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TipSheet: Travis County, 9.25.18

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

The Travis County Commissioners Court will meet Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. As part of our efforts to keep the community politically informed, here are a few items selected from the agenda. The County Clerk’s Office hosts a copy of the full agenda at its website.

2. Approve proclamation recognizing the month of October 2018 as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” in Travis County. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: As part of a joint effort, the Commissioners Court will declare October “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” It will all begin on Wednesday with a simultaneous awareness campaign and football game directed toward youth called “Football is a Contact Sport. LOVE Shouldn’t Be.” Players at House Park Stadium will sport purple decals on their helmets in support of the cause. The second campaign, called the “Lauri Wright Stand Up for Safe Families Paddle Parade,” will offer more family-oriented fun on Oct. 4 at The Texas Rowing Center. Domestic violence is not spoken about enough, and this campaign looks like a good way to bring up this important conversation.

5. Consider and take appropriate action on an interlocal agreement between Travis County, the City of Austin, and the Sobering Center Local Government Corporation governing the operations of Austin/Travis County Sobering Center. (Commissioners Daugherty & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The Austin/Travis County Sobering Center opened in August this year as an effort to free hospital beds and provide a space for publicly intoxicated persons to sober up and look into treatment if appropriate. The city of Austin has agreed to fund the center’s operations for Fiscal Year 2018-19 in acknowledgement that Austin is a growing entertainment destination and drinking and drug use is part of that picture. Travis County has also given $887,057 in FY 2018-19 for building renovations and maintenance, but any further renovations will be the responsibility of the Sobering Center Local Government Corporation. Shorter waits for hospital patients and fewer dangerously intoxicated people on the streets is a net positive, and County Judge Sarah Eckhardt will likely approve this interlocal agreement.

38. Approve contract award for Professional Engineering Services, Arroyo Doble/Twin Creeks Drainage Project, RFQ No. Q1710-012-AC, to the most highly qualified respondent, HDR Engineering, Inc. (Commissioner Daugherty)

Monitor’s Take: Efficient flood drainage is becoming more important every year in Texas and dealing with the problem goes beyond Waller Creek and the city’s core. Arroyo Doble and Twin Creeks may not be near downtown, but good flood drainage is essential to prevent the kinds of catastrophic floods the state has been seeing lately. The Transportation and Natural Resources evaluation team has determined that HDR Engineering Inc. is the best company for the job and it seems highly likely that the Commissioners Court will trust that assessment.

50. Consider and take appropriate action on the Travis County Healthcare District DBA Central Health FY19 Budget. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Last week the Commissioners Court held off on voting for the Central Health Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget in light of the controversy surrounding the decision to dissolve Sendero Health Plans. Last Saturday, however, the Central Health Board of Managers held a meeting where it rescinded its decision to dissolve Sendero, providing $26 million to Sendero in FY 2018-19 in hopes of seeing performance improvements. With this development, we can expect the court to approve the Central Health budget and tax rates after Central Health presents a detailed analysis of its budget and current operations along with an explanation of Saturday’s decision. Last week, Eckhardt stated her willingness to support whatever Central Health ultimately decided, and it’s likely that the commissioners will be pleased with Central Health’s recent decision and follow her lead in approving the budget.

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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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