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TipSheet: Travis County, 2.07.17

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 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.

9. Receive update on efforts and progress related to the Palm School Committee. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: It’s hard to believe that it’s been well over a year since the Commissioners Court began grappling with the problem of what to do with its historic Palm School building on the southeastern edge of downtown Austin. On Tuesday, the ad hoc committee created to consider the possibilities of preserving the building will brief the court on its findings and may even treat us all to a recommendation or two.

10. Consider and take appropriate action on the following grant programs, applications, contracts & related special budgets, and permissions to continue: a. Permission to continue the Parenting in Recovery/Family Drug Treatment Court grant program in the Civil Courts Department. b. Permission to continue the Family Violence Accelerated Prosecution grant program in the County Attorney’s Office. c. Permission to continue the Family Violence Accelerated Victim Outreach grant program in the County Attorney’s Office. D. Permission to continue the Veterans Court grant program in the Criminal Courts Department. e. Permission to continue the Prostitute Prevention grant program in the Justice Planning Department. f. Permission to continue the Travis County Adult Probation DWI Court grant program in the Community Supervision and Corrections Department. g. Permission to continue the Leadership Academy grant program in the Juvenile Probation Department. h. Permission to continue the Streamlining Assessment Practices to Improve Youth Substance grant program in the Juvenile Probation Department. i. Permission to continue the Drug Diversion Court grant program in the Pretrial Department. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: You probably heard about the mild controversy between Travis County and Gov. Greg Abbott. After Sheriff Sally Hernandez instituted her new policy of not voluntarily honoring federal immigration agents’ requests to detain potentially undocumented immigrants at the jail, the governor retaliated by whacking $1.5 million in grants to fund county justice programs. Those programs are iterated in this item’s lengthy descriptor. Staff is recommending that the county press forward and keep operating the programs for at least another three months while alternative funding sources can be explored. The estimated cost during that interim is estimated to come in at $300,000.

11. Consider and take appropriate action on the Civil & Family Courts Capacity Project, including presentation on courts capacity and future needs. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: We’re on the verge of some major milestones in the county’s quest for a new civil courthouse. This item will feature a presentation from planners that, in summing up the big picture of the county’s needs and vision, sets the table for the discussions to come. On Feb. 14, the court will discuss proposals to “leverage” 308 Guadalupe St., the site of the failed civil courthouse proposal that voters narrowly rejected in 2014 2015. Then on Feb. 21, the court will take up the issue of a brand new potential courthouse site.

26. Consider and take appropriate action on legislative matters, including: a. Update on legislative activities. b. Resolution in support of issues of broad significance to our community. c. Additions to the Priorities, Policy Positions, and Positions on Other Proposals sections of the Travis County Legislative Agenda (Commissioners Shea & Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: Last week, Commissioner Gerald Daugherty temporarily kiboshed the notion of voting on the resolution contained in this item. Daugherty suggested that the wording would needlessly antagonize Republican lawmakers during a period when tensions are already running high. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt postponed the vote on the resolution, but it’s coming back on Tuesday with no signs of change.

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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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