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Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism
 

Stories by Seth Smalley

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Procedural change sparks disagreement at Commissioners Court

Travis County commissioners approved a revision last week to the Commissioners Court agenda setting procedure. Now, any agenda item that will have a budgetary impact must first go through the Planning and Budget Office for analysis before a vote. While…

County, nonprofits prepare to administer supportive housing resolution

The Travis County Commissioners Court met for a work session Thursday to review the ongoing, federally funded affordable housing initiatives in the Austin area. Multiple nonprofits are preparing to build supportive housing in Travis County using federal American Rescue Plan…

Growing jail populace in Travis County, review finds

The Travis County jail population is increasing, according to a recent report from Justice Planning. The uptick is largely due to increases in the number of first- and second-degree felony charges and the average length of stay for those bookings. The jail…

County to add paid parental leave for employees, but will it be enough?

Tomorrow, the Travis County Commissioners Court will take action on a paid parental leave policy for all county workers, but with multiple policies still to choose from, the magnitude and impact of how they decide remains uncertain. While county staff…

Early April is for respecting public health, county decrees

In a retroactive move that was unanimously approved last Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court proclaimed the week of April 4 Public Health Week. According to the American Public Health Association, the first week of April each year is National…

Travis County to make improvements to substandard county roads

There are about 108 miles of substandard, unmaintained and “often unpaved” roads in Travis County, according to a recently circulated county document. The Travis County Commissioners Court passed a resolution Tuesday to improve these roads, specifically by increasing funding for…

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As housing protections expire, Travis County observes bump in evictions

Travis County is seeing a wave, not a tsunami of evictions, according to Precinct 5 Judge Nick Chu. A more substantial increase in evictions had been forecast as federal and local eviction protections wore off. But last Tuesday, the judge…

Travis County explores impact of legal representation during intake process

Travis County and Texas A&M are teaming up to administer a pilot study that will examine the effects of providing arrestees with legal counsel at first appearance. On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court received an update on the upcoming…

Travis County study finds it's cheaper to prevent than clean up illegal dumping

Travis County’s illegal dumping problem could be solved with a quick fix, a recent study suggests. By spending more on preemptive measures, the county could save money and prevent illegal dumping, thus solving two problems with a single stroke. At…

Travis County Judge speaks out against Texas voting law

Last Thursday, Travis County Judge Andy Brown joined a U.S. House subcommittee, Committee on House Administration, to speak against Senate Bill 1, the new Republican voting legislation aimed at limiting the effectiveness of alternative voting methods like voting by mail.…

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Compensation Committee suggests countywide pay increases

On Tuesday, Travis County’s Compensation Committee recommended funding a benchmark study to examine and eventually implement competitive pay rates for over 100 county jobs, in addition to an across-the-board pay scale increase for the 2023 fiscal year. The two recommendations…

Roadway changes coming soon to a transit corridor near you

Transit authorities convened Wednesday morning to announce several long-anticipated city changes to clear the way for the Orange and Blue lines, two stretches of light rail that are part of Project Connect, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s multibillion-dollar transit infrastructure project.…

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