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TipSheet: Travis County, 8.13.19

Tuesday, August 13, 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 at the Travis County website.

Commissioners Margaret Gomez and Jeff Travillion will be absent today, so a number of items may be postponed.

8. Consider and take appropriate action on a request from Pretrial Services regarding an interlocal cooperation agreement with Integral Care for the Mental Health Jail Diversion program. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: Part of an ongoing effort to reduce incarceration, this proposal sets up a collaboration with Integral Care, the local mental health authority. Under the agreement, Integral Care would provide mental health screenings to defendants and recommend and provide mental health services to defendants who are released on bond. Although those who partake in the program would not necessarily have their charges dropped, the program appears to envision “diversion” from the criminal justice system for at least some defendants. That may mean that those who undergo treatment could evade criminal penalties such as incarceration, probation or fines.

18. Receive update on County Parks recycling project. (Commissioner Travillion)

Monitor’s Take: The county hired Je’e Willis, an environmental quality summer intern, to examine national best practices on recycling in parks, along with parks intern Sean Giffin. Their report identifies a number of ways the county could improve its recycling program, including by putting trash cans and recycling bins side by side, rather than separately. The commissioners may be interested in putting some of the recommendations into policy.

A1. Consider and take appropriate action on soliciting public input on the draft restrictive covenant legal descriptions related to the Palm School property. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: In June the court voted in favor of restrictive covenants that would ensure the preservation of the Palm School building if the county sells the property. However, they are not final and staffers are recommending the beginning of a 30-day public comment period for people to provide feedback on the covenants. What has also changed since June is that City Council voted to increase the Hotel Occupancy Tax, therefore depriving the county of the ability to raise a separate hotel tax. That may have further diminished the city’s chances of getting the county to give it the Palm School building, which some city leaders would like to see become a cultural center. This item may end up only being discussed in executive session, however.

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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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