Stories by Seth Smalley

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Commissioners Court fields next year’s budget plan

On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court fielded a budget process explanation for the 2022 fiscal year from Travis Gatlin and Jessica Rio with the Planning and Budget Office. While the first revenue estimates from the adopted budget sat at…

Friday, June 18, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Travis and Bexar counties proceed with plans to electrify vehicle fleets

Travis and Bexar counties are making moves to electrify their vehicle fleets as part of a partnership with the South Central Texas Electric Transportation Compact. In hopes of serving as a model for other counties in the region, the two…

Thursday, June 17, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Brand refresh ushers Cap Metro into coming decade

At the May 24 meeting of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, Brian Carter, whose title is chief experience and engagement officer, presented the transit agency’s brand refresh proposal to board members. “Over the last couple of years,…

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 by Seth Smalley

After public condemnation, county to rework correctional master plan

A highly anticipated Travis County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday was more contentious than usual and lasted later into the evening to accommodate hours of public comments criticizing a plan to allocate $80 million to fund a new women’s jail. Though…

Thursday, June 10, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Commissioners clap back at justice advocates protesting county jail plan

The Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday responded to pushback from criminal justice reform advocates upset at the county’s plan to approve a $4.2 million design contract for a new women’s jail. While commissioners ultimately decided to delay the motion…

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Criminal justice reformers push back on county jail renovations

Just outside the Travis County Commissioners Court at 700 Lavaca St. yesterday, a number of criminal justice reform groups held a press conference to protest Travis County’s plan to spend $600 million on construction and renovation of new jail facilities…

Monday, June 7, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Cap Metro board fields updates on Project Connect

At the May 24 Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors meeting, board members heard updates on the progress of Project Connect. Presenters displayed images of partial plans for the Blue Line – called “15 percent design drawings” – and…

Thursday, June 3, 2021 by Seth Smalley

County budget office weighs up new correctional complex

At their May 27 work session, Travis County commissioners fielded a presentation on the 20-year road map for the Travis County Correctional Complex. Representatives from the Planning and Budget Office, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, and the Justice Planning Department…

Friday, May 28, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Environmental Commission hears plans for Austin CCC

The Environmental Commission convened May 19 to discuss a variety of topics, among them an overview of the Austin Civilian Conservation Corps program. The Civilian Conservation Corps – or Triple C – was created by a City Council resolution that…

Friday, May 28, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Joint Sustainability Committee looks at trends during flooding and extreme heat

On Wednesday, researchers Patrick Bixler, Diana Joyce Ojeda and Jessica Jones presented an update on sustainability indicators – particularly the effects of flooding and extreme heat in the Austin area – to the Joint Sustainability Committee. The research focuses on…

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 by Seth Smalley

County scrapes together budget for a pass-through project

Last week, the Travis County Commissioners Court fielded a briefing regarding funding for the FM 969 pass-through from the county Public Works Division. David Greear, the assistant public works director, presented an overview of the project to commissioners. Public Works…

Monday, May 17, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Budget report reveals Capital Metro has money to spare

On May 12, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority CFO Reinet Marneweck presented the financial report for the 2021 fiscal year to the Capital Metro Board of Directors. The report covered revenue, operating expenses and Capital Metro sales tax as they relate…

Thursday, May 13, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Report depicts the state of poverty in Travis County

On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court fielded discussion from Health and Human Services on the state of poverty in Travis County. Rochelle Olivares, April Klein and Lawrence Lyman, the core informing team of the HHS Research and Planning Division, presented a…

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Vaccination in the county continues to soar, as FDA approves Pfizer for kids

The Travis County Commissioners Court and Austin City Council convened Tuesday to receive updates from interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott on the Covid-19 vaccination progress in the region. Thirty-eight percent of individuals in Travis County were fully vaccinated as…

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Environmental Commission mulls Brackenridge redevelopment

The Environmental Commission fielded discussion on May 5 regarding redevelopment plans for the Brackenridge Hospital site, a 14-acre area located at 601 E. 15th St. Since the hospital historically treated indigent people in the Austin area, City Council decided that…

Friday, May 7, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Environmental commissioners review emissions reduction plan

The Environmental Commission fielded discussion Tuesday on the Austin Emissions Reduction Plan. Phoebe Romero, the environmental program coordinator with the Office of Sustainability, presented alongside Christiane Alepuz, the services program coordinator with the Capital Area Council of Governments Regional Planning…

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 by Seth Smalley

As housing prices soar, corporations exploit legal paths to challenge appraisals

The Travis County Commissioners Court fielded a discussion Tuesday from the Travis Central Appraisal District that touched on a number of issues, from legislative outlook related to property appraisal reform to Austin’s meteoric growth and its effects on the state of…

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Capital Metro considers in-house police force

Last year, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Randy Clarke asked the American Public Transportation Association to convene a peer review of Capital Metro’s public safety program, one of a variety of services provided by APTA. The methodology of the review…

Friday, April 30, 2021 by Seth Smalley

In Earth Day win, Environmental Commission sides with salamanders over developer

At its April 21 meeting, the Environmental Commission fielded discussion over a wastewater service extension request (SER) from a prospective developer of a property located at FM 620 and Anderson Mill Road. Kaela Champlin, an environmental program coordinator with the…

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Joint council mulls ‘once in a generation’ ARPA funding for region

The Commissioners Court joined City Council Tuesday to discuss the allocation of federal funding granted by the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. Ralph Garboushian, a career municipal consultant, described the level of local funding from ARPA as “once in a…

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