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TipSheet: Travis County, 4.5.16

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

The Travis County Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda here. The County Clerk’s office hosts a copy at its website.

4. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the issuance of a Mass Gathering Permit for Levitation to be held April 29 – May 2, 2016, at 9507 Sherman Road, Austin, Texas 78742. (Judge Eckhardt & Commissioner Gomez)

Monitor’s Take: The Court continues to iron out the wrinkles in Levitation’s request for a mass gathering permit. Neighbors’ concerns over traffic appear to have been mollified, and organizers’ request to allow after-hours music performances in the festival’s camping area have drawn scrutiny but not outright hostility from the Court, so it’s a reasonably safe assumption that the permit will be released. However, Judge Sarah Eckhardt has indicated she is in no rush to approve it, so there’s also a reasonably safe chance that the Court won’t take any action on Tuesday.

14. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the following for the new Medical Examiner facility to be located at 7723 Springdale Road, Austin, Texas: a. Declaration of Easements and Restrictive Covenants Regarding the Maintenance of Drainage Facilities for the New Travis County Medical Examiner Building; and b. Sidewalk, Trail, and Recreational Easement. (Commissioner Daugherty & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This housekeeping item isn’t terribly interesting, but it does serve as a reminder that the county is moving ahead with construction on a brand new headquarters for the Medical Examiner’s Office. The building will be out on Springdale Road and U.S. Highway 290 and, per this item, will apparently feature a sidewalk.

20. Ratify Modification No. 20 to Interlocal Agreement No. 4400000372, Austin Travis County Integral Care and the City of Austin for Substance Abuse Services. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: This contract modification renews the tripartite between the county, the city of Austin, and Austin Travis County Integral Care to have that nonprofit drug abuse treatment services in the community. The contract will be good from October of this year to September 2017. The county is pitching in $1,353,799 to the effort, while the city’s share is $175,000.

22. Approve Modification No. 4 to Contract No. 4400001874, Flintco, LLC for Ronald Earle Office Building and Parking Garage. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: We can already sense Commissioner Gerald Daugherty’s hackles rising. The Precinct 3 Republican last year opposed the Ronnie Earle Office Building — slated to be the new home of the District Attorney’s Office — and offered repeated predictions of a ballooning price tag during construction due to unforeseen circumstances. Here then is the fourth modification to the contract with the builder that cites “unforeseen conditions” at the site for a requested $192,090 increase in the cost, which now stands at $42,793,302, or several bucks more than the $42,487,620 the Court approved last year.

27. Consider and take appropriate action on information regarding rule changes proposed by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: According to the backup material, the county stands to lose nearly $2 million under new rules proposed by the DMV. A letter from County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant declares his intention to fight against the proposals, and a draft letter from Eckhardt that the court will presumably vote to endorse would urge the DMV’s board to withhold on enacting the new rules.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Travis County Commissioners Court: The legislative body for Travis County. It includes representatives from the four Travis County Precincts, as well as the County Judge. The County Judge serves as the chair of the Court.

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