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TipSheet: Travis County, 2.20.17

Tuesday, February 21, 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.

2. Approve proclamation honoring Roger Jefferies for his service to the residents of Travis County as the County Executive of Justice Planning. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Another in a recent string of leadership losses at Travis County, this proclamation gives an official shoutout to Roger Jefferies, county executive of Justice & Public Safety. After nine years, Jefferies is packing up and returning from whence he came: New York City. Among his many legacies are the upcoming Sobriety Center and the Capital Area Private Defender Service, so it’s not like he’s been twiddling his thumbs between stints in the Big Apple.

6. 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: And even as Jefferies is splitting town, he’s preparing to hand off to his successor the looming disaster that is the Austin Police Department DNA lab’s implosion. After a doomsday audit forced the lab’s closure last year, the county has been playing a lead role in searching for a replacement forensics solution as well as figuring out how to handle the untold number of cases that may have been affected by the lab’s questionable practices throughout the years. The court is set to hear an update on those efforts, including details about a draft agreement with the city of Austin to partner together in the clean-up.

7. Consider and take appropriate action on designating an interim County Executive of Justice Planning until a formal search is completed to name a permanent appointment. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The last Jefferies-related item, we promise. This would name his interim replacement as Kimberly Pierce, the current division director for Justice Planning. No word yet on when a permanent successor is expected to be picked.

16. Consider and take appropriate action on the draft prioritized list of potential capital projects for consideration by the Citizens Bond Advisory Committee. (Commissioners Travillion & Shea)

Monitor’s Take: Herein lies the $1.1 billion wish list of potential transportation, drainage, parks, and other projects that could be funded by a successful bond referendum this November. At more than $306 million, roadway capacity projects take the plurality of the total sum, which also includes $230 million in safety projects, $52 million for bicycle safety projects and $204 million for parks. Expect all of these staggering numbers to be whittled down substantially by the Citizens Bond Advisory Committee.

25. Approve Modification No. 10 to Contract No. 4400001874, Flintco, LLC, for Ronald Earle Office Building and Parking Garage. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Once guaranteed by Flintco Constructive Solutions to be constructed for $42.5 million, the Ronnie Earle Building could soon see its price tag swell to a hair short of $46 million. On top of that, if the court approves this item, the deadline for completion will be pushed back to Nov. 24. One excuse given for the requested delay: rain, a factor that seems to have gummed up work on everything from the new Central Library to the Mopac express lanes. How do they build anything in Seattle?

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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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