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TipSheet: Travis County 4.7.20

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

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 at the Travis County website.

1. Consider and take appropriate action regarding: Economic impacts of Covid-19 response, and resources and options to enable economic recovery. (This item may be taken into Executive Session under the Consultation with Attorney and Economic Development Negotiations exceptions.) (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Any governmental meeting at this moment without a discussion dedicated to the effects of Covid-19 on citizens is unthinkable. Although this item was taken up in Executive Session in the last several meetings of the Commissioners Court, there is a chance that there will be a public discussion on the subject, especially since the second item on the agenda revolves around asking the federal government for more money. Perhaps in a preamble to that request, the commissioners will publicly outline what ideas for initiatives are being thrown around as possibilities to aid in the county’s economic recovery if the federal government grants funding.

2. Consider and take appropriate action to allow the Office of Emergency Management to submit a request for public assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency related to the Austin/Travis County Covid-19 response (FEMA DR-4485). (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: This week the Commissioners Court will be discussing a request to receive federal funds to assist with emergency protective measures instated as a result of Travis County declaring a disaster on March 6. Since then, the federal government issued a major disaster declaration for Texas on March 25. So far, $236.8 million in federal funds is obligated to the state in the form of public assistance grants, but the economic consequences have continued to ripple as Central Texans stay home. Unemployment numbers released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor show a 1,600 percent increase in unemployment claims between March 1-28. Just within the Travis County restaurant industry, the shutdown is projected to result in 21,000 lost jobs throughout Travis County, with $738 million in total lost wages. Central Texas can certainly use a helping hand and the county commissioners will likely vote to ask for one.

11. Consider and take appropriate action on a request to submit comments to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) regarding the draft CAMPO 2045 Regional Transportation Plan (2045 Plan). (Commissioners Travillion & Shea)

Monitor’s Take: Although the CAMPO board is scheduled to update its 25-year regional plan in May, the Commissioners Court pondered delaying the adoption of the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan last week. The item was postponed in order for County Judge Sarah Eckhardt to converse with CAMPO members and ascertain whether a delay would severely inhibit the intergovernmental body’s efforts to create regional transportation networks. It’s hard to imagine that the commissioners will not delay the adoption of the plan as plummeting oil prices and a volatile market have imposed fiscal constraints on the project that draws from a fund fueled by revenue from oil and natural gas production.

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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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