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TipSheet: Travis County, 7.28.15

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 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.

Items of interest include:

2. Consider and take appropriate action on an order concerning outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of Travis County. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Heavy rains in May and June washed away any concerns about a burn ban so far this summer but an extended dry streak is changing that. Neighboring counties, including Caldwell and Burnet, have restricted burn bans, and as hot, dry conditions persist, Travis County commissioners could soon follow suit.

7. Receive briefing from Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) on regional transportation in Travis County’s unincorporated area. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Since 1979, Travis County has partnered with CARTS to provide transportation services to indigent and other qualified residents in rural parts of the county. In April, program’s general manager requested the commissioners court to increase funding for the service from $130,752 to $428,460 for the next fiscal year. Tuesday’s briefing should give the court — and taxpayers — a better idea of what exactly that money will buy.

11. Consider and take appropriate action on the proposed Civil and Family Courts Complex project update, including setting a public hearing on Tuesday, August 18, 2015, regarding the establishment of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The latest in the ongoing preparation for November’s vote on the bond issue that would fund a brand new civil courthouse. With this item, the commissioners would set a public hearing to discuss the creation of the tax increment reinvestment zone that would use value added from the proposed courts complex to cover the costs of infrastructure improvements in the area.

15. Consider and take appropriate action and direct County staff regarding fleet fueling services options, including negotiating an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Austin. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: On its face, this might not be the sexiest item on Tuesday’s agenda but recent events, namely the Memorial Day flood, have underscored its urgency. When Shoal Creek spilled over its banks in late May, the water inundated the county’s downtown fueling station at W. 10th and N. Lamar Boulevard. This item seeks to provide a ‘plan B’ in an emergency situation similar to that. The backup material also explicitly says that the proposal is prompted by the county’s plan to sell the downtown station, one of several proposed divestments that could help offset the cost of the aforementioned civil and family courts complex.

26. Approve Modification No. 4 to Contract No. 4400001574, Chasco Construction, for Bee Creek Road Widening Project. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The fourth requested modification to this road construction contract would increase the cost by another $136,112, bringing the new amount up to $9,316,183. The requested change would cover extra striping at the entrance to a school as well as flashing solar beacons. The expansion of this 1.4-mile stretch of Bee Creek Road to four-lanes from the original two was originally approved at $9,096,848.

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