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TipSheet: Travis County, 6.25.19

Tuesday, June 25, 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 at the Travis County website.

9. Consider and take appropriate action on the following employee healthcare items for the Fiscal Year 2020 plan year, effective October 1, 2019: a. Health benefit plan design changes b. Contribution levels for County employee health plans c. Annual open enrollment dates of August 1–30, 2019 (Commissioners Travillion & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The court is currently evaluating two alternatives for the employee health benefit plan for Fiscal Year 2020, beginning Oct. 1. The plan recommended by the Benefits Committee would reduce out-of-pocket costs for employees with a slight increase in monthly premiums. Due to budget constraints from enactment of the state’s revenue caps bill, however, the Planning and Budget Office is recommending a much simpler, less costly version of the plan at $2.5 million versus the $4.3 million cost of the full plan.

13. Consider and take appropriate action on contract amendment to the Improving Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Grant Program (ICJR) grant with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) in Justice Planning. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The county was awarded $650,000 in 2016 for this program with the funds expiring at the end of September of this year. The money is dedicated to fortifying prosecution of sexual assault and domestic and dating violence cases and providing resources for victims. That money has allowed for a dedicated team to prosecute adult sexual assault cases at the District Attorney’s Office but has not been entirely spent. The county is requesting an extension of the grant period to allow for continued work and time to spend the remaining sum of over $230,000.

23. Consider and take appropriate action on solid waste issues, including update from Texas State University on Phase I of the Solid Waste Needs Study. (This item may be taken into Executive Session under the Consultation with Attorney and Real Property exceptions.) (Commissioner Travillion)

Monitor’s Take: In March, the county approved an interlocal agreement with Texas State University to establish a baseline assessment of waste disposal and recycling needs of county residents. The first phase of that study is now complete and the university will be presenting its findings to the court before moving into the second and final phase. The first phase has identified all currently available locations for residents to dispose of waste and recyclables and has drafted recommendations for notifying the public of all available options. The second phase will focus on filling in service gaps and considering the potential of the FM 1431 collection center.

24. Receive briefing on permitting concerns and potential cost increases with regards to Atlas 14 impacts on CIP projects. (Commissioners Travillion & Shea)

Monitor’s Take: With the 2017-2022 Bond Program well underway, Transportation and Natural Resources is requesting the services of a drainage consultant to help with hydraulic analysis and to better understand the full impact of the Atlas 14 changes to the flood plain map. The flood plain adjustment has created a significant challenge to the department as it tries to stay within the project budgets. According to staff, the impact to the flood plain is greater and more complicated than anticipated. Therefore, the county will have to either prioritize which areas it wishes to protect and which projects to build according to the new standards or pursue additional funds to ensure all new projects are able to withstand the new 500-year flood event projections.

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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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