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TipSheet: Travis County, 8.6.19

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 by Jack Craver

The Travis County Commissioners Court meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. To help our readers stay informed, each week we offer a selection of interesting items from the voting session agenda. The entire agenda is available at the Travis County website.

8. Consider and take appropriate action on the grant application to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission for a public defender office in Travis County. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The county has already submitted its application to TIDC to get funding to set up a public defender’s office, but there are still a few details to work out about the future office. Notably, two members of the new public defender oversight committee still need to be named. In response to concerns from activists, the court appears interested in at least one of the two new members being a person of color who has either been incarcerated or is involved in criminal justice activism.

9. Consider and take appropriate action on the Pay for Success program for 250 units of permanent supportive housing, and partnership agreements. (This item may be taken into Executive Session under the Consultation with Attorney exception.) (Commissioners Daugherty & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: This would commit the county to providing $1.2 million to help the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition to raise $16.3 million in private funds to pay for 250 units of permanent supportive housing. The way Pay for Success works, private investors cover the cost of the program and are repaid by the public entities based on the performance of the program. This program focuses on individuals who are incurring significant costs due to frequent hospitalizations and/or arrests. The $1.2 million is a “good faith” payment to signal to potential investors that the county is serious about participating.

15. Consider and take appropriate action on the budget hearing schedule. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Because the Travis Central Appraisal District is taking longer than usual to certify property taxes, the Commissioners Court is still not quite clear how much money it has to work with to craft the 2019-20 budget. However, state law requires local governments to approve their annual budgets by the end of September, so the court needs to get to work regardless.

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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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