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TipSheet: Travis County, 8.16.16

Tuesday, August 16, 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.

7. Consider and take appropriate action on the following related to the County Executive for Emergency Services: a. Accept Danny Hobby’s notice of retirement, effective Feb. 28, 2017 b. Review and revise Danny Hobby’s current assignments c. Discuss process to recruit and hire for the position d. Create a succession slot in Emergency Services, effective Aug 16, 2016, through Feb. 28, 2017 (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s take: It’s generally best for all interested parties for the head of the local emergency management division to make the Maytag Man look like a workaholic. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has not seen so kind in the past few years, and, as such, Danny Hobby and his team have been thrust into the spotlight to deal with more than their fair share of disasters. However, even as the county is still investigating the most recent round of deadly floods, Hobby is stepping down. On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court will start the long process of finding his replacement.

14. Receive update and take appropriate action on report from the Travis County Health and Human Services & Veterans Service Department and the City of Austin Health and Human Services Department regarding recommended increases to Food Establishment Permit Fees. (Commissioner Shea & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s take: According to the presentation staff will deliver to the court on this item, the county has not done a holistic review of the fees it charges for dining permits in more than a decade. Given that lengthy grace period, business owners might want to begin bracing themselves for some sharp increases ahead. Under the proposed changes, larger restaurants could pay 10 times more for their permits, while the difference for a food truck owner could be as much as $213. Of course, since the court’s lone Republican, Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, also moonlights as a restaurateur himself, it’s safe to expect some amount of contentious discussion of this item.

25. Consider and take appropriate action to accept a donation from Warner Brothers Television Inc. to be used to maintain and improve parks located in Precinct 4. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s take: Apparently the producers of a motion picture serial that airs on the Home Box Office channel filmed several scenes recently in Travis County’s Richard Moya Park. True to the big-hearted stereotype of generous Tinseltown moguls, the firm behind the program – Warner Bros. Television – has decided to demonstrate its gratitude by knocking a cool $5,000 toward the county with the suggestion that it be used for park maintenance. Good ol’ Hollywood: where people treat each other right.

29. Consider and take appropriate action on issues related to the North Campus Development Project at 5325–5335 Airport Boulevard. (County Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s take: A warning for obsessive Travis County watchers: Prepare to see an item dealing with the county’s North Campus development project on every agenda for the rest of the year. As staff works out the finer details with the county’s chosen partner in the deal, DMA Development Company, it has requested to keep a running item each week just in case it needs rapid input from the court. The negotiations are expected to run through the end of 2016.

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