1. Report provides overview of community needs

The Travis County Health and Human Services department presented findings from its fiscal year 2015-16 Community Impact Report to commissioners. The report provides an overview of how the county invests its resources to serve community needs.

Health and human services staff included several findings in the report:

  • 13 percent of county residents, or 153,579 people, lived in poverty in 2015

  • Nearly 160,000 households experienced a housing cost burden in 2015

  • 14 percent of county residents, or 168,371 people, lacked health insurance in 2015

  • 8.7 percent of the Travis County population, or 102,577 people, were age 65 and older in 2015; this segment of the population is projected to increase to 10.4 percent by 2020

  • 35 percent of clients served by these investments were under age 18

  • 25 percent of clients served had incomes below 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, and 20 percent had incomes between 50 and 100 percent of the poverty line.

  • A majority of clients served resided in eastern areas of the county

The report looked at nine areas in which the county provides services or makes investments to serve a community need. One of these areas was access to basic supports, such as food, transportation and benefits. The county made a $450,439 investment in this area in fiscal year 2015-16, according to the report.

This includes awards to nonprofit organizations that aim to prevent hunger, such as the Central Texas Food Bank, which the county provided with more than $80,000 in 2015-16. Overall such services within the county provided 7,636,080 meals or meal equivalents, a number Commissioner Brigid Shea called “sobering.”

Read the entire report here.

2. Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5 appointee

The county will interview two candidates for the soon-to-be-vacant Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5 seat. Judge Herb Evans is set to retire May 1.

Jade Meeker, a visiting judge in Precinct 5, and Nicholas Chu—who practices criminal law in Austin, according to the State Bar of Texas’ website—are both set for 40-minute interviews at a Thursday Commissioners Court work session.

The court called for applications for the justice of the peace position at its Feb. 28 meeting. The deadline to apply was March 31.

3. Flood control agreement with Hays County

Travis and Hays counties are looking for regional solutions to flooding issues, but an interlocal agreement between the two entities was delayed for a week because one commissioner sought further information.

The interlocal agreement, which was approved by Hays County Commissioners on Tuesday, states the counties can make land-use decisions so that potential flood damage is mitigated, among other measures to control flood events.

Shea said she would like clarification on whether that includes areas that are not within the floodplain but have been flooded in the past. Commissioners are set to take up the item again on Tuesday, April 18.