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TipSheet: Travis County, 12.10.19

Tuesday, December 10, 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.

4. Receive update on jail population trends and diversion efforts in regard to women’s jail capacity. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: This was supposed to be taken up last week, but it was likely a casualty of a longer-than-expected conversation about a controversial RV park. Again, this is an opportunity to examine the dynamics of the female jail population. Like the overall jail population in Travis County, the female jail population has declined in recent years in response to efforts to reduce arrests for low-level drug offenses. Nevertheless, the county has approved plans to build a new women’s jail that law enforcement and commissioners agree is overdue.

25. Consider and take appropriate action on an exception from platting requirements for the Bentree RV Resort in Precinct Three. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: After taking a lot of public comment on this issue from residents who absolutely do not want an RV park in their area, the commissioners opted not to take action last week. They may have ultimately come to a decision, but County Judge Sarah Eckhardt insisted that they delay in order to avoid letting the entire day be consumed by RV politics. It’s hard to get a read on the dais on the issue. Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who represents the area, has emphasized that he doesn’t want RV parks to become permanent residences and has sympathized with the neighbors’ concerns. It’s not yet clear whether that sympathy will translate into opposition. The same is true of the other commissioners.

30. Consider and take appropriate action on the following regarding bulk water supply: A. Delaying the rate increase to March 1, 2020; B. Setting a discounted rate for eligible customers and the effective date(s); C. Criteria to determine customer eligibility for the discounted rate (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: An August vote by the Commissioners Court to increase the bulk water rate from $0.25 per 100 gallons to a whopping $12.28 was originally viewed as a common-sense way to charge commercial customers the full amount it costs the county to provide the water. However, after an outcry from numerous residents from Southeast Travis County who depend on the county’s bulk water, commissioners decided to reconsider. This proposal would establish ways that customers can get an exemption from the new rate based on their income, residency, disability status and other factors. In all likelihood, the discussion will center on who should qualify for the exemption.

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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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