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Palm School item surprises Gómez

Thursday, January 14, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

A planned discussion on what to do with Travis County’s Palm School property in downtown Austin came as a surprise this week to the commissioner leading the charge to preserve the 19th-century building. “I didn’t know the item was going to be on the agenda today,” admitted Commissioner Margaret Gómez after County Judge Sarah Eckhardt asked her during Tuesday’s regular weekly meeting of the Commissioners Court to provide an update on her efforts to create a committee to explore options for the site. The last time the issue was brought up before the court, in December, Eckhardt postponed action and instructed the commissioners to pass along in writing to Gómez suggested charges for the proposed committee. On Tuesday, Gómez said she had not yet received anything from her colleagues. Eckhardt brushed off the inaction and said she still wants to hear from Austin City Manager Marc Ott before giving official consideration to the committee’s charges. However, the suggestion to invite participants from other jurisdictions to weigh in on what the county should do with its own property made Commissioner Gerald Daugherty bristle. “At the end of the day, I think the county needs to drive this because it is ours and the Travis County citizens who own this,” Daugherty argued. In the end, Eckhardt said the court would come back to the issue again at its February meeting.

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