have families that need to be adopted. If you are interested in adopting a family, please email for more information. These are families that might not otherwise be served. 
APD has been participating in Austin Police Operation Blue Santa since 1972, and even though this, our 48th year is different, many families still need our help.

Learn more about how you can show your support by visiting the Austin Police Operation Blue Santa's website, Your assistance could make a difference for a child and their family this holiday season.
Austin Police Operation Blue Santa appreciates all donations, and you can also show your support by participating in the upcoming events that are listed on the website,  

Austin Water Multifamily Customer Assistance Program Discount Receives Council Approval

Dec 10, 2020 02:01 pm

AUSTIN – An estimated 23,000 customers will soon be eligible for financial assistance thanks to a new plan proposed by Austin Water. Earlier today, Austin City Council approved the plan which provides low-income and vulnerable Austinites living in apartments and other multifamily dwellings with financial assistance to offset a portion of their monthly water/wastewater expenses. The implementation of the Austin Water Multifamily Customer Assistance Program Discount will take place over the next several months. Qualified customers can expect a savings of more $200 annually with credits to their utility bill beginning as early as March 2021.

"This program will expand the services available to help vulnerable Austinites and it demonstrates the City's commitment to improving affordability in Austin," said Austin City Manager, Spencer Cronk. "I commend Austin Water for their continued work in providing high quality and affordable water and wastewater services."

"We are here to serve and improve our community," said Greg Meszaros, Director of Austin Water. "Our commitment to addressing affordability applies to everyone, both renters and home-owners alike. This new Multifamily Customer Assistance Program Discount enhances our ability to help low-income customers who may not receive a bill directly from Austin Water, but still depend on high-quality water and wastewater services every day."

Austin Water conducted a multi-year study to develop the Austin Water Multifamily Customer Assistance Program Discount. The work was specifically tailored to reach customers who reside in apartment complexes and other multifamily dwellings who are traditionally ineligible for Austin Water financial assistance through the Customer Assistance Program (CAP). Though Austin Water's CAP program is considered among the best in the country, it primarily operates on a per-gallon basis that is tracked by a dedicated water meter. The new program allows Austin Water to reach vulnerable customers who do not have a dedicated water meter, but nevertheless, pay for monthly water service.

The Austin Water Multifamily Customer Assistance Program Discount will be implemented in two phases. During the first phase, Austin Water will partner with Austin Energy to identify customers who meet both of the following criteria:

  1. They reside in an apartment complex or other multifamily dwelling that receives services from Austin Water.
  2. They receive financial assistance from Austin Energy with their electric utility bill.

Qualified customers will be eligible to receive the Austin Water Multifamily Customer Assistance Program Discount on their monthly Austin Energy utility bill. Customers identified in this first phase would make up the bulk of the program's overall eligible participants. A second smaller phase will be required to reach a small fraction of customers in Austin's outskirts who receive water service from Austin Water, but who are not Austin Energy customers.

For more information and a complete list of financial assistance, customers are encouraged to visit

The Austin Water Multifamily Customer Assistance Program Discount is one example of the many affordability initiatives Austin Water has introduced over the years. While many water utilities across the country have increased rates by as much as 5 percent year-over-year, Austin Water reduced rates in 2018 and has not increased them since. In addition, the utility offers rate reductions for CAP customers, generous rebates, programs to help low-income families with plumbing repairs, and more.

The utility also continues to find savings through cost containment, debt management, and innovations in technology and processes. These cost savings are then passed along to customers. In 2020 alone, Austin Water sold bonds to refinance existing debt at lower interest rates and locked in a series of near-zero interest loans to make capital investments in infrastructure while saving ratepayers millions in financing costs.

2020 City of Austin Code Department Customer Survey Results Now Available

Dec 09, 2020 10:12 pm

Austin, TX – In October 2020, we asked customers who have used our services within the past year to invest a few minutes to answer our customer satisfaction survey. 

We extend our sincere thanks to those who invested their time to complete the survey. The purpose of the survey is to identify areas where our programs and services are currently succeeding and serve as a guide to highlight areas where our department can improve. Austin Code selected ETC Institute as our independent partner for administering this survey and they have presented their results to us which we, in turn, make them available for your review.

Click Here to View the Results (PDF)

Our customer's feedback is taken into consideration as we continue to create and evaluate programs and initiatives that align with our pursuit for a safer and greater Austin. Our action plan includes an internal evaluation of the collected feedback, an assessment of areas of improvement, and the implementation of applicable feedback to improve our customer service outcomes. For transparency, we will continue to communicate with our customers the ways their feedback is considered in the way we conduct business.

To learn more about the programs and services provided by the Austin Code Department, visit

Austin SAVES Fund to Distribute COVID-19 Relief Dollars to Local Live Music Venues

Dec 09, 2020 07:54 pm

Applications open Friday, December 11 at

AUSTIN, TX - The City of Austin Economic Development Department announces the launch of the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund. The Austin City Council established the $15 million Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (SAVES) Fund through Ordinance No. 20201001-052. Austin City Council adopted the final guidelines for the $5 million Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund on December 3, 2020 via Resolution No. 20200103-013. As part of a partnership with the City of Austin, the Long Center for the Performing Arts will provide application assistance, process applications, and administer funds.

"Live music venues strengthen our cultural and economic ecosystem and contribute to Austin's international appeal," notes Veronica Briseño, Austin's Chief Economic Recovery Officer. "Our team worked with the Long Center to quickly open the application portal one week after Council approved the guidelines. Our goal is to have the money flow to live music venues before the end of the month. This critical support will help sustain our music venues until it is safe for them to reopen."

Eligible live music venues must be located in a City of Austin City Council District; must meet the City's definition of a live music venue; and must have significantly reduced operations since March 2020. Applicants must also meet or exceed the City's COVID-19 safety guidelines, which can be found online at

"The Long Center is excited to be able to support the City and our music community by providing this critical community service. This opportunity aligns with our strategic goals to serve as a conduit and resource to the creative sector and a partner supporting the City's efforts," said Cory Baker, President & CEO of the Long Center. "As the creative community continues to struggle through the pandemic, preserving performance spaces across the city is vital. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get assistance out quickly."

The Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund will be distributed in two phases:

Phase 1: Emergency Funding

  • Eligible applicants experiencing immediate risk of closure will receive a $20,000 grant, which the Long Center will distribute in December 2020.
  • Services that will be available to venues receiving emergency funding include: legal and accounting services; real estate advice and guidance on lease negotiations; and other professional services and long-term planning from community experts. 

Phase 2: Enhanced Funding

  • Eligible applicants can apply for additional grant funding up to $140,000 (this does not include funds received from the first phase).
  • Grant recipients must complete a technical assistance evaluation and an Equity Strategic Plan in order to apply for more funds during the second phase.
  • The funding will be distributed in monthly payments with a maximum of $40,000 per month.

Application Opens:

Friday, December 11, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Application Closes:

Monday, January 11, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.

How to Apply

Application and eligibility guidelines available online at

For eligibility questions and application assistance, contact the Long Center by email or by phone 512-457-5181.

Austin SAVES Fund distribuirá dólares de alivio de COVID-19 a locales de música en vivo

El periodo de solicitud abre el viernes 11 de diciembre en

AUSTIN, TX - El Departamento de Desarrollo Económico de la Ciudad de Austin anuncia el lanzamiento del Fondo de Preservación de Locales de Música en Vivo de Austin. El Consejo de la Ciudad de Austin estableció el Fondo de $15 millones, llamado "Salvando los Sectores Económicos Vitales de Austin" (SAVES, por sus siglas en inglés), a través de la Ordenanza No. 20201001-052. El Consejo adoptó las pautas finales para el Fondo de Preservación de Locales de Música en Vivo de Austin de $5 millones el 3 de diciembre de 2020 mediante la Resolución No. 20200103-013. Como parte de una asociación con la ciudad de Austin, el Long Center brindará asistencia con las solicitudes, procesará las solicitudes y administrará los fondos.

"Los locales de música en vivo fortalecen nuestro ecosistema cultural y económico y contribuyen al atractivo internacional de Austin", señala Veronica Briseño, directora de recuperación económica de Austin. "Nuestro equipo trabajó con el Long Center para abrir rápidamente el portal de aplicaciones una semana después de que el Consejo aprobó las pautas. Nuestro objetivo es que el dinero fluya hacia los locales de música en vivo antes de fin de mes. Este apoyo fundamental ayudará a mantener en pie a nuestros locales de música hasta que sea seguro reabrirlos".

Los locales de música en vivo elegibles deberán estar ubicados en un distrito del Consejo de la Ciudad de Austin; deberán cumplir con la definición de la ciudad de "locales de música en vivo"; y deberán haber reducido significativamente las operaciones desde marzo de 2020. Los solicitantes también deberán cumplir o superar las pautas de seguridad contra el COVID-19 de la ciudad, las cuales están disponibles en línea en

"En el Long Center estamos entusiasmados de poder apoyar a la Ciudad y a nuestra comunidad musical al brindar este servicio comunitario crítico. Esta oportunidad va de la mano con nuestros objetivos estratégicos de servir como conducto y recurso para el sector creativo y de ser socios que apoyan los esfuerzos de la ciudad", aseguró Cory Baker, presidente y directora ejecutiva del Long Center. "A medida que la comunidad creativa continúa luchando contra la pandemia, es vital preservar los espacios escénicos alrededor de la ciudad. Estamos listos para ponernos a trabajar y dar ayuda rápidamente".

El Fondo de Preservación de Locales de Música en Vivo de Austin se distribuirá en dos fases:

Fase 1: Financiamiento de Emergencia

  • Los solicitantes elegibles que experimenten un riesgo inmediato de cierre recibirán una subvención de $20,000 que el Long Center distribuirá en diciembre de 2020.
  • Los servicios que estarán disponibles para los locales que reciben fondos de emergencia incluyen servicios legales y de contabilidad; asesoramiento y orientación inmobiliaria en negociaciones de arrendamiento; y otros servicios profesionales de planificación a largo plazo por expertos de la comunidad.

Fase 2: Financiamiento Aumentado

  • Los solicitantes elegibles pueden solicitar una subvención adicional de hasta $140,000 (no incluye los fondos recibidos de la primera fase).
  • Los beneficiarios de la subvención deben completar una evaluación de asistencia técnica y un Plan Estratégico de Equidad para poder solicitar más fondos durante la segunda fase.
  • Los fondos se distribuirán en pagos mensuales con un máximo de $40,000 por mes.

Fecha de Apertura de Solicitud:

Viernes 11 de diciembre de 2020 a las 10:00 a.m.

Fecha de Cierre de Solicitud:

Lunes 11 de enero de 2021 a las 5:00 p.m.

Cómo Aplicar

Las pautas de solicitud y elegibilidad están disponibles en línea en

Para preguntas sobre elegibilidad y asistencia con la solicitud, comuníquese con Long Center por correo electrónico a  o por teléfono al 512-457-5181.


About the City of Austin Economic Development Department

The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit or like us on Facebook @AustinEconDev and follow @AustinEconDev on Twitter.

Información sobre el Departamento de Desarrollo Económico de la Ciudad de Austin

El Departamento de Desarrollo Económico de la Ciudad de Austin apoya el crecimiento de los negocios, las industrias creativas y las comunidades locales. Estos programas construyen una economía equitativa y sostenible para mejorar las vidas de todos los residentes de Austin. Para aprender más sobre recursos útiles, visite o síganos en @AustinEconDev en Facebook y @AustinEconDev en Twitter.

About the Long Center for Performing Arts

For Austinites of every background, the Long Center is the community gathering place that offers the most diverse programming and stunning views of the city, so that together, everyone can experience remarkable live arts and entertainment. The Long Center is dedicated to elevating Austin's creative sector, serving artists across Austin, including creative organizations, musicians and performing artists, with both performance spaces and professional assistance.

Acerca del Long Center para las Artes Escénicas

Para los residentes de Austin de todos los orígenes, el Long Center es el lugar de reunión de la comunidad que ofrece la programación más diversa y las mejores vistas de la ciudad, para que juntos, todos puedan experimentar extraordinarias artes y entretenimiento en vivo. El Long Center está dedicado a elevar el sector creativo de Austin, sirviendo a artistas en todo Austin, incluidas organizaciones creativas, músicos y artistas, con espacios escénicos y asistencia profesional.