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TipSheet: Travis County, 6.4.19

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by Jack Craver

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 on the Travis County website.

7. Receive update on the following compensation issues for FY 2020: A. 2019 market salary survey project B. Livable wage rate increase (Commissioners Travillion & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Travis County does a market study each year to compare the compensation of its employees to likely competitors. That includes other public sector employers, such as the city of Austin, state government, school districts and neighboring counties, but it could also include nonprofits and companies that may be interested in luring county employees away with better pay or benefits packages. Of course, under the new revenue limits approved by the state Legislature, the Commissioners Court may not be in as strong a position to consider substantially raising pay for any county employees.

11. Accept and open bids relating to, and consider and take action on an order authorizing the issuance of an amount not to exceed $113,290,000 Travis County, Texas, Certificates of Obligation, Series 2019B (Limited Tax), and matters pertaining thereto. (Commissioner Gómez)

12. Accept and open bids relating to, and consider and take action on an order authorizing the issuance of $26,120,000 Travis County, Texas, Permanent Improvement Bonds, Series 2019 (Limited Tax), and matters pertaining thereto. (Commissioner Gómez)

13. Accept and open bids relating to, and consider and take action on an order authorizing the issuance of $14,550,000 Travis County, Texas, Unlimited Tax Road Bonds, Series 2019, and matters pertaining thereto. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: These items involve the Commissioners Court approving the issuance of debt to finance a variety of projects it has already approved, such as the new women’s jail, the new family and civil courthouse and a variety of infrastructure projects. Although there was controversy surrounding some of these projects, the discussion of financing is unlikely to be controversial.

14. Consider and take appropriate action on community input, draft restrictive covenants, and next steps related to Palm School. (This item may be taken into Executive Session under the Consultation with Attorney and Real Property exceptions.) (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This is the big item of the day, anticipated to draw significant public testimony. This item presents a potential conflict for Austin City Council, which last month unanimously adopted a resolution that called on the county-owned Palm School to be maintained as a publicly owned property that functions as a cultural center or museum. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, however, has said that while she wants to see the school building preserved, she is also interested in selling the property for the tens of millions of dollars it is likely worth. The court assigned a working group to come up with ways the building could be protected in a private sale through a restrictive covenant. Tomorrow the court will deliberate on recommendations from the group.

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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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