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TipSheet: Travis County, 9.06.16

Tuesday, September 6, 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.

10. Receive an update from the Affordable Housing Policy Committee. (Commissioner Shea & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Affordable housing: It’s sort of a big deal in the Austin area. In April 2015, the Commissioners Court formally deputized the ad hoc Affordable Housing Policy Committee to burrow into relevant matters. Since then, the body has taken on a number of tasks, including the review of the county’s public improvement district (PID) policy. We’re keeping our eyes and ears wide open for that touchy subject during the committee’s Tuesday briefing.

20. Consider and take appropriate action on the Wolf Creek Subdivision Preliminary Plan [preliminary plan – 174 total lots (165 single family lots, five commercial lots, four water quality/detention lots and public right-of-way) – 153.94 acres – City of Austin ETJ] in Precinct Four. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: While there’s no indication that this project will include any homes with specific affordability thresholds in mind, it is safe to assume that its location will act as a bulwark against the sort of prices per square foot in, say, downtown. The developer is proposing to plant these 165 homes on Pearce Lane, just east of the Bastrop County line.

21. Consider and take appropriate action on the following requests: a. Authorize the Transportation and Natural Resources Department to begin submitting agenda requests to use approximately $1.142 million of 2001 Bond Proposition 2 project savings for current and new unfunded projects that meet the related bond issuance statements (Funds 4035, 4039, 4042, 4045 and 4047) and legal requirements b. Approve use of $1.119 million (of the amount mentioned above) from 2001 Bond Proposition 2 project savings to purchase remaining floodplain buyout properties in the Timber Creek Subdivision located within Precinct Four (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: According to the backup material, the county has nearly “essentially exhausted” the $7 million budget for floodplain buyouts that was approved after a disaster along Onion Creek in 2013. To the apparent rescue comes $1.119 million in savings from a 15-year-old bond package. That amount, according to county staff, will cover the purchase of six properties and the relocation of their residents, all but completing the buy-out process in that neighborhood.

24. Approve contract award for 308 Guadalupe listing and representation for a site search for alternative sites to support additional Civil and Family Courts Capacity, RFQ No. Q1406-004-LP, to the most highly qualified firm, CBRE, Inc. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: For fans of the continuing Travis County courthouse drama, the summer is ending with a bang. With this item, the Court could designate CBRE, Inc., as the brokerage firm to help find potential buyers or partners on the 308 Guadalupe Street property. That was the site of the planned $287 million civil courthouse project that voters rejected last November. CBRE would also be tasked with searching for privately-owned properties outside of downtown Austin that could be potentially work as a courthouse site. Will they consider land near Decker Lake? Stay tuned!

33. Receive briefing from County Attorney regarding County rights and obligations with regard to Central Health. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: This executive session item contains no hint at what could potentially be discussed, but it’s a fair bet that it might be related to a recent visit to the Court by several activists calling for more transparency on Central Health’s part as the county hospital district prepares its budget for next year.

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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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