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TipSheet: Travis County, 9.14.15

Tuesday, September 15, 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.

11. Approve FY16 Budget Rules. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Budget geeks, rejoice. Although Austin City Council has ended its annual financial foxtrot, there is still some dramatic bean-counting action to be had at the Commissioners Court. On Tuesday, they’ll likely approve the 45-page document that establishes the rules of this year’s process. The first of two public hearings on the proposed budget will happen next Tuesday, and final adoption is scheduled for Sept. 29.

17. Consider and take appropriate action regarding a license agreement for City of Austin to use the County’s 700 Lavaca Building Parking Garage located at 800 Lavaca Street. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: It seems there’s a bit of a disagreement between the City of Austin and Travis County over the value of downtown parking spaces. Since 2010, the city has leased out 110 parking spaces for $100 each at the county’s parking garage across from the Faulk Central Library. Five years later, the Facilities Management Division wants to raise the rate to $150 per space, for a total one-year agreement worth $198,000. So far, the city is balking at the bargain. But if the commissioners approve this item, they could force the city to choose between two options: Pay up, or pack up.

22. Consider and take appropriate action on hiring Tim Sorrells as special counsel to the Commissioners Court (under the direction of the County Attorney’s Office) leading up to the November 3 bond election. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: With the $287 million Civil and Courts Complex bond officially on the November ballot, the commissioners court appear to be lawyering up in order to avoid any legal potholes. To that end, this item would hire Austin lawyer and former counsel to the Texas Ethics Commission to review educational materials produced by the county and advise the commissioners and county attorneys on potential issues involving ethics as county officials thread the needle between illegal campaigning for the bond and innocent education about its merits and demerits.

26. Approve Contract Award for Parking Management Services, RFS No. 1507-001-JL, to the top three firms, Lanier Parking, Parking Systems of America, and Platinum Parking. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The value of temporary car storage! By dividing the contracts for seven parking lots and garages in downtown Austin among three different parking management companies, staff is estimating that the county stands to make $1.87 million in extra revenue next year. At 2,012 spaces, that comes to roughly $2.54 per space each day.

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