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TipSheet: Travis County, 1.05.16

Tuesday, January 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.

6. Receive update from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office on jail diversion efforts for offenders with mental health issues and community-based correctional healthcare. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Judge Sarah Eckhardt has beaten the drum before on the importance of mental health issues and the criminal justice system and all four Democratic candidates for Travis County Sheriff have echoed those concerns on the campaign trail in one form or another. According to the report attached as backup material on this agenda item, the Sheriff’s Office has seen the number of inmates with mental health issues double since January 2011.

7. Receive monitoring report for Travis County School Lands, Throckmorton County Property. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: You might be surprised to learn that Travis County taxpayers own more than four entire leagues of land up in Throckmorton County — that’s nearly 19,000 acres, for those of our readers who weren’t 18th artillery commanders. The land is used primarily for grazing and hunting leases, though there has been talk of further monetizing it through wind power projects. All money made from the land goes towards Travis County school districts. According to a preview of the report the Commissioner Court will hear on Tuesday, 2015’s heavy rains really spruced the place up.

9. Receive briefing and take appropriate action on progress related to a Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse Preservation Master Plan. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Despite the voters’ rejection last year of a specific plan to replace the Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse, it must be replaced. That’s why county planners are preparing the HMS building for its next role as a largely historical artifact. The proposal so far, which must still be approved by the Texas Historical Commission to qualify for state funding, includes removing a large chunk of later additions made to the building after it was first built in the 1930s.

16. Approve Modification No. 3 to Contract No. 4400001833, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Employee Transit Passes. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: While it’s probably not the silver bullet that will take down traffic in Central Texas, it is, as they say, one tool in the toolbox. This contract modification will extend CapMetro’s agreement to furnish Travis County employees with transit passes through September of this year. The total cost of the program is $81,930, a substantial increase from the original agreement in 2014 that cost $30,000.

17. Consider and take appropriate action on matters related to the Travis County Civil and Family Courts Complex (CFCC) Project: a. Termination of RFQ No. Q1507-014-JT, CFCC Design-Build Team Procurement; b. Suspension of Contract No. 4400001900 with HOK, Independent Representative/Compliance Architect (IR/CA) Services; and c. Other CFCC Project-related considerations. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: A little housecleaning here in the wake of November’s narrow defeat of the Civil and Family Courts Complex bond. The Court still has to formally cancel the solicitation for bids it released on the project ahead of last year’s vote. Also up for consideration: A temporary suspension of the contract with the architecture and engineering consulting firm HOK. The Court will likely give itself six months to determine the next course of action on the courthouse project before revisiting that contract.

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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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