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Commissioners Court approves better Better Builder Program

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 by Caleb Pritchard

The Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday gave unanimous support to a set of staff recommendations aimed at improving conditions for construction workers on county projects. The proposals, brought forward by the Purchasing Office’s Contract Compliance Program, augment the county’s Better Builder Program and will require contractors to certify commitments to safety and payroll practices. Jose Garza, executive director of the Workers Defense Project, a group that lobbied for the adoption of the recommendations, hailed the vote in a statement sent out on Tuesday afternoon. “We applaud Travis County for its commitment to Better Builder, and for leading the state through implementing these common sense reforms to help ensure taxpayer dollars are used responsibly in a way that creates good, safe construction jobs,” he said. According to the WDP, the new regulations will apply to 18 Travis County projects valued at $184 million through 2020. The court also voted to allocate $9,000 to pay the WDP to monitor two of those projects this year. According to a staff memo, the Purchasing Office has requested $677,290 in the upcoming budget to cover more WDP monitoring as well as six new full-time staffers to man the beefed-up Better Builder Program. Commissioner Gerald Daugherty made the motion to approve the $9,000 allocation but noted his unease with working exclusively with the WDP. “While I do think that Workers Defense provides a good service in this community for the goals that we are setting out for the Better Builder Program, I just want it to be known that I want to see how this thing is going to progress.”

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