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TipSheet: Travis County, 10.8.19

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by Jack Craver

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.

12. Consider and take appropriate action regarding an appointment for a judicial vacancy in County Court at Law Number 4 of Travis County. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: After some fussing about the application process, the Commissioners Court will finally come to a decision on who should succeed Judge Mike Denton to preside over County Court at Law No. 4, which deals almost exclusively with family violence cases. The commissioners interviewed four candidates on Thursday and today they will decide which of the four was most impressive. There could, of course, be disagreement.

16. Receive update regarding comments received on Palm School draft restrictive covenants. (This item may be taken into Executive Session under the Consultation with Attorney and Real Property exceptions.) (Commissioners Shea & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This is part of an important ongoing issue where county leaders are butting heads with city leaders over what to do with this valuable piece of county-owned property. The Commissioners Court voted unanimously in June to approve restrictive covenants that commit any future owners of the land to keeping the historic school building intact, but the county has not shut the door on the possibility of allowing someone to redevelop other parts of the property.

17. Receive update on Public Improvement District policy review and proposed revisions. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The county is considering increasing fees for public improvement districts. Staffers have proposed raising the PID petition filing fee from $55,000 to $100,000 as well as implementing an annual $75,000 administrative fee to cover the cost of the administrative work county staff does to set up and oversee the PID. The staff memo notes that $75,000 is higher than any other PID fee in the state. The future homeowners of the PID will be the ones paying that fee, so you can expect some debate among commissioners about the affordability implications.

36. Receive briefing and take appropriate action regarding an election to be held on November 5, 2019, to designate the Travis County Exposition Center and related infrastructure as a venue project, in accordance with Local Government Code Chapter 334, and designate that the method of financing for the venue project is the imposition of a new hotel occupancy tax, and related issues.1&2 (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: There will be a proposition on the county ballot next month asking voters to approve a 2 percent Hotel Occupancy Tax increase to fund the reconstruction of the Travis County Exposition Center. However, if voters approve the measure, it will likely be some time before the tax kicks in and the expo center project can begin. That’s because, due to City Council approving a separate hotel tax increase in August, Travis County is already at the maximum hotel tax amount allowed by state law. But there may be some interesting conversation among commissioners about what the plan is now.

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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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