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TipSheet: Travis County, 9.12.2017

Tuesday, September 12, 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.

4. Consider and take appropriate action on the following related to the replacement of STAR Flight helicopters and organizational sustainability: a. Authorize the replacement of the existing STAR Flight fleet (three aircraft) b. Authorize the brokered sale of STAR Flight 4 (Huey firefighting helicopter) c. Accept a donation from the Seton Family of Hospitals d. Discuss FY18 budget recommendations and take appropriate action (Commissioners Shea & Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: Safety don’t come cheap. Replacing STAR Flight’s three helicopters comes with a stiff $30 million price tag, a sum that would be difficult to reach through the sheer power of a public donation drive. Instead, Seton Healthcare Family will chip in $10 million. An extra $10 million could come from the sale of the current ‘copters. Further savings could be realized if the court opts to reduce the fleet from three to two whirlybirds, but clearly the implications that would have on public safety must be measured.

13. Consider and take appropriate action regarding a resolution approving the bylaws of the Travis County Public Facilities Corporation, and other related matters. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: The members of the court are poised to add one more title to their resumes. If they create this corporation, each would also serve as a member of its board of directors. The purpose, of course, is to better manage the county’s sizeable inventory of properties that could be potentially capitalized upon through ground leases or outright sales.

18. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the first amendment to the license agreement between Travis County and the City of Austin to extend the term of the existing license agreement by two months at the 800 Lavaca Garage. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: That monstrous garage opposite of the county’s headquarters on W. 7th Street could soon lose a number of its daily users. Two years ago, the city of Austin signed a 24-month lease on the structure’s 110 rooftop spaces for use by the Faulk Central Library just to its west. This item would extend that agreement through November, but once the new Central Library opens next month, the city’s needs will presumably evaporate.

20. Consider and take appropriate action regarding educational material detailing the proposed 2017 Bond Referendum, Propositions A and B. (Commissioners Travillion & Shea)

Monitor’s Take: Don’t forget that there’s a county bond election coming up in less than two months. Soon, for your democratic pleasure and courtesy of the court, you’ll have highly detailed literature on the various transportation and parks projects that will be on the ballot. In the meantime, we’re still waiting for anyone who opposes the package to step forward and provide some drama and political theater. We’ve got narratives to sell here, people.

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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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