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TipSheet: Travis County, 11.22.16

Tuesday, November 22, 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.

6. Consider and take appropriate action on request from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office for a cooperative agreement between Travis and Burnet Counties for the temporary housing of inmates as required by space considerations in the Travis County Correctional Complex. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: To keep his options open during “surge periods” at the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle, Sheriff Greg Hamilton has endorsed this plan that would allow surplus inmates to be held by our neighbors in Burnet County. According to a memo prepared by the sheriff, the contingency plan and its costs (a cool $35 per diem fee for each inmate held) fits into the Sheriff’s Office’s existing budget and won’t increase costs for taxpayers.

20. Consider and take appropriate action on a variance request only to Title 30-3-191 (all new subdivisions must install sidewalks) to not install sidewalks for the west side of Kara Drive between Annalise Drive and Gerard Drive (Kara Drive) in Precinct Four. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: While the City of Austin grapples with a sidewalk shortage thanks to decades of lax development rules, a builder east of town is asking the county to withhold its own pedestrian-friendly requirements. The variance would kibosh 750 feet of mandated sidewalk on one block in a subdivision that will contain nearly 600 homes. County staff have recommended granting the request on the grounds that the developer is proposing an urban trail that parallels the road. The backup document also notes that, “There is no public transportation available to the proposed development and there are no pedestrian generators within 0.5 mile of the proposed subdivisions.”

22. Consider and take appropriate action on Option to Lease for RFP No. P1605-008-JW, Solar Energy Project in Throckmorton County. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: It seems that Paradigm Power is the winner in the county’s search for an alternative energy producer to lease county-owned land in north Texas. If the Court approves the option to lease on Tuesday, county staff and company officials will set to work on negotiating the actual terms of the lease. If all goes according to plan, the revenue generated by Paradigm’s solar project will flow towards the various school districts located within Travis County’s borders.

24. Consider and take appropriate action on legislative matters, including: a. Election review and legislative preview b. Additions to the Priorities, Policy Positions and Positions on Other Proposals sections of the Travis County Legislative Agenda (Commissioner Shea & Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: The next session of the Texas Legislature is nigh and the county’s Intergovernmental Relations division are working feverishly to prepare members of the Commissioners Court for the looming rumpus. On Tuesday, IGR director Deece Eckstein will break down the results of this month’s elections and how it could affect the county’s agenda. Prepare for pearls of wisdom such as you have never heard.

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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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