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TipSheet: Travis County, 3.08.16

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 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.

4. Approve setting a public hearing on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, to receive comments regarding the issuance of a Mass Gathering Permit for Levitation to be held April 29 – May 2, 2016, at 9507 Sherman Road, Austin, Texas 78742. (Judge Eckhardt & Commissioner Gomez)

Monitor’s Take: Spring is almost here and that means festivals, festivals, and more festivals. And *that* means new attempts to try out Travis County’s shiny new mass gathering permitting process. Tuesday’s vote to set the public hearing for Levitation will likely be free of controversy, but the hearing itself might present no small measure of drama if organizers request any variance on to the guidelines establishing noise limits and operational hours.

8. Consider and take appropriate action on the appointment of members to a Citizen Advisory Committee concerning the provision of additional capacity for the Civil and Family Courts System. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Last month, Commissioner Ron Davis surprised his colleagues on the dais as well as the Commissioners Court audience when he declined to provide five appointees to a public committee created to provide guidance on a renewed effort to build a new civil courthouse. Instead, Judge Sarah Eckhardt redistributed those five picks, giving the three other commissioners one extra appointee and taking the remaining two for herself.

9. Consider and take appropriate action on the following: a. Updated FY16 spring issuance; b. FY16 spring debt issuance schedule; c. Adoption of an order authorizing publication of notice of intent to issue certificates of obligation; and d. Update to FY16 debt model. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Take that suffocating feeling you get when you think about your five-figure student loan debt and consider that Travis County is this close to issuing more than $90 million in new debt to finance new buildings, roads, and bike and pedestrian projects.

12. Consider and take appropriate action regarding participation in Austin Energy’s Plug In EVerywhere™ Program and the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at the 910 Lavaca Street parking lot. (Commissioner Shea)

Monitor’s Take: Though it might appear to be a fairly benign proposal, the notion of installing electric vehicle charging stations recently generated a lively discussion on the dais about the general practicality of investing scarce dollars in technology that isn’t in wide use. County staff estimate this particular station will cost $9,000 after an anticipated rebate.

13. Consider and take appropriate action on proposed park fees. a. Temporary Concession Site Fees; b. BMX Event Parking Fees; c. Trailer Parking Fee and Annual Trailer Parking Fee; d. Pavilion Rental Fee; and e. Weekend Pricing at Reimers Ranch Park, Mansfield Dam Park, and Loop 360. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Fees will rise at county parks if this item is approved. The hikes appear to be fairly minimal, but the one with the broadest impact will likely be the proposed weekend surge price set for Reimers Ranch Park, Mansfield Dam Park, and the boat ramp on Loop 360. The cost of admission will rise from $10 per vehicle to $15 per vehicle on weekends from May 1 to Sept. 30.

14. Consider and take appropriate action on funding for an October 2015 post-flood event analysis and mitigation study. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: There are few things local governments are better at than commissioning studies. This time around, county staff are requesting $176,367 to fund a closer look at the conditions that led to unexpected and deadly floods along in the southeastern part of the county last October. No word on when the findings would be released.

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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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