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TipSheet: Travis County, 6.23.20

Tuesday, June 23, 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. This week’s meeting will be broadcast to ensure everyone is able to follow social distancing regulations. The public can access the meeting by watching the livestream or tuning in to public access channel 17.

6. Receive an update from County staff on the regulation of gatherings of 500 or more exempted under the Governor’s Executive Order GA-26. (Judge Biscoe)

Monitor’s Take: Gatherings are still limited to groups smaller than 10 people per the latest order from the Travis County judge issued on June 12. That same order says people at outdoor gatherings that are not exempted under Gov. Greg Abbott’s GA-16 order are required to wear face coverings. On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court will discuss the current regulations limiting outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people and it is very unlikely that the commissioners will remove the requirement to wear face coverings. More likely, they will receive an update about events traditionally scheduled for the summer months in Travis County and converse about how to make the show go on amidst ongoing pandemic restrictions.

18. Consider and take appropriate action on: A. Staff presentation and recommendation on the Colorado River Project, LLC (sole owner Tesla, Inc.) application for an economic development performance agreement under Travis County Code Chapter 28 B. Company presentation on the proposed project C. Public comment on the proposed project and staff recommendation (This item will be taken into Executive Session under the Consultation with Attorney and Economic Development Negotiations exceptions.) (Judge Biscoe)

Monitor’s Take: After months of waiting, the discussion about the county incentives proposed to lure Tesla to build its $1 billion “Gigafactory” in East Austin will be reviewed in a public forum. On Tuesday, representatives from the company will present the project to the Commissioners Court, and the public is encouraged to provide input regarding the planned manufacturing facility. In addition to an anticipated $7 million in tax revenue for the county over a 10-year period, Tesla is also committing to a partnership with Workforce Solutions Capital Area, Austin Community College and Travis County Justice Planning to create a workforce pipeline for residents needing the middle-skill jobs. The new Tesla factory boasts a future need for 5,000 middle-skill positions. The item will be taken up at 1:30 after the lunch break and written comments can be submitted via email to edsi@traviscountytx.gov.

22. Consider and take appropriate action to: A. Approve order exempting the purchase of upgrade for the TCTV-17 broadcast/recording control room from the competitive procurement process, pursuant to County Purchasing Act § 262.024 (a)(7)(A) & (D) B. Authorize Purchasing Agent to issue purchase order (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: As a result of increased demand for digital meeting services, the county requires a larger remote audio and visual telecommunications system. Its proposed upgrade for virtual functionality comes in at $124,995. With this purchase, which is on the agenda for the commissioners to approve its exemption from the competitive procurement process, the AV control room will have the capacity for eight remote users. Staff recommends that Kvasir Systems perform the upgrade because it is “the vendor that built the original TCTV-17 facility at 700 Lavaca and has performed all the subsequent system upgrades.” Funding for the upgrade will come from the $61 million in federal emergency aid dollars provided to Travis County.

28. Consider and take appropriate action on a request from Rodeo Austin to modify the current Amendment No. 6 to the 1989 Sublease Agreement between Travis County and Rodeo Austin due to the COVID-19-related cancellation of the 2020 Rodeo Austin event. (Commissioner Travillion)

Monitor’s Take: When Rodeo Austin was canceled on the eve of its opening date, everything was in place for normal operations, including a $180,000 rental fee to Travis County. Due to the suddenness of the cancellation, Rob Golding, the CEO of Rodeo Austin, is requesting that the county waive the rental fee from 2020 and instead add another year to the rodeo’s sublease agreement at the Travis County Expo Center, so it will expire in 2022. While the rodeo will still foot the bill for the $31,749.80 of utility costs it incurred, the county will lose out on nearly $200,000 of revenue for the year when the budget is already pinched. However, staffers recommend approving this request with a subletter that has a 38-year relationship with 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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