The Williamson County Commissioners Court will consider hiring a law firm to represent the county in potential litigation against the city of Austin for its plan to purchase a hotel for homeless individuals, according to the Feb. 9 agenda.

The item instructs the county’s general counsel to interview and provide recommendation to the court on a law firm to handle the matter.

The hotel at the center of the debate is located in Northwest Austin within Austin city limits and in Williamson County.

Williamson County officials said they were not informed of the project until it made headlines in late January and wished they had been a part of the conversation.

“In government, transparency is really important, and transparency is having public discussions and engaging folks,” Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell previously told Community Impact Newspaper. “When you're spending money like this, in our community, it would have been respectful to hear officially from the city of Austin.”

The county had initially asked Austin City Council to delay a vote on the purchase of the Candlewood Suites hotel on Feb. 2 for 180 days. This, commissioners argued, would allow for stakeholder input and the completion of an impact study, two steps in the process Williamson County officials said they believe did not happen. Austin City Council voted to purchase the hotel anyway Feb. 4.

State Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, whose representation includes Williamson County, has also entered the conversation saying he strongly opposes the purchase of the hotel, according to a Feb. 4 statement.

In response, he said he has also drafted several pieces of legislation for the current legislative session that would require advance notice and approval by a county commissioners court before a city is permitted to develop new housing projects to serve those experiencing homelessness.

“As the state senator for Williamson County, I consider it my duty to speak up for the constituents who will be negatively impacted by this hasty and ill-considered proposal,” he said in the statement.

The hotel is located at 10811 Pecan Park Blvd., near FM 620. The city plans to purchase the 83-room hotel for $9.5 million.

Williamson County Commissioners Court meetings are held Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. in the Williamson County Courthouse, 710 S. Main St., Georgetown.