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TipSheet: Travis County, 7.11.17

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 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. Approve proclamation honoring Tanya Acevedo for her service to Travis County. (Commissioners Travillion & Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: As we whispered last week, the court voted to accept Chief Information Officer Tanya Acevedo’s resignation. Her departure comes as no surprise as she herself told us last year that she would eventually follow her husband, former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, to Houston after he took that city’s top law enforcement gig. But, Acevedo won’t make it out without the obligatory recognition from the court (and probably dozens of other staff members) of her tenure as the head of the county’s ITS Department. Bring extra Kleenex.

9. Consider and take appropriate action on the following regarding FY18 salaries, including: a. Proposed elected officials’ salaries. b. Proposed calendar for setting elected officials’ salaries. c. public hearing on advertised salaries (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: It’s that awkward time of year again when the court has to consider raises for all of the county’s elected officials. As usual, the rates of pay increases are concurrent with raises awarded to all county employees. If approved later this year, County Attorney David Escamilla’s $173,918 annual salary would go up by $3,478, the largest individual bump. Meantime, each of the commissioners would pull down an extra $2,079, bringing their 2018 paychecks to $106,031.

10. Consider and take appropriate action on 308 Guadalupe. (This item may be taken into Executive Session under the Consultation with Attorney and Real Property exceptions.) (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: For the full – and exclusive – look at this vote, dig our story about it here.

14. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the Governor’s line-item veto of FY18–19 funding for air quality programs, including the Low-Income Vehicle Repair Assistance, Retrofit, and Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Program (LIRAP) and regional air quality planning activities to address ozone pollution in near nonattainment areas. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: If nothing else, Gov. Greg Abbott is a pro at pushing the county’s buttons. Last month, the governor struck down any new appropriations for the LIRAP program, an initiative by which the county collects assessments from vehicle registrations and then uses that to help less-fortunate drivers upgrade their cars or trucks in order to be able to pass emissions tests. Now the court has to consider whether to simply scrap its participation altogether or keep using its surplus balance until 2019 when perhaps a new legislative session can revive the program.

15. Consider and take appropriate action on an interlocal agreement with the University of Texas at Austin to provide data and model parameters needed to model evacuation scenarios and evaluate transportation system performance. (Commissioners Travillion & Shea)

Monitor’s Take: Here’s a thing that staff wants to fold into the ongoing creation of the comprehensive Travis County Transportation Plan. This $25,000 agreement would have the eggheads at UT’s Center for Transportation Research look at worst-case evacuation conditions across the county, sort of a thing that’s increasingly important with growing threats of wildfires and floods.

31. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the preservation of the Montopolis Negro School. (Commissioners Travillion & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: It appears the court is finally prepared to pick a side in the battle over the Montopolis Negro School. This item features a resolution that would call for the initiation of historic zoning of the building itself along with the surrounding property. The language also lends support for the rezoning of adjacent land to allow the owner of the whole tract to move forward with his plans to put houses on it. Meanwhile, the Urban Transportation Commission is also taking up a proposal to create a bike and pedestrian pathway across a section of the land right next to the school that was originally slated to be a street extension. There’s a lot of moving parts here!

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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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