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TipSheet: Travis County, 2.13.18

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 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.

8. Receive presentation on the 2016 Travis County Snapshot from the American Community Survey. (Commissioners Shea & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Everyone say cheese for the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual Polaroid of Travis County’s progress (and/or lack thereof). In point of fact, this snapshot was taken back in 2016, but like the old photomats of yore, it can take awhile to crunch the numbers and process the film. In any case, highlights of the latest ACS include a new population of 1,199,323 (up from 1,030,569 in 2010), a continued decline in the poverty rate to 12 percent (whether through enrichment or displacement is not specified), and a median annual household income that jumped to about $70,000 for the first time ever.

22. Receive joint briefing from the Contract Compliance Program and the Workers Defense Project on the Travis County Better Builder Program. (Commissioner Travillion)

Monitor’s Take: A partnership between the county and the Workers Defense Project to craft an official version of the WDP’s Better Builder Program for the county to adopt wrapped up in September. This briefing will update the Commissioners Court on the fruits of those labors as well as deliver some recommendations to consider.

27. Authorize Purchasing Agent to commence negotiations with the most highly qualified firm, Travis Transportation Partners, in response to RFQ No. Q1711-009-LP, General Engineering Consulting Services. (Commissioner Travillion)

Monitor’s Take: The county has $185 million in voter-approved bond projects plus $95 million in court-approved bond projects to get through the door but fast. To that end, the Purchasing Office in November solicited applications from potential firms to serve as a general engineering consultant for the big push. After several months of weighing the candidates, the recommendation to the court is to go with Travis Transportation Group, an outfit that doesn’t seem to have any presence on Google at all.

28. Receive briefing on the 2020 Census and Travis County planning efforts. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The Census? Oh, nbd, except that, you know, only congressional representation, redistricting across all levels of political jurisdictions, millions and millions of dollars in appropriations, and having an accurate sense of just many mouths we have to feed are all on the line. The county is preparing to get ahead of the decennial count though and the court will consider recommendations to “treat it as a community outreach and education campaign” run by a new project manager working on a budget of $250,000 to be raised from the “business and philanthropic” community.

29. Receive update on partnering with Austin 311 to provide a single phone number for Travis County non-emergency requests. (Commissioners Travillion & Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: Need to easily report a pothole but you find yourself just outside of Austin city limits? There’s no easy solution right now, but the county is developing a plan to link its services to the 311, the city’s non-emergency hotline. According to a tentative timeline, that could happen as soon as this spring.

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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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