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TipSheet: Travis County, 5.31.16

Tuesday, May 31, 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.

2. Consider and take appropriate action on an order concerning outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of Travis County. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Gather around, children, and listen to the tale of long ago when Austin was gripped by dry, dusty drought, a peculiar phenomenon long forgotten in our long, rain-soaked Age of the Waterworld wherein we are all fishmen, navigating our soggy streets in catamarans and paddles boards and water noodles and such. The moral, of course, is that there will never again be a countywide burn ban within our lifetimes (which will all likely end, or at least be made infinitely more miserable, under the nuclear heat of the imminent August sun).

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

Monitor’s Take: This briefing was scheduled for last week but was postponed by Judge Sarah Eckhardt for unclear reasons. In any case, it seems the details of an interlocal agreement between the county and the City of Austin have been ironed out, paving the way for the creation of a sobriety center, a facility that should not be referred to or thought of as a drunk tank as that term of art falls short of the larger, grander goal of providing actionable services aimed at addressing substance abuse and addiction.

6. Consider and take appropriate action on an appointment to the Boards of the Strategic Housing Finance Corporation and Housing Authority of Travis County, including: a. Approve questions for finalist interviews b. Conduct interviews with finalists c. Discuss and take appropriate action on an appointment (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The Court has been working towards filling the final vacancy on the newly reformed twin boards at HATC and SHFC and was set to interview the two candidates in the running last Thursday. A scheduling conflict mucked up that plan, so instead the Court will interview Henry Flores and Robbye Myer on Tuesday and possibly make a final decision, presumably after discussion in executive session.

15. Receive briefing on the Civil & Family Courts Capacity Project. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: This item is tantalizingly devoid of backup material, an omission that obscures its purpose. It’s also qualified with a suggestion that it could end up being taken up behind closed doors in executive session. Since the Austin Monitor is above hazarding wild guesses, we will simply suggesting the reader stay tuned on this one.

16. Consider and take appropriate action to accept the resignation of Ms. Charmane Sellers and appoint Ms. Kendel Martin to the Citizen Advisory Committee concerning the provision of additional capacity for the Civil and Family Courts System. (Commissioner Daugherty)

17. Consider and take appropriate action to accept the resignation of Mr. Herbert Martinez and appoint Mr. Salvador Valdez to the Citizen Advisory Committee concerning the provision of additional capacity for the Civil and Family Courts System. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Meanwhile, the citizens committee that is tasked with helping guide the search for new civil courthouse capacity is being mildly roiled with two resignations. The replacement of two members shouldn’t set back the 24-person team too terribly much, but the replacements will have a significant amount of material to catch up on if they’re to play a meaningful role in the imminent decisions the committee could take this summer.

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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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