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TipSheet: Travis County, 4.12.16

Tuesday, April 12, 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.

3. Consider and take appropriate action 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: Levitation might finally get the final word on its mass gathering permit this week. Last Tuesday, the Court voted to approve promoters’ requested variance to stage after-hours performances in the separate camping section of Carson Creek Ranch, the east-of-town venue where the three day festival is theoretically happening. That was followed by a vote to approve the conditional permit, but since Commissioners Margaret Gómez and Ron Davis both abstained in those votes, Judge Sarah Eckhardt — a big fan of consensus — opted to bring the item back again for further discussion.

4. Receive update on the proposed sobriety center for Travis County. (Commissioner Daugherty & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: It seems that months and months of discussions between City of Austin and Travis County staff are beginning to bear fruit. According to the backup material for this item, both sides have agreed on the framework for an interlocal agreement to set up a drunk tank to take pressure off of the downtown jail.

5. Receive update from Executive Director Patrick Howard on activities involving the Housing Authority of Travis County and the Strategic Housing Finance Corporation. (Commissioner Shea & Commissioner Gómez)

6. Consider and take appropriate action on options related to the composition of the Boards of the Housing Authority of Travis County and the Strategic Housing Finance Corporation. (Commissioner Shea & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The Court will take a briefing on the status of things at these two affordable housing bodies, which have been the source of less-than-happy headlines in recent months. There are indications that the commissioners could take significant steps to right the ship by retooling the framework. It’s even possible, according to a letter from Judge Eckhardt that is attached as backup on this item, that the Court could merge the two agencies.

9. Receive Phase I Final Report of the Juvenile Probation Needs Analysis and Master Plan Update. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: There are several master plans in the works at Travis County, including one for parks, one for the adult correctional system, and this one here for the juvenile probation system. On Tuesday, the consultant hired by the county to determine what exactly will be needed for the system to function smoothly in the future will deliver its findings to the Court. After this step, the next phase will sketch out plans for overhauling the Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center in south Austin.

10. Consider and take appropriate action on request by Workers Defense Project to apply construction workforce wage and safety standards to development/redevelopment projects on County-owned land under the County’s Ground Lease Policy, including issuing an addendum to the RFP for North Campus Redevelopment. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Could be another victory for the Workers Defense Project in its push for expanded benefits and protections for construction workers. Earlier this year, the Court mandated that all developers benefiting from a public improvement district provide the standards to their employees. Now, the Court could require the same of any developer partner building on county-owned land. First in the pipeline, it seems, would be the North Campus project on Airport Boulevard.

13. Receive survey results from the Travis County Employee Satisfaction Survey. (Commissioner Daugherty & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Just how satisfied with their jobs are county employees? That was what the Human Resources and Management Division set out to answer earlier this year with its first ever job satisfaction survey. Nearly 2,000 employees responded, and the good news is that a healthy majority — just over two-thirds — said they’re cool with working for the county.

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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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