St. Elmo Service Center among new solar panel sites

The City of Austin has authorized a contract for the installation of solar panels at seven city facilities.

The initiative is estimated to cut energy costs by $14,150 a year, which according to the city is equal to planting 3,044 trees.

The facilities include three libraries, two recreation centers, an administrative building at the Health and Human Services Department's main campus and Austin Energy's St. Elmo Service Center.

Nonprofit kicks off 2012 Community Tax Centers

Foundation Communities introduced two new services at its Community Tax Centers, including the 2600 W. Stassney Lane location.

One new service includes assisting Bastrop fire victims file disaster loss deductions at the Bastrop Tax Center. The second is a partnership with the City of Austin to increase savings bond purchases.

The Community Tax Center program offers free tax preparation services for families and individuals earning up to $50,000 per year.

Theater improves backstage

Improvements will be made to the Zilker Hillside Theatre in Zilker Park, including the expansion of the stage to provide additional backstage space for storage and stage designs. This will allow room for the future addition of restrooms and indoor storage.

The Austin City Council approved the agreement between the Parks and Recreation Department and Zilker Theatre Productions for the roughly $275,000 project.

The city will contribute $175,000 toward the improvements, while Zilker Theatre Productions will design, engineer and construct an expansion to the Zilker Hillside.