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TipSheet: Travis County, 2.11.20

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 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.

16. Consider and take appropriate action on a request from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office to petition the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to decommission 192 jail beds. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Sheriff Sally Hernandez is asking the court to approve shutting down four buildings at the county jail that she says were constructed in the early 1990s as a temporary solution to overcrowding. These days, she says, the buildings are rarely used but still cost precious dollars to keep open.

19. Consider and take appropriate action on the FY 2021 Budget Guidelines. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The court is dipping its toe into the next budget with an eye on the new state-imposed 3.5 percent revenue cap. County staff’s initial estimate is that the next budget will require an increase of $37 million. While the revenue caps will not put the county in dire straits in this upcoming budget cycle, the county will eventually face the prospect of significant cuts in a few years’ time.

A1. Receive update on the initiatives proposed by the “Who Is in Our Jail and Why” Workgroup. (Commissioners Daugherty & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This is part of a series of presentations created by a work group that brings together a variety of stakeholders in the county criminal justice system, including prosecutors, defense attorneys and pretrial services. Incidentally, District Attorney Margaret Moore faces a tough reelection challenge from two candidates who claim that the county – particularly the District Attorney’s Office – has not done enough to reduce incarceration.

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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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