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TipSheet: Travis County, 12.20.16

Tuesday, December 20, 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.

1. Receive comments regarding the issuance of a mass gathering permit for Euphoria Music Festival to be held on April 6–10, 2017, at 9507 Sherman Road, Austin, Texas 78742. (Commissioner Gomez)

5. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the issuance of a mass gathering permit for Euphoria Music Festival to be held on April 6–10, 2017, at 9507 Sherman Road, Austin, Texas 78742. (Judge Eckhardt & Commissioner Gomez)

Monitor’s Take: Just days after Arctic air gave us all a collective ice bath, the Commissioners Court will start considering the spring festival season. With just under four months until the 2017 iteration of Euphoria Fest is set to kick off, it’s unlikely that the court will grant the mass-gathering permit on Tuesday. Instead, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt could take a deliberative approach to ensure all the relevant vowels and consonants are dotted and crossed, respectively.

2. Approve resolution honoring Ron Davis on his retirement from Travis County and distinguished service as County Commissioner, Precinct One, for 18 years. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Long-time Commissioner Ron Davis’ swan song is nigh. After nearly two full decades as Precinct 1’s representative, Davis is hanging up his spurs and handing over his seat to Commissioner-elect Jeff Travillion. If you plan on witnessing Tuesday’s salute to Davis, we recommend bringing an extra handkerchief or two.

9. Consider and take appropriate action on the DNA testing issues in the Austin Police Department Forensics Services Division, DNA Unit. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Don’t get your hopes up on this item. Fashionably appointed sources in the know have informed us that it was placed on the agenda just in case late-breaking information came to light that warranted a discussion. As of Monday evening, no new information had surfaced, meaning that Eckhardt will likely put off anything DNA unit-related for at least another week.

10. Consider and take appropriate action on request to authorize a new eight-hour Prostitution Solicitation education class and related fees by Counseling and Education Services. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: No, this is not a class on how to solicit a prostitute. Although the backup refers to it as a “John School,” you will not learn how to be the best John you can be. Instead, the idea behind this program is to provide enough information to anyone busted for attempting to pay for sex in order to discourage them from, y’know, attempting to pay for sex.

16. Consider and take appropriate action to designate Travis County’s Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority for park and ride facilities. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Just when you thought the CTRMA might actually be progressing toward its first major investment in mass transit infrastructure, Williamson County comes in like a wrecking ball. Last week, WilCo Commissioners Court shot down the CTRMA’s request to fork over its share of QEC bonds to help build park-and-rides as part of a larger partnership with the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Whether WilCo’s vote leaves the plan in the lurch, of course, remains to be seen.

17. Receive presentation from developers on the proposed Bella Fortuna Public Improvement District. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: If this thing sounds familiar, it’s because it originally appeared on the Commissioners Court’s Dec. 6 agenda. (It sounded familiar to us, so we checked!) To recap what we reported in that week’s TipSheet: Developers are proposing 615 single-family and multifamily homes on 158 acres in south central Travis County. Will the plans entice the court to create a public improvement district? We don’t know! That decision won’t be made tomorrow! But stay tuned!

24. Consider and take appropriate action on the following: a. Proposed capital improvement planning process b. Safety Project Definition for transportation projects c. Structure of the Citizen’s Bond Advisory Committee d. Preparation of a 2017 Bond Referendum (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Cool thing about Central Texas is that there is always a greater chance that a transportation bond will show up on any given ballot than not. This happy circumstance is what keeps your local freelance transportation reporters fed and watered. While nothing is set in stone yet, approval of this item will get the ball rolling toward a decision in early 2017 that could put more funding for mobility infrastructure before the voters come next November.

25. Discuss and receive update on the Southwest Sports Complex negotiations. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: It’s not exactly as tense as, say, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but county officials and their counterparts in Lakeway are trying to hammer out a deal to bring a larger athletic field complex to that affluent corner of the community. The whole project promises to be a political feather in Commissioner Gerald Daugherty’s cap, but given the universe of county priorities and the inherent scarcity of funding, the Precinct 3 representative knows the task is no slam dunk.

35. Receive presentation and comments regarding the possible demolition of the Montopolis Negro School, a historic segregated Travis County school. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Dedicated spectators of local government meetings have likely taken note of the group of activists who have been making the rounds to gather support for the preservation of the Montopolis Negro School. On Tuesday, the activists will formally make their case to the Commissioners Court and hope that the court endorses a resolution that calls on the city of Austin to initiate historic zoning on the building and also find the funds to convert it into a park and/or museum.

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