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TipSheet: Travis County, 9.1.15

Tuesday, September 1, 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.

4. Consider and take appropriate action on amendment to the Mass Gathering Permit to include definition of “residence.” (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: A maintenance item here to add more clarity to the recent revisions the Commissioners Court made to the mass gathering permitting process. Included in those revisions was a compromise that stipulates noise readings from outdoor events must be measured from the nearest residence rather than the nearest property line. The need for additional clarity was highlighted in the ongoing conflict between events venue Carson Creek Ranch and a neighboring farmer who suggested he might move an RV to their shared fence line where venue noise would measure considerably louder than at his own home several hundred yards away.

8. Consider and take appropriate action to set the FY16 salaries of elected officials. (Public Hearing Item 1) (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: After going without last year, Travis County elected officials (not including district judges) will see a raise this in 2016, pending the results of this vote. That means the County Attorney could take home an extra $4,942 next year while the commissioners will increase their bottom lines by $2,954. The vote will be preceded by a public hearing to provide a chance for residents to let fly their measured feelings about politicians and their paychecks.

15. Consider and take appropriate action on forming a Travis County Cultural Affairs Working Group and establish a charge that includes: a. A survey of available space at 700 Lavaca for public art, including display, hanging and sculpture; b. Contract review and discussion of parameters for Corridor of Art on Lower Level of 700 Lavaca; c. Inventory of County-owned artworks at 700 Lavaca; d. Recommendations regarding next steps in producing a County-wide inventory and survey for all County facilities; e. Recommendations regarding sphere of operations and responsibilities; and f. Consideration of a fiscal note for these activities. (Judge Eckhardt & Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Judge Sarah Eckhardt seems to be taking a page from the City of Austin and its active public art program. No telling yet if her aim is to feature locally made artwork in the lobby of county HQ at 700 Lavaca St. a la the People’s Gallery at City Hall, but one would probably be safe in placing that bet.

17. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the Fourth Amendment to Cafeteria and Concession Services Agreement between Travis County, Texas, and Luby’s Fuddruckers Restaurants, LLC. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: A lot to unpack here (Luby’s and Fuddruckers are under the same corporate tent?), but the main takeaway is that workers and visitors at 700 Lavaca will be able to rely on heat-lamp lunches for at least one more year should the commissioners approve this contract extension to keep the Luby’s, etc. in the building’s basement. While it’s not one of Austin’s toniest restaurants, it is does serve the county $18,000 in revenue each year.

33. Consider and take appropriate action on recommendations for interim charges for the 84th Texas Legislature. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: While Travis County generally seems like it plays King Canute to the Legislature’s ocean, it never hurts to ask. To that end, the county’s Intergovernmental Relations Coordinator, Deece Eckstein, has put together a list of proposals for lawmakers to consider before their next session in 2017. The march of technological innovation might make it difficult for legislators to ignore one of the requests: To consider the statutory and budgetary issues surrounding self-driving vehicles

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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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