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TipSheet: Travis County, 1.22.19

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

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 can be found at the Travis County website.

3. Receive update on the Travis County Snapshot from the 2017 American Community Survey. (Commissioners Shea & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The Research and Planning Division of Health and Human Services has used American Community Survey data to publish yearly snapshots of Travis County since 2003. This specific edition makes use of U.S Census Bureau data collected through 2017. The reports are meant to inform the public on social, economic and housing issues while also providing data for use in local government. The entire report will soon be available along with previous reports at the Travis County website.

5. Receive update on the FY18 Community Impact Report. (Commissioners Shea & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Also by Research and Planning, this report details Health and Human Services expenditures over fiscal year 2018 and places those investments within the context of community needs. This report will soon be available with previous Community Impact Reports on the county website.

6. Consider and take appropriate action on legislative matters, including: a. Update on organization of the 86th Legislature b. Status of Travis County Legislative Priorities (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The Intergovernmental Relations Office will be briefing the court regarding the major issue of school finance reform as well as Travis County’s progress in getting bills filed for its various legislative priorities for this session. So far, of a dozen Travis County priorities, four bills have already been filed. Two others are local bills and will require 30-day public notice before filing.

9. Consider and take appropriate action on budget amendments, transfers, and discussion items. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Among a handful of routine adjustments, the court will be asked to transfer $764,750 of an earmarked $1,050,000 from the Capital Acquisition Reserve for the purchase of a new electronic poll book system for Travis County. After the initial investment, the system is expected to cost the county $71,185 per year.

11. Consider and take appropriate action on the Civil & Family Courts Facilities Project. (This item may be taken into Executive Session under the Consultation with Attorney and Real Property exceptions.) (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The court chose not to take up this item last week in Commissioner Brigid Shea’s absence. The issue remains how to implement a merger of misdemeanor and felony charges to save the county time and money while focusing its attention on more severe offenses. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt has expressed support for a complete merger of the county and district attorney’s offices while Shea has proposed a way to keep civil cases separate from a potential criminal district attorney’s office. If taken up, this will be the first discussion of the merger since the court’s Dec. 11, 2018, voting session.

12. Approve contract award for Professional Consulting Services, Spicewood Springs Road Low Water Crossing #1 at Bull Creek Replacement Project, RFQ No. Q1807- 013-JZ, to the most highly qualified respondent, Huitt-Zollars, Inc. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: Huitt-Zollars, Inc. has offered to engineer a solution to the first of several problematic low water crossings along Spicewood Springs Road for $519,798.79. Transportation and Natural Resources deemed Huitt-Zollars the most qualified firm among the six that made an offer for the project. The project was approved by Travis County voters in November 2017.

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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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