Travis County commissioners voted 4-1 to appoint county executives to develop a scope and cost estimate for a strategic plan at a May 21 meeting.
Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who represents Precinct 3, voted against the motion.
“This would be our maiden voyage into a strategic plan,” Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said.
While this would be the first such plan for the Travis County Commissioners Court, other local government agencies have also paved the way.
In March 2018, Austin City Council adopted its first strategic plan, a five-year effort inspired by Imagine Austin, a vision for the city in 2040 that council members passed in 2012.
Similarly, in April, City Council adopted the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, which will guide future investments. The city’s transportation department began working on the plan in late 2016.
In developing its own plan, Travis County will need to be mindful of extenuating circumstances, such as the possibility of property tax revenue caps.
“Of course a strategic plan is flexible,” Eckhardt said, adding it could be adapted as circumstances changes.
If state lawmakers are successful in passing such as cap—a key priority this session—the county and other local governments will be severely limited in their ability to raise tax revenue and invest in long-term strategic initiatives.
“Running this billion-dollar company we’ve got with an ad hoc system, which we’re putting in place, is very dangerous,” Daugherty said, referencing the county’s fiscal year 2019 budget and the possibility of a strategic plan being enacted. “Three-and-a-half percent is coming our way.”