Travis County Commissioners Court

Travis County
1:41 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Travis County Employees Could Lose Individually Reserved Parking

Travis County employees could lose indvidually reserved parking under a new propsal.
flickr.com/spike55151

This story has been corrected. See below.

The Travis County Commissioners Court discussed a proposal Tuesday that could cut individual permit parking for some downtown employees, replacing it with open, or "zoned," parking lot parking. 

The county aims to eliminate a three year-long waitlist for parking that has 320 employees still angling for a spot.

Travis County auditor Nikki Riley told the commissioners the county pays $120,000 a year for additional spaces so certain employees can have reserved spots. "We are firmly convinced that if we go to zoned parking, we would be able to eliminate the waiting list," she said.

Read more
Austin
3:47 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Travis County Commissioners Decline to Renew Gun Show Contract (Update)

The Houston Gun show at the George R. Brown Convention Center in 2007. Travis County Commissioners are considering doing away with gun shows that take place on publicly-owned property.
Credit flickr.com/glasgows

Update: Travis County Commissioners effectively ended their contract with Saxet Gun Show today by refusing to renew their contract to operate at the Travis County Expo Center.

The majority of commissioners declined to renew the contract after the promoter refused to allow background checks for all purchases, not just purchases from federally licensed vendors, which already require checks. The term would have closed the so-called gun show "loophole," says Judge Sam Biscoe. He estimates 10 percent of purchases at Saxet shows are done without background checks.

"So far we have been unwilling to give them a new contract without background checks as a term,” Biscoe tells KUT. “So as long as they insist on not doing background checks on this 10 percent, unless we change our minds, they’re still without a contract.”

Read more
Transportation
3:48 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Travis County Commissioners Support Long-Delayed SH 45 SW

The proposed 4-lane toll road would connect FM 1626 in Hays County and MoPac in Travis County.
Texas Department of Transportation

Travis County Commissioners have approved a resolution by a vote of 4-to-0 supporting the construction of State Highway 45 Southwest.  Commissioner Gerald Daugherty pushed for the resolution, after campaigning on getting the roadway built. He says population growth and traffic congestion demands action. And he believes the road could be built while protecting natural resources, despite a pending environmental review from TxDOT and push-back from environmentalists and stakeholders in the area. 

Read more
Commissoners Court
8:53 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Despite Perry Veto, Travis County Bills State for Public Integrity Work

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg in 2008.
KUT News

Travis County is going to bill the State of Texas for some work done on the Public Integrity Unit. Travis County commissioners approved the plan Tuesday.

The Public Integrity Unit deals with white-collar crimes from across the state. It had been paid for with state funds, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed that money when Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated.

Read more
Del Valle
9:56 am
Tue September 24, 2013

County Commissioners Approve Some Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack (Update)


View Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack in a larger map

Update: Travis County Commissioners have agreed to fund the construction of a new road in Del Valle near the Circuit of the Americas track using non-taxpayer approved bonds. Commissioner Margaret Gomez, who represents the area where the road will be built, says the project is critical for economic development.

Read more
Texas
6:38 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Travis County Looks at Funding Options for Public Integrity Unit

After the governor's announcement to de-fund the Public Integrity Unit in Travis County — an investigative unit with cases across the state. County Commissioners discussed future funding options at their meeting today.
Image by Matt Largey for KUT News

The future of the Public Integrity Unit - an arm of the Travis County's District Attorney's Office with about 600 statewide fraud cases open that was recently defunded by Gov. Rick Perry - is anything but certain. 

Today, the Travis County Commissioners Court  looked at some alternatives to fund the office, which could shutter its doors on Sept. 30 and leave 31 employees jobless. 

Read more
Austin
2:39 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

County Commissioners Say Maintaining Roads Costs Counties

Travis County Commissioners say a bill before the legislature could alleviate county maintenance of highways like US-183
flickr.com/carlos/

Gov. Rick Perry’s addition of transportation to the special session yesterday may mean more funding for Texas highways.

But Travis County Commissioners sent a letter today to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House arguing the Texas Department of Transportation relies too heavily on Central Texas counties to fund improvements to the state highway system.

Read more
Travis County
3:15 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Update: Bruce Todd to Replace Travis Co. Commissioner Eckhardt

Travis County Commissioner's Court
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Update: Former Austin Mayor Bruce Todd is returning to the Travis County Commissioners Court.

County Judge Sam Biscoe has selected Todd to be interim Precinct 2 Commissioner, an office Todd held before he was elected Mayor of Austin in 1991. 

Read more
Austin
7:51 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Travis County Commissioners Hope for Property Tax Flexibility

Jillian Schantz Patrick, KUT News

Travis County Commissioners met today and spent a lengthy amount of time discussing a bill that may not see legislative light of day.

HB 3348 from Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, would amend the Texas Constitution to give cities and counties flexibility in setting property tax rates – allowing them to set a tax rate of a specific dollar amount instead of the 20 percent traditionally used for property tax exemptions.  

Read more
Austin
8:46 am
Thu February 28, 2013

New Rules Reversed at Hippie Hollow, Austin's Clothing-Optional Park (Update)

No shoes, no shirts and, now, no anchors at Hippie Hollow on Lake Travis.
friendsofthehollow.com

Update: Travis County Parks reversed its decision to change boating rules at Hippie Hollow on Lake Travis at a public meeting last night.

In fact, after about a week of tension between Travis County Parks and people who frequent Hippie Hollow, the meeting ended with laughter and applause.

“This is a great example of a grass roots movement. Where people are trying to reach out the administrators who work in their government and the guys come to the table and listen to what the folks have to say,” Friends of the Hollow member Randall Huntsinger said.

Read more
Austin
5:25 am
Wed February 27, 2013

PolitiFact: Austin Has Low Unemployment, High Poverty

Emily Donahue and Gardner Selby examine County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt's claim that Austin has low unemployment and high poverty
KUT News

A Travis County Commissioner says local prosperity is shadowed by rising poverty. In this week’s PolitiFact check-in, KUT’s Emily Donahue spoke to Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas.

PolitiFact tackled a claim by Travis County commissioner Sarah Eckhardt who, in an email, said conditions are tough despite "present prosperity."

Read more
Health
1:56 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Possible EMS Program Would Expand Coverage

Flickr user edolnx, bit.ly/ZDRVTb

The Commissioners Court didn’t renew an Austin/Travis County EMS contract last night. They’ll wait until next week to do that. But county commissioners did show some love for a new proposal that would create a unit of paramedics roaming the city in trucks tending to those sick and injured Austinites in need of assistance.

Sounds familiar right? Strangely enough, they’re not ambulances. 

Read more
Travis County
1:56 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Travis County Ends Bid to Ban Gun Shows at Expo Center

Travis County commissioners have backed away from a proposal to ban giun shows at the expo center.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Travis County commissioners have opted against halting gun shows at the Travis County Expo Center.

The commissioners court was set to discuss the possibility of banning gun shows at the County Expo Center today. But after consulting with legal counsel behind closed doors, commissioners unanimously approved a different motion.

County Judge Sam Biscoe proposed that the county honor all existing gun shows at the expo center, but ask the director of the center to liaison with the court about  future shows, especially events including “any licenses involving any usually high safety risks.”

Read more
Austin
5:51 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

NRA Rallies Members in Support of Travis Gun Shows

flickr.com/ChrisWaldeck

The National Rifle Association is asking its members to contact Travis County Commissioners-- publishing Commissioners’ names, phone numbers and email addresses on the NRA website.

Travis County is considering banning gun shows at the County Expo Center and the NRA is asking its members to get involved.  Commissioners’ staffers say they’re getting up to 200 emails each day, along with calls and faxes, many from out-of-state.

County Judge Sam Biscoe says Commissioners will probably vote on the issue next Tuesday, but the outcome may depend on legal issues. 

Read more
Formula 1
8:44 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Want to Run on the Circuit of the Americas Track?

The tennis shoe rubber could meet the road of the Circuit of the Americas track.
Circuit of the Americas

Travis County Commissioners are holding a public hearing this morning over granting a mass gathering permit to the Circuit of Americas and RunTex for a race at the track. But it wouldn’t be a Formula 1 race, or even a race involving vehicles.

RunTex wants to put on a 5k that would allow participants to run on the Circuit of the Americas track. The track course is 3.4-miles long, slightly longer than a 5k.

The event, planned for Saturday, Nov. 3, would also serve as a sort of open house and would allow attendees explore part of the COTA facility.

Read more
Formula 1
8:31 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Fire Chief Wants His District to Keep Some F1 Sales Tax Revenue

The red buildings represent ESD #11 fire stations. The green buildings represent Austin Fire Department stations.
Travis County ESD #11

The fire chief who leads the emergency service district around the Circuit of the Americas track is going before the Travis County Commissioners today to ask them to consider a tax deal if the track area is annexed by the City of Austin.

Fire Chief Ken Bailey leads Emergency Service District #11. Emergency service districts are entities created by the state to provide services to unincorporated areas, like the land around the Circuit of the Americas track. Bailey wants the city to keep the district in place, and let the district keep some of the sales tax revenue generated by the track to hire staff to respond to potentially increased calls.

Bailey says, right now, if the City of Austin annexes the track, the city would benefit from a 0.5 percent sale tax along with property tax revenue. Instead, Bailey is proposing that ESD #11 pay the city one-third of the district's 1.5 percent sales tax: equal, he says, for the city either way.

Read more
Business
2:31 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Commissioners Approve Tax Break to Lure Company to Austin

Travis County has joined the city and the state in offering economic incentives to HID Global.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Travis County Commissioners voted four to one this morning in favor of providing economic incentives to HID Global. The company makes ID cards and key-card readers.

HID Global is looking at building a manufacturing and distribution center in Northeast Austin. It would create more than 270 jobs over 10 years. In return, the county would give the company at least a 40 percent discount on county taxes over that time.

County Commissioner Ron Davis represents the area including Northeast Austin.

“I just think it’s overall a big deal all across the community and I think it’s a win, win, win, win, win, win-type situation for all of us," said Davis. 

Read more
Travis County
8:44 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Travis County Commissioners Voting On Tax Increase

County commissioners are holding two public hearings this morning.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Travis County Commissioners will vote today on a property tax increase. The proposed rate would increase from 48.55 cents to 50.01 cents per $100 of taxable value.

The county says the new tax rate will increase total tax revenues from properties on the tax roll in the preceding year by nearly three percent.

Commissioners will also hear public comment on offering economic incentives to HID Global, which is considering building a manufacturing and distribution center in Northeast Austin.

The State of Texas is already offering HID Global $1.9 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund. And the City of Austin is considering offering the company close to a million dollars in rebates on taxes for real estate and equipment purchases. The city plans to hold a public hearing on the issue Sept. 27.

Read more
AM Update: 9/11/12
8:49 am
Tue September 11, 2012

AM Update: 9/11 Memorials, Travis County Tourism Tax, UT Helping Students Make the Grade

The 9/11 memorial at the Texas State Cemetery.
Liang Shi for KUT News

Today marks 11 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Here's information on remembrance events and other stories making news today:

Local 9/11 Memorial Events

There are several events scheduled today across Central Texas to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

At 10 a.m., Austin firefighters will climb the Pleasant Valley Drill Tower. Wearing full gear, they’ll climb up and down the equivalent of the height of the World Trade Center.

At noon, there will be a 9-11 Memorial and pipe and drum performance in the Texas Capitol Rotunda.

Read more
Environment
12:39 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Travis County Extends Burn Ban

Outdoor burning is prohibited in unincorporated areas of Travis County.
flickr.com/vabachi

Travis County commissioners voted unanimously this morning to extend the burn ban into October. The county is still in a moderate drought and we’ve had several days of record breaking temperatures and low relative humidity.

Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee says the burn ban appears to be working. 

“I have spoken with several of the fire chiefs out west this morning where the county is the driest, and they are reporting very little activity other than a few runs for people who are burning when they should not have been, and between the fire departments and the sheriff’s office, they have taken care of those," Lee says.

Read more

Pages