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TipSheet: Travis County, 11.15.16

Tuesday, November 15, 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. Consider and take appropriate action on the following items regarding the next County Executive of Emergency Services: a. Salary and start date b. Reimbursement of moving expenses c. Transition slot for the current County Executive of Emergency Services (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Incoming county executive of Emergency Services Josh Davies will take over from Danny Hobby in early January and the county is set to make it worth his while. Davies’ proposed annual salary is set at $148,500 and he could also get a cool $4,250 to offset his moving costs. In this case, it looks like he’s coming from California’s Santa Clara County, so hopefully the money will compensate for the endless amount friendly Texas ribbing he’ll have to endure.

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

Monitor’s Take: The Court could finally make a decision about tweaking its oversight requirements of the Travis County Healthcare District, a.k.a. Central Health. Critics are demanding an independent audit of the district. One recent proposal that appeared before the Court but which was not voted on included an audit, but one conducted by a firm hired by Central Health. Buckle up.

9. Consider and take appropriate action on a resolution in support of collaborative planning and development of affordable housing as recommended by the Joint Subcommittees of the Austin Independent School District, City of Austin and Travis County. (Commissioner Shea & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This item appeared on last week’s agenda, but action was deferred. The gist of it is that the city, the county, and AISD appear to be working towards a more collaborative effort to explore public housing options on publicly owned land.

12. Consider and take appropriate action on the application for acquisition of the Federal Courthouse in Austin for use as the Travis County Probate Court and County Clerk building. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Even though the feds are still reviewing a homelessness advocacy organization’s application to take control of the old federal courthouse at W. 8th and Lavaca streets, the county is preparing to make its bid. According to the backup material, county staff are estimating that the cost of retrofitting the 80-year-old structure to house the county’s probate courts and some functions of the County Clerk’s Office will be $28 million. If the feds give the building to the county, the entire project could be completed by late 2019.

13. Consider and take appropriate action on the Civil & Family Courts Capacity Project. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: County planners are inching tantalizingly close to making a brand new recommendation for building a new civil courthouse. On Tuesday, the Court will vet the recommendations made by a citizen’s advisory committee to remove certain properties from the running and advancing the remaining ones to the third and final stage of research. That process will finally be complete and a recommendation ready for approval in February.

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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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