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TipSheet: Travis County, 2.13.17

Tuesday, February 14, 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.

1. Receive comments regarding the petition to create Emergency Services District No. 15 and related issues. (Judge Eckhardt)

6. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the petition to create Emergency Services District No. 15 and related issues. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Struggling Emergency Services District No. 11 could get some help if the court decides to move forward with the creation of ESD No. 15. The two districts would share the same southern Travis County boundaries and include Creedmoor, Mustang Ridge, and at least one very sales-tax rich unincorporated enclave in South Austin. If the court approves this petition, the proposal will have to go before the voters which means there’s plenty of drama yet for fans of obscure governmental jurisdiction genesis.

15. Consider and take appropriate action on the appointment of Mark Gilbert to replace Belinda Powell on the Palm School Committee. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Much as newly crowned Roman emperors would smash the statues of their predecessors, so too do county functionaries hijack the legacies of those whom they replace. OK, so this is far, far less malevolent than anything Caligula ever did, but we’re fishing for drama in what is otherwise some mundane bureaucratic reshuffling. This item is simply a matter of formally placing new senior planner Mark Gilbert onto the Palm School Committee seat once held by Belinda Powell, who retired in December. As we noted last week, that committee still has a long way to go until it vaults forth from its clandestine coven of planning and plotting the proposal that is sure to set the city aflame in a spectacle sure to make Nero blush. Or, at the very least, earn some serious snark on Twitter.

16. Consider and take appropriate action on the Civil & Family Courts Capacity Project, including recommendation to begin negotiations on the selected response to the 308 Guadalupe Request for Proposal. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: No manufactured controversy to be had here. This is the long-awaited moment that could lead to a final decision on what the county will do with 308 Guadalupe Street, the downtown site that voters deemed too valuable for use as a civil courthouse site. It’s highly likely that the court could take the discussion into executive session, leaving open the chance that the Big Reveal will be tantalizingly withheld from the public for just a little bit longer.

19. Consider and take appropriate action on the following regarding the capital planning process, including the 2017 Bond Referendum: a. Draft prioritized list of potential capital projects for consideration by the Citizens Bond Advisory Committee. b. Safety definition for capital building projects. (Commissioners Travillion & Shea)

Monitor’s Take: While campaigning for his $720 million mobility bond last year, Mayor Steve Adler urged voters to “go big or go home.” Here’s the county’s chance to outdo the mayor by a few hundred million bucks. The long list of potential projects that could be included in the proposed 2017 bond referendum rings in at a $1.1 billion. It includes everything from road widening projects to bicycle safety investments. Of course, according to the item’s backup, the list only serves as a “starting point” for the Citizens Bond Advisory Committee’s consideration.

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