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Bond controversy lingers as county enters the final stretch

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

The second-to-last discussion (if all goes according to plan) of a potential bond referendum at Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday sounded a lot like the one just one week prior. After the court heard from staff slightly more specific details about rising costs associated with a handful of the projects recommended for voter consideration – costs that were revealed last week – a small parade of residents rattled off their opposition to the extension of Reimers-Peacock Road between State Highway 71 and Hamilton Pool Road – also a topic at last week’s public hearing. While it’s not technically on the list of projects recommended by the Citizens Bond Advisory Committee, Commissioner Gerald Daugherty has expressed his intent to try to add it to the ballot when the court approves the project list next week. Though a compendium of public comments received by the committee suggest that opposition to the road is by no means universal, the overwhelming sentiment expressed before the court has been staunchly against it, and on Tuesday, opponents received grassroots support. BikeAustin Executive Director Mercedes Feris told the court she would oppose the entire bond package if Reimers-Peacock were included in it, and the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter’s Roy Waley said he would lobby his executive committee to make a similar decision. As for whether the committee should reconvene one last time before next Tuesday to further discuss additional possible changes to its recommendation, the committee’s chair, Ron Wattinger, was uninterested. “My personal opinion is we’ve done all we can and unfortunately it’s time for y’all to make some hard decisions,” he told the court. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt was partially convinced and directed a staff survey of committee members on their feelings toward both the potential changes as well as a possible final meeting.

This whisper has been changed since publication to correct a typo.

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