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TipSheet: Travis County, 1.03.17

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 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.

2. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the issuance of a mass gathering permit for Euphoria Music Festival to be held on April 6–10, 2017, at 9507 Sherman Road, Austin, Texas 78742. (Judge Eckhardt; Commissioner Gomez)

Monitor’s Take: Two weeks ago, the Court declined to take action on this permit for a music festival at Carson Creek Ranch because the application was apparently incomplete. Things may have changed since then, but if history is any indicator, it’s still likely that Judge Sarah Eckhardt will once again forego a definitive decision in order to give any stakeholders a chance to have their opinions heard.

14. Consider and take appropriate action on the DNA testing issues in the Austin Police Department Forensics Services Division, DNA Unit. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: It’s all fun and games until your city’s DNA forensics lab goes belly up thanks to poor practices. Since the county is liable to feel the brunt of the fallout, Eckhardt and the Court have been leading the way on finding out what caused the failures and figuring out a long-term solution. Both steps will require partnering with the City of Austin as well as hiring outside experts.

18. Consider and take appropriate action on the following regarding the Bella Fortuna Public Improvement District (PID): Setting a public hearing on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, to receive comments on a petition to create the Bella Fortuna PID. Publishing notice of the public hearing. Mailing written notice of the hearing to affected parties (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: After hearing the details of this proposed development at its final meeting of 2016, the Court is expected to begin the process of formally approving the PID designation. Watch for affordability issues to take center stage in any future discussions.

19. Consider and take appropriate action on the Civil & Family Courts Capacity Project, including update on transfer of ownership of the historic federal courthouse. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Didja hear about the county winning its bid to take over the old U.S. Courthouse in downtown Austin? The victory is a mere band-aid on the capacity problem at the Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse, but every bit of help matters, though there are some influential voices who are upset with the $28 million plan.

23. Consider and take appropriate action on the following requests in Precinct One: Plat for recording: Jakes Hill Road Final Plat (long form final plat – one total lot – Jakes Hill Road – City of Pflugerville ETJ). Subdivision construction agreement between Travis County and SLF IV – Blackhawk, L.P. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: This might be a fairly mundane procedural vote, but it’s worth noting because it puts the spotlight on brand new Precinct 1 Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion.

34. Consider and take appropriate action on letter and resolution regarding the possible demolition of the Montopolis Negro School, a historic segregated Travis County school. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: It appears that the Court is proceeding apace with an intervention in City of Austin policy. Two weeks ago, activists implored the Court to urge the city to block a developer’s plan to relocate the Montopolis Negro School in favor of more housing. While the county itself has no power in the matter, a request by the Court to save the building has significant weight. Maybe?

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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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