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TipSheet: Travis County, 8.22.17

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 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. Consider and take appropriate action related to the implementation of the Austin-Travis County Wildfire Evacuation Special Operations Plan. (Commissioners Shea & Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: We’re no experts but it seems like a pretty solid bet that August is a pretty rough time so far as the dangers of wildfires are concerned. So it’s a lucky break for county residents to have this report ready for the Commissioners Court’s approval. The nearly three-dozen-page plan deals with traffic management, property management, refuge areas and other fun stuff. Here’s hoping this is one of those plans that collects dust on a shelf for as long as possible.

10. Consider and take appropriate action on draft newspaper advertisements for the following: a. Notice of Tax Year 2017 (FY18) proposed property tax rate for Travis County, Texas. b. Notice of public hearings on tax increase to be held on September 19 & 22, 2017. c. Notice of vote on tax rate on September 26, 2017. d. Notice of public hearing on the proposed Travis County Budget for FY18 to be held on September 26, 2017. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The court’s budget season hits its stride this week with three mark-up sessions scheduled through next Monday, the formal public notification of the proposed tax rate, and the scheduling of public hearings and the tax rate vote. It’s a wonderful time to be alive.

17. Consider and take appropriate action on the following related to the completion of the new Medical Examiner Office located at 7723 Springdale Road, Austin, Texas 78724: a. Medical Examiner Office Dedication Plaque. b. Setting October 11, 2017, at 10 AM as the date and time for the dedication ceremony of the new Medical Examiner Office. (Commissioner Travillion)

Monitor’s Take: An uncle once told us the lame joke about how cemeteries must be super popular because people are just dying to get into them. On a semi-related note, this might the first and only time the general public would have any interest in checking out the new medical examiner’s office. In addition to being a larger, newer facility, this project gets bonus points for freeing up the old ME’s office building on Sabine Street in downtown Austin for its next role as the city and county’s joint sobriety center.

31. Receive update and take appropriate action on job description and timeline related to the position of Public Information Officer, Commissioners Court. (Commissioners Shea & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Dust off those resumes and get to crankin’ on those cover letters. The long-awaited PIO position will be filled as a temporary six-month gig designed more or less to show a proof-of-concept. According to the timeline, the court could make the hire as early as late September. The wages of acting as the conduit between county government and those jackals in the media will range from $52,000 to $78,000 per year.

32. Receive and discuss the Travis County Healthcare District DBA Central Health proposed budget for FY18 and associated tax rate. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Central Health this year is proposing to lower its tax rate, although – and stop us if you’ve heard this before – thanks to rising property values, the average tax bill will see a modest increase. Since that’s generally par for the course in our neck of the woods, the larger controversy we’ll be watching is the ongoing campaign being waged by grassroots activists to force more transparency on the hospital district. Those indefatigable citizens have promised to deliver a special report to the curt during Tuesday’s hearing, a gesture that should inject a little rambunctious fun into the proceedings.

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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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