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TipSheet: Travis County, 10.25.16

Tuesday, October 25, 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.

4. Approve interview questions for final candidates for the position of County Executive of Emergency Services. (Judge Eckhardt)

36. Conduct interviews of final candidates for the position of County Executive of Emergency Services. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Near the top of Tuesday’s agenda is a slate of potential interview questions for candidates seeking to replace outgoing Emergency Services head Danny Hobby. For years, Hobby has served as the county’s point man when it comes to preparing for and responding to natural and manmade disasters. The Court will likely head into executive session on Tuesday afternoon to grill his would-be successors. Hobby plans to step down at the end of the year.

14. Consider and take appropriate action regarding an order amending the Travis County Healthcare District Financial Policies. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The Court considered this item last week, but Judge Sarah Eckhardt put off the vote for at least another week. Instead, the Court heard from a number of activists — including representatives from the League of United Latin American Citizens and La Raza Roundtable — who demanded more transparency from Central Health, the hospital district serving Travis County. The Court is poised to flex its oversight muscle to require an annual performance review of the district along with audits of Central Health’s various spin-off nonprofits. Whether the changes are amenable to the district’s critics remains to be seen.

17. Consider and take appropriate action to increase Public Improvement District petition filing fee from $10,000 to $36,000 to account for direct costs of staff time spent on initial review and analysis. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The county’s public improvement district policy is less than a year old but already the filing fee for interested developers could more than triple. According to the staff-prepared documents attached to the agenda the original fee “was based on a conservative estimate of staff time related to work on the initial review and analysis of a petition and its proposed community benefits.” After finally getting some PID experience under their belts, staff are now asking to adjust the fee, a change that would bring it in line with the City of Austin’s PID filing fee of $34,912.

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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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