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TipSheet: Travis County, 1.19.21

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by Seth Smalley

The Travis County Commissioners Court meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. To help our readers stay informed, each week we offer a selection of interesting items from the voting session agenda. The entire agenda is available at the Travis County website. The public can access the meeting by watching the livestream or tuning in to public access channel 17.

Special Joint Council/Court Meeting

Monitor’s Take: Today’s Commissioners Court deviates from most, as the Austin City Council will be joining the commissioners remotely for a Special Joint Meeting. They’ll get the Covid-19 brief from Dr. Mark Escott, a Commissioners Court regular, in addition to hearing from Stephanie Hayden, director of Austin Public Health, a less familiar face. Expect the Covid brief, and the subsequent Q&A, to occupy the majority of the time.

Item 2: Proclamation to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19. The Presidential Inaugural Committee invited cities and towns to participate in a national moment of unity. This item is expected to be on consent.

Monitor’s Take: In anticipation of President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, the Travis County Commissioners Court will participate in a national moment of unity, accepting the invitation from the Presidential Inaugural Committee extended to cities and towns across the country. Though the gesture is intended to honor lives lost due to the pandemic, it stands in stark contrast to the atmosphere hinted at by a few of the last items on the agenda – the numerous security measures the county is taking ahead of Inauguration Day in anticipation of heated protests from Trump supporters. The commissioners will deliberate these security items privately, in executive session.

Item 6: Consider and take appropriate action to approve finalists to be interviewed for appointment to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Board of Directors

Monitor’s Take: The screening committee will recommend three candidates for the board of directors for the commissioners to interview. The board consists of three members appointed by Williamson County, three appointed by Travis County and a governor-appointed chairman. Each member will serve a two-year term with the option for reappointment. Notably, the board is authorized to implement transportation projects, including construction of highways, tollways, express lanes and more.

Item 7: Legislative Agenda update

Monitor’s Take: The 87th Texas Legislature inaugurally convened this year on Jan. 12, and will persist for a mere 19 weeks. Commissioner Brigid Shea will oversee discussion of organizational and legislative priority changes. The last update consisted of fairly minor budget-tinkering measures and supplanting outdated bid-submission methods, but the new update may be juicier, given that Tuesday will mark the first completed week of the legislative session.

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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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