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TipSheet: Travis County, 11.5.19

Tuesday, November 5, 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.

It’s expected to be a short day for the Commissioners Court. The biggest news of the day won’t take place until polls close and the results of Travis County Proposition A are in. If approved, County Prop A (not to be confused with city of Austin Prop A) will authorize the county to levy a 2 percent hotel tax to fund the reconstruction of the Travis County Exposition Center.

Here are the two items on the agenda that are most likely to generate some discussion, however.

13. Authorize Purchasing Agent to commence negotiations with the most highly qualified firm, HDR Architecture, Inc., in response to RFQ No. 1907-009-AR, new Women’s Facility at the Travis County Correctional Complex. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: While the decision to build a new women’s jail was controversial, it’s not clear that there will be any controversy over who gets the architectural and engineering contract for the facility. However, Commissioner Brigid Shea has requested the item be pulled off the consent agenda for discussion, so she likely has some questions about how the bids were scored.

17. Consider and take appropriate action regarding various space allocations related to the new Public Defender Office and Capital Area Private Defender Service Office needs. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: With the help of the state, the county is moving ahead with the creation of a public defender’s office. One of the first orders of business is to find office space for the new agency as well as the newly expanded Capital Area Private Defender Service, which oversees the private attorneys who will continue to be assigned the majority of indigent defendants. County staffers have decided the best bet is to get the public defender’s office in the University Savings Bank building by 2023 and to put all CAPDS staff in the Rusk Building. However, what to do in the short term is less clear.

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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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