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TipSheet: Travis County, 1.10.2017

Tuesday, January 10, 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.

6. Consider and take appropriate action to designate Travis County’s Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority for park and ride facilities. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Once again, the Court will consider whether to hand over to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority millions of dollars’ worth of federal bond allocations to help finance the construction park-and-rides along the toll road agency’s, uh, toll roads. The matter first came up last month but was shelved after commissioners Shea, Daugherty, and Gomez raised red flags. At Monday night’s Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s monthly board meeting, Judge Sarah Eckhardt showed no hint of a second postponement. She told the Austin Monitor that the Court will be “on the bleeding edge” by being the first to take action on a proposal also under consideration at the Williamson County Commissioner’s Court and Austin City Council.

7. Receive presentation from developers on the proposed Lagos Public Improvement Districts. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Pete Dwyer of Dwyer Realty Companies apparently enjoys a challenge. Last year, he took on the thrill of being the county’s inaugural public improvement district applicant. On top of that honor, his proposed project in that process — WildHorse Ranch — is located within Austin’s city limits, a fact that came close to derailing the PID request entirely. Now, with WildHorse safely on track, Dwyer is back with a proposal to build a new development that would consist of two separate PIDs. The project — this one named Lagos — apparently spans the extraterritorial jurisdictions of both Austin and Manor, thus requiring two separate PID applications with the county (somehow). We admire that complexity. We also can’t help but admire any proposed development that may or may not be (and probably isn’t) named after the largest city in Nigeria.

14. Consider and take appropriate action regarding board and committee assignments and appointments for Commissioners Court members. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: With a new member on the dais, it’s time to overhaul the rosters of the Court’s various committees. Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion is expected to take a more active role than his predecessor Ron Davis, who riled a few of his fellow commissioners by sticking them with some of his committee seats during his final years in office.

15. Consider and take appropriate action on the following regarding the establishment of a Citizens Bond Advisory Committee for the 2017 Bond Referendum: a. Committee Charter b. Proposed timeline c. Qualifications and application d. Notification to interested citizens and potential Committee members (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Bond-bond-bond! The Court is moving apace with plans to hold a bond referendum this November. One of the initial orders of business: Putting together a committee of residents to help identify what exactly could benefit from the bond money. The current thinking is that this will be a transportation-centric cycle, but there are plenty of opportunities ahead to expand the scope to include flood and fire mitigation, among so many others.

16. 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: Once again, the Court will consider whether to intervene in city business and encourage more exploration into the preservation of the Montopolis Negro School. Last week, Eckhardt tapped Travillion to work out a compromise between preservationist forces and the developer who wants to build more than a dozen new homes on the large property housing the former school (all without demolishing the building, he promises). On Tuesday, we’ll see the fruits of those discussions. Meanwhile, the city’s Planning Commission will take up the item on Tuesday night, although city staff has recommended a postponement until the end of February.

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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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