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TipSheet: Travis County, 4.23.19

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

The Travis County Commissioners Court meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. To help our readers stay informed, each week we offer a selection of interesting items from the voting session agenda. The entire agenda is available on the Travis County website.

6. Approve proclamation recognizing April 29-May 3, 2019, as ‘Air Quality Awareness Week’ in Travis County. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: With Travis County at high risk of being unable to meet federal air quality standards for ground-level ozone as early as next year, the county wishes to raise awareness about the dangers of poor air quality and the need for collective action to address it, like driving less and using fuel-efficient vehicles.

12. Consider and take appropriate action on legislative matters, including: a. Update on legislative activities b. Revenue cap legislation, including SB2 and HB2, and its implications for future county budgeting processes c. Senate Bill 1771 and House Bill 4528, relating to the ad valorem taxation of a leasehold or other possessory interest in certain property owned by a municipality d. Modifications to the Priorities, Policy Positions, and Positions on Other Proposals sections of the Travis County Legislative Agenda (Commissioners Shea & Daugherty)

21. Consider and take appropriate action on review of Chapter 381 agreements and County policy governing these agreements involving tax rebates. (This item may be taken into Executive Session under the Consultation with Attorney exception.) (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: With SB 2 passing the Senate last week with a proposed rollback rate of 3.5 percent – less than half of the current property tax increase cap – the court will be discussing its priorities and financial strategies going forward. One of those strategies, as County Judge Sarah Eckhardt has noted several times, will be to revisit the policies related to offering tax rebates as enticements to corporations in exchange for expected economic growth.

14. Receive update on the development of the grant application to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission for the establishment of a public defender office in Travis County and enhancements to the Capital Area Private Defender Service program. (Commissioners Daugherty and Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The Indigent Legal Services working group has three weeks until it has to produce a coherent outline for potential use of state funds to create a public defender’s office in Travis County. This item is no guarantee the court will get an update on that work, but there is likely to be a substantial update for the court in the next few weeks.

15. Receive updates on jail diversion initiatives and the women’s facility program, and take appropriate action. (Commissioners Daugherty & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This will be a useful update on the county’s numerous criminal justice and jail diversion programs and the progress of the criminal justice master plan, specifically regarding the planned women’s facility in Del Valle.

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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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