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TipSheet: Travis County, 6.28.16

Tuesday, June 28, 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.

3. Consider and take appropriate action on resolution opposing proposed Waste Management modification to the Austin Community Landfill’s permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. (Judge Eckhardt & Commissioner Shea)

Monitor’s Take: In perhaps the first time in the history of the world that “garbage” and “Texas state government” have ever appeared in the same sentence, this resolution takes aim at the proposed increase of activity at a garbage dump courtesy of Texas state government. To absorb the trash load of a recently shuttered landfill next door, the Austin Community Landfill is set to increase its annual intake to 1.5 million tons each year, a 50 percent spike over historical levels. Given the growth in this area of eastern Travis County along the Manor Expressway, it’s not surprising that Judge Sarah Eckhardt and Commissioner Brigid Shea would want to ask the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to cap incoming garbage at the landfill to a mere 1.2 million tons per year.

7. Consider and take appropriate action on an interlocal agreement and cost sharing model between Travis County and the City of Austin to establish a local government corporation to operate a sobriety center. (Commissioner Daugherty & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: At long last, the Court will vote on the agreement with the City of Austin that spells out how the two entities will set up and operate a sobriety center — which is not just a fancy word for a drunk tank, believe you us. Tuesday’s vote comes days after City Council last week approved its version of this item. The backup materials indicate that the Medical Examiner’s Office on Sabine Street will be the home of the facility despite past rumblings of opposition to that site.

15. Consider and take appropriate action regarding FY17 salaries for elected officials: a. Proposed elected officials’ salaries b. Proposed calendar for setting elected officials’ salaries c. Public hearing on advertised salaries (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The Court considered pay raises for elected officials last week, but made no official decision. Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, as expected expressed his misgivings about once again increasing the salary ceiling for himself and his county government colleagues.

16. Consider and take appropriate action on the Civil & Family Courts Capacity Project. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: There’s no backup material for this item and it comes with a caveat that it could wind up being taken into executive session. The Monitor’s speculation here is that the Court will discuss a possible request for proposals that could be launched in order to find new uses for the 308 Guadalupe St. site that voters in November decided was not the ideal place for a new civil courthouse.

21. Receive presentation on Teleworking Policy for eligible Travis County employees. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Seems that in the interest of providing relief to daily traffic the county is interested in allowing several of its employees to telecommute. The backup material contains no indication of how many workers would be eligible but it does contain an interesting citation of academic research that purports that telecommuting leads to increased productivity, which we’ll make a joke about as soon as we do the dishes, play with the cat, finally fix that tricky drawer, call our gramma, take an extended stroll walk around the block that’s slowed down by passing conversations with three different neighbors, shop for cheap tickets to London and then get sucked into a Wikipedia wormhole that starts with Brexit, and totally p3wn some dudes on Twitter.

39. Authorize Purchasing Agent to commence negotiations with the most highly qualified firm, DMA Development Company, LLC in response to RFP No. P1511-005-KR, Development Proposal for Mixed-Use Three-Acre Site at Travis County’s North Campus. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The results are in and staff has decided that DMA Development Company has submitted the best proposal to redevelop a three-acre parking lot on the county’s North Campus site at E. 53 ½ Street and Airport Boulevard. Details of the plan are scarce, but the general idea of the mixed-use project is that the developer will partner with the county to build new offices for the county Department of Health and Human Services and Veterans Services along with potential affordable housing units.

48. Consider and take appropriate action on potential violations by Austin Park, LLC at Navarro Creek Road, Texas 78617, of Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 341 and Travis County Code Chapter 61A. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: After the principal players have kept tight-lipped about a story we first brought you several months ago, it seems the showdown over the surf park could finally be coming to a head. After weather reportedly added to Nland Surf Park’s already delayed opening, the cutting-edge wave pool could face more trouble if the Court decides that it in fact must be regulated like a normal swimming pool — something the park’s owners deny.

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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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