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TipSheet: Travis County, 7.18.16

Tuesday, July 19, 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.

2. Receive comments regarding proposed FY17 salaries of elected officials. (Commissioner Gómez)

16. Consider and take appropriate action to set the FY17 salaries of elected officials. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: If you have any urge to criticize or praise the Commissioners Court over its steps towards raising the maximum salaries of elected officials (including themselves) by 2.5 percent, Tuesday is your chance to have your voice be officially heard for the record. The total financial impact of the proposed raise is $374,275. Of course, each elected official has the option to set their own salary anywhere beneath maximum set by the Court.

6. Consider and take appropriate action regarding response to flooding in and around Travis County, including: a. Documents regarding the Public Assistance Declaration for the May 2016 Floods: 1) Designation of Applicant’s Agent 2) Request for Public Assistance 3) Direct Deposit Form b. Briefing on the October 2015 flood damage to Travis County parks (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: It’s understandable if you’re having trouble keeping up with the string of devastating floods that have rocked Travis County in recent years. On Tuesday, some of the details will get straightened out as staff is set to update the Court on the rebuilding process related to last year’s Halloween floods. The Court is also set to move the ball forward on the process to secure funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help cover expenses from the floods that struck this May.

10. Consider and take appropriate action on appointments to the Travis County and City of Austin Sobriety Center Board of Directors. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: After approving last month the fundamentals of an agreement with the City of Austin to set up a sobriety center to relieve pressure on the downtown jail and target substance abuse in the community, the Court appears set to appoint its three members to the center’s governing board. The county will also get to approve a fourth member of the nine-person board though that candidate will have to be mutually agreed on with City Council which is, of course, in the middle of its July hiatus.

17. Consider and take appropriate action on the advisability of creating the WildHorse Ranch Public Improvement District. (Commissioner Davis)

Monitor’s Take: Last week, sparks flew over the creation of the county’s potentially first ever public improvement district, or PID. Commissioner Ron Davis, who has championed the project in his precinct, accused Commissioner Brigid Shea of rehashing arguments and issues that had been addressed time and again during previous discussions. Whether Shea raises those same issues, or other contentious ones, remains the critical question on at least one freelance reporter’s mind.

20. Consider and take appropriate action regarding enhanced security at the Criminal Justice Center. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: In April, several local defense attorneys publicly bristled at the county’s plans to beef up security screenings at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center. According to the backup, this item “will allow those opposed to the enhanced measures to voice their opposition, give reasons why they consider these measures unnecessary and not the best use of taxpayer dollars, and to propose alternate measures.” We’re packing extra popcorn for this one.

40. Receive briefing and take appropriate action on litigation involving Austin Park, LLC in: a. Austin Park, LLC v. Travis County et al., Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-862 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas b. Travis County, Texas and The Texas Department of State Health Services v. Austin Park, LLC, Cause No. D-1-GN-16-003020 in the Travis County District Court. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Before the county could file a Court-approved lawsuit against the developers behind the NLand Surf Park, those same developers sued the county. As the Monitor first reported back in April, the controversy stems over NLand’s insistence that its man-made body of water made for recreational use is not a pool.

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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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