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TipSheet: Travis County, 8.25.15

Tuesday, August 25, 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.

2. 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. (Action Item 7) (Judge Eckhardt & Commissioner Gómez)

7. Consider and take appropriate action 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. (Public Hearing Item 2) (Judge Eckhardt & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This is the first mass gathering case to come before the commissioners in the wake of the their recent, controversial revisions to the process. More significantly, it’s also the first application requesting a variance on the county’s amplified music curfew established by the new rules. Judge Sarah Eckhardt had previously pledged that the curfew was simply a baseline that would be negotiable pending good-faith negotiations between organizers and neighbors. Lots of attention — and maybe a few glib comments about the future of live music in Austin — will be focused on Tuesday’s discussion.

8. Consider and take appropriate action on the FY16 Interlocal Agreement with the City of Austin for Central Booking and Related Services. (Commissioner Davis)

Monitor’s Take: Generally, this would be a routine agreement between county and city and thus hardly notable. However this year, the county and city are looking at going in together on a proposed drunk tank while at the same time the city is toying with the notion of going solo with its own booking facility. Commissioner Ron Davis has been leading the charge looking for answers to the host of uncertainties the peculiar situation has unleashed. Expect him to stir the discussion on this item during Tuesday’s meeting.

9. Receive update from the Sobriety Center Intergovernmental Workgroup. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Speaking of the drunk tank! The commissioners will hear an update on the progress being made by a special panel cooking up a plan to relieve pressure on the jail by diverting over-exuberant celebrants to an overnight holding facility. One recommendation they’re making is the creation of a separate government corporation to manage the so-called sobriety center. With the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office set to relocate to a new building in the coming years, it’s looking more and more likely that the sobriety center will call the old ME’s building on Sabine Street its home.

35. Approve Modification No. 7 to Contract No. 4400000018 (HTE No. 07AE0019JW), HNTB Corp, for Frate-Barker Road Improvements. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: In the future, when the commissioners are tempted to balk at the original estimated cost of a given project, this is why. Transportation and Natural Resources staff are coming back with a seventh request to change the original contract on this road improvement project. Originally signed off at slightly more than $812,000, the project could end up costing more than $1.2 million if the commissioners agree to the latest modification.

37. Approve Modification No. 4 to Contract No. 4400001655, URS Corporation, Program Management Services for Development of a New Travis County Civil and Family Courts Complex. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: As you may have read, the commissioners last week officially set the $287.3 million dollar Civil and Family Courts Complex bond election for this November. While the political machine behind the project tries to sell the idea to voters, county staff will be soliciting firms to design and build the courthouse and its adjacent southern tower. This vote will formally initiate the process. Any winning bidders won’t be revealed until after November’s vote.

43. Receive and discuss the Travis County Healthcare District DBA Central Health proposed budget for FY16 and associated tax rate. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: As the commissioners continue to knuckle down on the county’s budget, they’ll also hear from Central Health’s bean counters. Like other local governments, the district will likely trim its tax rate while still enjoying higher revenues thanks to rising property values.

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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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