Travis County moves forward with courthouse advisory committee

Travis County 700 Lavaca The Travis County Commissioners Court holds its weekly meetings in the Travis County Administration Building at 700 Lavaca Street.[/caption]

The Travis County Commissioners Court voted at its Feb. 23 meeting to appoint members to a citizens advisory committee that will look at providing more capacity for civil and family courts cases.

The vote to approve of the appointees was 4-0-1 with Commissioner Ron Davis abstaining.

Earlier in February, the court decided to create an advisory committee to continue work on the issues surrounding the need for additional capacity for courts following voters’ rejection of bond funds for a proposed new civil and family courts complex, or CFCC, in November.

On Feb. 16, the court also approved a site evaluation matrix, which county staff and AECOM will use when examining potential courthouse sites. Staff is currently considering properties that the county already owns using that matrix, Judge Sarah Eckhardt said.

The new citizens advisory committee will look at the matrix and may want to change the weighting and bring it back to the commissioners court, Eckhardt added.

At the Feb. 23 meeting, commissioners also voted on how to split up the remaining appointments among commissioners—each commissioner will have one more appointee and the judge will have two appointees.

Belinda Powell, strategic planning manager for the Travis County Planning and Budget Office, said committee meetings will be open to the public.

“We’ll have to have some discussions going forward about how we’re going to handle some real estate information but these initial meetings will all be discussions about things that are public record,” she said.

Commissioner Brigid Shea said she would support videotaping the meetings so that interested residents can watch them from home.

“I think any time we have public proceedings like this about issues that we ultimately take to the voters that there’s great value in having it be as public as possible,” she said.

Staff and AECOM are slated to present their analysis of properties based on the matrix in March or April.
By Kelli Weldon
Kelli joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter and has been covering Southwest Austin news since July 2012. She was promoted to editor of the Southwest Austin edition in April 2015. In addition to covering local businesses, neighborhood development, events, transportation and education, she is also the beat reporter covering the Travis County Commissioners Court.


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