Stories by Jack Craver

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by Jack Craver

Facing revenue caps, Travis County ponders how to raise employee pay

With lean years ahead due to state limits on property tax revenue, the Travis County Commissioners Court is grappling with how to effectively and responsibly boost pay for county employees.On Tuesday, the commissioners discussed what they would like to do…

Monday, August 5, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County, city of Austin ramp up census efforts

Travis County and the city of Austin are mounting an aggressive effort to make sure the 2020 U.S. census count is as complete and accurate as possible.The county and city are collaborating by jointly funding a temporary position “to energize…

Friday, August 2, 2019 by Jack Craver

Commissioners approve ‘pause’ on economic incentives

Looking ahead to years of belt-tightening due to property tax limits put in place by the state, Travis County leaders say the county may not be able to afford offering tax incentives to companies to create jobs locally.The Commissioners Court…

Thursday, August 1, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County commissioners give themselves pay raise

The Travis County Commissioners Court moved to significantly increase salaries for itself and other top elected officials over the vociferous objections of one of its members.On Tuesday, the court voted 4-1 to approve setting aside money in the upcoming budget…

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County approves final application for public defender’s office

On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court gave final approval to an application for state funding to set up a public defender’s office.While there are a couple of details that the court hopes to nail down in the coming days,…

Friday, July 26, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County eyes hotel tax to renovate expo center

The Travis County Commissioners Court made a move Tuesday that could put it in direct competition with the city of Austin for millions of dollars of future revenue from hotel stays.The three commissioners present voted unanimously to ask county staff…

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 by Jack Craver

County unveils $1.19 billion preliminary budget

Travis County budget staff unveiled the preliminary draft of the county’s 2019-20 budget Tuesday. This year’s budget is particularly important since it’s the last one the Commissioners Court will approve before tough new restrictions on property tax revenue kick in…

Thursday, July 18, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County approves long-range transportation plan

At long last, Travis County has a long-range transportation plan. The Commissioners Court voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt the Travis County Transportation Blueprint, which lays out a vision for infrastructure in unincorporated parts of Travis County over the next quarter-century.Today…

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by Jack Craver

Despite property tax limits, Travis County remains committed to public defender’s office

The Travis County Commissioners Court took another step Tuesday toward creating the county’s first public defender’s office. The court voted 4-1 to provide additional information to a state agency that is considering providing a multimillion-dollar grant to the county to…

Friday, July 12, 2019 by Jack Craver

County approves new Steiner Ranch evacuation route over neighborhood opposition

The Travis County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a new emergency route to help residents of Steiner Ranch escape the community in the event of wildfires.The 600-foot road, known as Route B, will connect Flat Top Ranch Road…

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by Jack Craver

Eckhardt proposes land swap with city for Palm School

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is willing to give the city of Austin the historic Palm School building. But she wants a lot in return.In a July 3 letter addressed to Mayor Steve Adler and City Council, Eckhardt proposed a…

Monday, June 24, 2019 by Jack Craver

Despite revenue caps, Travis County moves ahead with pay hikes

Travis County government spending has not increased much in recent years. Expenditures over the past two years, when the Commissioners Court voted to increase property tax revenue by 6 percent and 5 percent, have been unusually high. The court has…

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County changes course on electronic monitoring

The electronic monitoring business just got a little bit more competitive in Travis County. The Commissioners Court voted unanimously Tuesday to abandon its practice of allowing only a single company to provide tracking devices to those accused or convicted of…

Monday, June 10, 2019 by Jack Craver

Why does one company get all of Travis County’s electronic monitoring business?

In recent years, Travis County has seen an increase in the number of people released from jail on bail on condition that they wear some type of monitoring device, whether it tracks their location or detects the presence of alcohol.This…

Thursday, June 6, 2019 by Jack Craver

County looks at increasing minimum wage

Generally, the city of Austin and Travis County view each other as partners, not competitors. However, when it comes to attracting and retaining talented employees, the two can’t help but compete.That’s why the Travis County Human Resources Department periodically analyzes…

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County commissioners endorse preserving Palm School

Supporters of preserving the Palm School won a partial victory Tuesday when the Travis County Commissioners Court voted unanimously in favor of restrictions that will prevent the historic building from being demolished by a future landowner.However, the issue of who…

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County sees big increase in electronic monitoring

Travis County has seen its incarcerated population drop dramatically in recent years, due in large part to policy changes aimed at keeping low-level drug offenders out of jail.As of April 2019, the average daily jail population stood at 2,143, a…

Monday, June 3, 2019 by Jack Craver

Cap Metro to debut new ride-hailing service in Manor

On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved funding a new ride-hailing project in Manor run by Capital Metro. The service, called Pickup, aims to provide residents of Austin’s fastest-growing suburb an alternative to driving that is more reliable…

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County contemplates small wins, big losses at Legislature

Every week while the state Legislature is in session, Travis County’s chief lobbyist, Deece Eckstein, briefs members of the Commissioners Court on the bills that might affect the county. In recent months, the weekly briefing has usually been bleak, but…

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County offers free bus rides to jurors

In a city as car-dependent as Austin, you might think a free parking spot would be the least Travis County could offer people traveling downtown to perform jury service.And yet, the Travis County website makes clear that those performing that…

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