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Tipsheet: Travis County, 12.15.15

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 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.

2. Approve resolution in support of continued participation of Planned Parenthood in the Medicaid program in Texas. (Judge Eckhardt & Commissioner Shea)

Monitor’s Take: As Planned Parenthood continues to take fire from conservative leaders at the state level, the Commissioners Court is coming to the rescue with a resolution of support. While it’s unlikely that a proclamation from Travis County will change Gov. Greg Abbott’s position on the health care provider, the vote could have implications in the upcoming primary elections. Republican Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, known for not shying away from moderate policies, is facing a challenger on his right who no doubt would love to hammer away on the incumbent for supporting what is in conservative circles a thoroughly disliked organization.

4. Consider and take appropriate action regarding EMCF Partners, LLC. V. Travis County, Texas. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: More than a week after a district judge threw out a lawsuit challenging the county’s new mass gathering permit process, the Commissioners Court will discuss the case. Anyone hoping to see Judge Sarah Eckhardt spike the football should be warned: There’s a hot chance that they’ll take this item behind closed doors in executive session.

13. Consider and take appropriate action on amendment to economic development incentive agreement with Charles Schwab, Inc. (Commissioner Shea)

Monitor’s Take: Due to what the backup material refers to as “an unexpected delay in their construction timetable,” Charles Schwab is asking to amend an incentives deal it has with the county. Instead of turning the dirt by the end of this year, the company is asking to move the date to Dec. 31, 2016. Other changes include increasing construction workers’ minimum wage from $11 an hour to $13 an hour. The Commissioners Court initially agreed to the $3.6 million incentives package in 2014 when Charles Schwab pledged to create 823 jobs.

14. Discuss and take appropriate action on Palm School Committee and Committee Charge. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The commissioners are set to deputize a committee of local officials to determine the best use of the Palm School property in downtown Austin. Included on the list are Austin Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, Council Member Pio Renteria, and Dee Peart of the Downtown Austin Alliance. The county is looking at several options as it relocates the Health and Human Services and Veteran Services offices out of the historic building. Developers would no doubt love to take a crack at the valuable piece of land, while certain members of Austin’s Mexican-American community have argued that the building should be preserved and turned into a cultural museum.

15. Consider and take appropriate action to authorize the Travis Central Appraisal District to reappraise property with flood damage, in the area declared to be a disaster area by the Governor, due to flooding that occurred in Travis County between October 22–31, 2015. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: This item would give property owners affected by the devastating October floods some measure of financial relief. If TCAD is allowed to reappraise the damaged properties, owners could be in line for a tax credit for the last two months of 2015 and could also likely expect a smaller bill in 2016.

30. Consider and take appropriate action on the issuance of a request for development proposal for 5325–5335 Airport Boulevard (Travis County North Campus). (Commissioner Davis)

Monitor’s Take: After a little bit of drama last week when Judge Eckhardt declared her intention to postpone this item, the Commissioners Court will finally get to vote on whether to solicit proposals from private developers to work on a proposed mixed-use development in north central Austin. Unless another commissioner is absent, the item should sail through with unanimous support.

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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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