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TipSheet: Travis County, 8.18.15

Tuesday, August 18, 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:

1. Receive comments regarding the establishment of a Travis County Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #1 for the Civil and Family Courts Complex and Republic Square Park. (Action Item 14A) (Judge Eckhardt)

14. Consider and take appropriate action on the proposed Civil and Family Courts Complex Project update, including: a. Approve the establishment of a Travis County Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #1 for the Civil and Family Courts Complex and Republic Square Park (Public Hearings Item 1); and b. Consider and take appropriate action on the draft Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Design-Build Team for the Civil and Family Courts Complex. (Judge Eckhardt)

15. Consider and take appropriate action on an Order calling a Bond Election on November 3, 2015, for Civil and Family Courts Facilities. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: It’s happening! The major Travis County narrative of 2015 is the effort to pass a $287.3 million bond to build a new Civil and Family Courts Complex, and Tuesday’s voting session will mark a major milestone in the campaign. Items 1 and 14 share overlap with the question of the tax reinvestment zone, or TIRZ. After a public hearing, the commissioners will decide whether to draw the courthouse site, Republic Square Park, and the State of Texas’ neighboring Hobby Building into the TIRZ in order to earmark parking revenue from the courthouse’s garage for improvements to the park and area streetscapes. The commissioners will also examine the Request for Qualifications, or RFQ, that will likely be officially launched next week in order to find qualified firms to build the project if voters approve it in November. And finally, in what essentially marks the departure of the issue from the drydock of the Commissioners Court to the high seas of electoral consideration, the commissioners will formally finalize the bond language and schedule the vote. This flurry of activity will all be capped off by a 12 p.m. press conference with Judge Sarah Eckhardt and District Judge Lora Livingston on hand to talk shop about the bond.

7. Approve setting a public hearing on Tuesday, August 25, 2015, to receive comments regarding the issuance of a Mass Gathering Permit for the Euphoria Music & Camping Festival to be held on April 7–11, 2016, at Carson Creek Ranch, 9507 Sherman Road. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This procedural vote will set up the first mass gathering permit hearing since the commissioners voted last week to overhaul the permitting procedure. The organizers behind Euphoria Music and Camping Festival were resistant to the changes and their current application — prepared well before last week’s vote — appears to have amplified music scheduled for hours outside of the baseline curfew adopted under the new revisions.

Consider and take appropriate action to consider adoption of initial resolution, approval of Agreement to Issue Bonds and to file application with Texas Bond Review Board for issuance of bonds to finance residential development for The Terrace at Walnut Creek Apartments. (Commissioner Davis)

Monitor’s Take: Technically separate from the regular agenda, this item will be taken up by the commissioners in their capacity as the Travis County Housing Finance Corporation. At issue here is a proposed $31-million bond to build a 321-unit residential complex with units that will rent for 60 percent or less of the median area income.

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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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