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TipSheet: Travis County, 8.04.15

Tuesday, August 4, 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 appointments to the Strategic Housing Finance Corporation Board of Directors and Housing Authority of Travis County Board of Commissioners. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: This is latest step in the ongoing effort to shore up two county-backed affordable housing providers who were deemed to be in financially dire straits by the County Auditor back in June. The Commissioners Court is trying to fill five vacancies on the boards at both the SHFC and the HATC and on Tuesday will vote on whether to put one or two of the six candidates under consideration on both boards.

9. Consider and take appropriate action on the proposed Civil and Family Courts Complex project update, including: a. Discuss preliminary project and financing plan for the establishment of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone for the Civil and Family Courts Complex and Republic Square Park; and b. Receive update on findings related to the value of a South Tower Development and other related matters. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: A $292-million bond proposition is a tall order for lots of Travis County voters and Judge Sarah Eckhardt knows it. That’s why she’s trying to garnish it with an extra helping of sweeteners, including a proposed tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ. If created, money from redevelopment in the TIRZ, including on site of the proposed courts complex as well as the state-owned Hobby Building across the street, would be used to finance improvements to the streetscape as well as neighboring Republic Square Park.

15. Consider and take appropriate action on a request to approve an Advance Funding Agreement with TxDOT for safety improvements to signage, delineation, and guardrails on Fitzhugh Road in Precinct Three. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: If you’ve ever taken Fitzhugh Road out to Pedernales Falls State Park, you’re probably familiar with its snaking bends, shoulder-less straits, and multiple low-water crossings. The road in both Travis and Hays Counties has seen several fatal wrecks in recent years, including one last year that killed two women. After a three-year study, county staff are recommending a partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation to install or upgrade safety improvements on the short stretch in Travis County. TxDOT would cover 90 percent of the cost of the project, leaving Travis County on the hook for just under $20,000, according to the backup material.

17. Consider and take appropriate action on the following requests in Precinct Three: a. A preliminary plan, Cebolla Creek-Preliminary Plan – Twin Creeks Road; and b. Approve a Phasing Agreement between Travis County and Jarrod Gaither. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: Some development drama as a builder is looking to plant 188 new single-family homes on 71 acres in southern Travis County. The proposed site is about a mile away from the southern terminus of State Highway 45 at Interstate 35. The City of Austin’s Zoning and Platting approved the preliminary plan in early July and county staff is recommending that the Commissioners Court follow suit. Under the proposed phasing agreement, the developer would add a left-turn lane on Old San Antonio Road to improve access, as well as a gated drive connecting to a neighboring subdivision that would be for emergency vehicles only. The backup material for this item includes several letters from residents in the area who oppose the project.

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