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TipSheet: Travis County, 1.29.19

Tuesday, January 29, 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 full agenda can be found on the Travis County website.

1. Receive comments regarding a petition for an election to create Travis County Emergency Services District (ESD) 16, and related issues. (Action Item 5) (Commissioners Shea & Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: A petition containing at least 100 signatures from property owners in the proposed ESD No. 16 was filed on Dec. 14, 2018. The rural district straddles Lakeway’s city limits and is currently taxed under ESD No. 8. The new ESD would include an additional tax to provide better health and safety services to residents.

2. Receive comments regarding a petition to create the Velocity Crossing Public Improvement District in Precinct Four. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The court will now be hearing public comment on the creation of the Velocity PID in eastern Travis County between the airport and Garfield. The project envisions a vibrant community with a mixture of primary and secondary uses including multifamily residential units, a cinema, retail space and connectivity to the Onion Creek Greenway trail system.

9. Consider and take appropriate action on the following regarding the Program Year 2019–2023 Consolidated Plan, related to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): a. Setting a public hearing at 9 am on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at the Travis County Commissioners Courtroom (TCCC) to receive comments regarding community needs to assist with the development of the PY19–23 Consolidated Plan b. Setting the public comment period (from 8 am on July 3, 2019, to 5 pm on August 1, 2019) and the public hearing date (9 am on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, at TCCC) to receive comments regarding the PY19–23 Consolidated Plan c. Advertisements related to the public hearings and public comment period d. Delegation of authority to the County Executive of Health and Human Services to approve the public comment draft of the PY19–23 Consolidated Plan (Commissioners Shea & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This year, Travis County will decide how to allocate its CDBG funds for the program year 2019-2023 Consolidated Plan. CDBG funds are meant to provide housing, social programs and economic opportunities for lower income residents. The court will set a public hearing for March 26, 2019, to discuss the most efficient uses of the federal grant money, including an anticipated $1,205,291 in CDBG funds.

11. Consider and take appropriate action on: a. Modifications to the frequency of food establishment inspections by Austin Public Health, acting as the agent for Travis County, to a risk-based methodology b. New fee structure related to Travis County Code Chapter 247, Food Establishment Permits (Commissioners Shea & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Following a public hearing last week, the court will likely approve moving Travis County’s food inspection policy to a risk-based model which will determine the frequency of inspections and amount of yearly permit fees for fixed food establishments based on the types of food served and the size of the establishment. Larger, higher-risk establishments will likely see more frequent inspections while smaller, lower-risk establishments can expect one routine inspection per year.

12. Consider and take appropriate action regarding a one-time investment in services to support Workforce Solutions Capital Area during their transition to new, expanded career center. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The Austin Metro Area Master Community Workforce Plan envisions securing stable jobs for 10,000 individuals by 2021 and this year will involve several major steps as Workforce Solutions scales up its operations to reach that goal, including this move to a larger career center. The new facility will be within three miles of Workforce Solutions’ current north campus on Airport Boulevard and will be east of Interstate 35. While Workforce Solutions has not yet signed a lease for the facility, the organization expects to do so within the next three weeks and to have relocated to the new facility by July. The facility is expected to be a flagship hub for the realization of the goals outlined in the master plan and will provide both private rooms for staff to consult directly with clients and conference rooms meant to host critical conversations around workforce development. The county is one of several partners, including the city of Austin, that is working with Workforce Solutions to meet its goals in the region.

23. Approve contract award for Voter Registration System, RFP No. P1711-020-LC, to the highest ranked proposer, BPro, Inc. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: The county is updating its voter registration system and this leg of that process involves an initial investment of $777,000 awarded to BPro for software, implementation and training. Annual costs after the first year are estimated at $130,000. The Travis County Tax Office will be transferring roughly 2 million images and files over to the new system and it will hopefully be up and running and ready to process voters by fall 2019.

30. Consider and take appropriate action on an interlocal agreement with Texas State University to conduct solid waste needs assessments for Travis County residents. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: Transportation and Natural Resources says there is no thorough baseline of knowledge regarding the waste disposal and recycling needs of Travis County residents or of the services currently available. This interlocal agreement with Texas State University will allow the university to study the resources currently available for disposal of all kinds of waste, determine any disposal or recycling needs that are currently lacking and make recommendations for community education around waste disposal and recycling. The study will also analyze current use and future potential of the Travis County FM 1431 collection center.

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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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