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TipSheet: Travis County, 8.22.16

Tuesday, August 23, 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.

6. Receive and discuss the Travis County Healthcare District d/b/a Central Health proposed budget for FY17 and associated tax rate. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s take: The scratchy mechanical buzz jumping from adding machines across Central Texas can only mean one thing: It’s budget season, baby. The Commissioners Court has as one of its many privileges and pleasures discretion over the yearly finances of its very own Central Health, which means that it will discuss the tiny tax rate reduction the district is proposing. Of course, most taxpayers should expect a small bump in their bills despite the rate dropping from 11.78 cents to 11.05 cents per $100 of property valuation. Thus is the burden of the landowner during an economic boom.

11. Consider and take appropriate action on draft newspaper advertisements for the following: a. Notice of Tax Year 2016 (Fiscal Year 2017) proposed property tax rate for Travis County, Texas b. Notice of public hearings on tax increase to be held on September 20 & 23, 2016 c. Notice of vote on tax rate on September 27, 2016 d. Notice of public hearing on the proposed Travis County Budget for FY17 to be held on September 27, 2016 (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s take: When it’s not moonlighting as the budgeting agency for Central Health, the court also has to take care of county affairs, too. As the Austin Monitor reported on Monday, the county is itself looking at a tax rate decrease (accompanied by a tax bill increase thanks, again, to those booming property values). This item is a procedural step in the sacred annual dance known in some very wry and/or hopelessly square quarters as the Budget Boogie.

14. Consider and take appropriate action regarding building out the final two floors of the Ronald Earle Building. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s take: A new twist in the Ronnie Earle Building saga! After much wrangling last year over the proposed cost of construction, the developer for the new headquarters of the District Attorney’s Office agreed to leave unfinished two floors in the midrise tower. However, thanks to a lower-than-expected quote to build the new Medical Examiner’s Office building, county staff is trying to put those two floors back into play. The total cost would be $2.6 million added to a Certificate of Obligation issuance currently slated for $3.6 million.

23. Approve contract award for construction of the New South Community Center, IFB No. B1604-011-JT, to the low bidder, Tegrity Contractors, Inc. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s take: The apparent winner in the bidding battle to build a brand new community center and clinic in Precinct 4 crossed the finish line with an offer of $3.48 million. The 10,500-square-foot facility will double the size of the existing community center.

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