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TipSheet: Travis County, 10.27.15

Monday, October 26, 2015 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 on an order concerning outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of Travis County. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Largely a bellwether of local weather, Travis County’s first burn ban of the 2015 went into effect in July after drought conditions dried up the massive rains the area saw in the spring. But, you may have noticed that it rained buckets again this past weekend, and it was more than enough to convince Fire Marshal Hershel Lee to suggest that the Commissioners Court give the all-clear to once again allow outdoor burning on unincorporated land.

13. Consider and take appropriate action on the status of Master Plan initiatives, including: Direction to staff regarding the preparation of Request for Proposals for ground leases for the following projects: 1) Civil and Family Courts Complex South Tower; and, 2) The North Campus Redevelopment project. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: A key part of the county’s proposal to build a brand new $287 civil courthouse in downtown Austin is a plan that calls for the private development of a separate office tower on the same block. To facilitate that unique arrangement, the County Attorney’s Office had to develop a brand new policy framework. Here now is the proposed policy that would in theory be used on the second tower as well as a planned mixed-use development the county is pursuing on Airport Boulevard.

18. Consider and take appropriate action to adopt the use of the federal E-Verify system to verify that new County employees are eligible to work for Travis County. (Commissioner Daugherty & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This item is born out of larger immigration issues and highlights the tricky relationship between Travis County and the State of Texas. According to backup materials, it appears that an executive order signed by former Governor Rick Perry requires all employers who receive state money to use E-Verify to check the immigration statutes of all potential employees. E-Verify is a controversial system targeted by groups such as the ACLU who claim that it “forces everyone in the country to ask the government for permission to work.”

34. Consider and take appropriate action on the following requests in Precinct Three: a. Plat for recording: Terra Colinas Phase One (124 single-family lots, nine landscape, drainage and amenity lots – 41.03 acres – State Highway 71 – water and wastewater provided by Travis County MUD #18) in the City of Bee Cave ETJ; and b. Approve a Subdivision Construction Agreement for Terra Colinas Phase One. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: While planners are trying mightily in Austin city limits to hammer home the mantra of “compact and connected,” sprawl continues apace out in the county. The Terra Colinas subdivision would plant 124 single-family homes on more than 40 acres outside of the city of Bee Cave. While there’s little the county could do to stop the development, this item could be a platform from which more environmentally conscience commissioners could sound off.

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