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TipSheet: Travis County, 9.13.16

Tuesday, September 13, 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.

3. Consider and take appropriate action on review of major event permitting procedures adopted in August 2015. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: One of 2015’s biggest Travis County storylines was the revisions made to the mass gathering permit process (we get nostalgic just typing those words) that were driven by freshman County Judge Sarah Eckhardt. Opponents famously warned that the changes could harm the region’s much ballyhooed live music culture while Eckhardt and her allies argued that the county needed to flex its rights to protect residents from ancillary harm caused by large festivals. One year later, the new rules are up for review, and since live music still seems to exist, they’ll likely remain in place.

10. Receive update on City of Austin action on Travis County’s creation of the WildHorse Ranch Public Improvement District. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The county dodged a bullet last week when Austin City Council granted its permission for the WildHorse Ranch Public Improvement District to proceed. WildHorse is the county’s first-ever foray into the wild and wonderful world of PIDs, but because it’s wholly inside city limits, Council had the prerogative to pull the plug on it. Concerns about whether the development will include a satisfactory amount of affordable housing cast a small pall of drama over Council’s decision, but ultimately the members gave WildHorse the green light, albeit with a substantial caveat.

19. Approve Request for Development Proposals (RFP) No. P1608-015-JT, 308 Guadalupe Street Development Services, and authorize Purchasing Agent to issue RFP. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Just a week after the county inked a deal with commercial real estate firm CBRE Inc., the ball is rolling on the development of the RFP that could settle the fate of 308 Guadalupe St., the jewel of a downtown property that narrowly missed being the site of the county’s badly needed new civil courthouse. If you’re  real estate developer and have a ton of money laying around, start putting your proposals together. We suggest a Launch Arcology.

28. Consider and take appropriate action on policies and procedures for Intergovernmental Relations for the upcoming legislative session. (Commissioner Shea & Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: Batten down the hatches because the lawmakers are coming back to Austin. In a mere three months, the sober and serene production known as the Texas Legislature will kick off its biennial session of serious, mature, and not-at-all cartoonish governance. To prepare for all contingencies, county staff — led by the inimitable and incomparable Intergovernmental Relations Director Deece Eckstein — have submitted to the Court the policies and procedures for its legislative priorities. (It does not include a single mention of “bulging briefcases of cash.”)

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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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