Travis County purchases STAR Flight helicopters and two more takeaways from Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting

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Travis County continues its negotiations with the city of Austin in creating a hotel occupancy taxing district and two other takeaways from Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting:

• Commissioner Jeff Travillion will send a letter to Mayor Steve Adler, with approval from the commissioners court, about creating a joint hotel occupancy taxing district between the county and the city. The county’s proposal is for the city and county to enter into an agreement to allow the county to levy a 2 percent increment and treat the tax as a revolving fund. The county will ask for a clear understanding of how the two jurisdictions would move forward together, Travillion said.

• Commissioners approved the purchase of STAR Flight helicopters from AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp., the highest-ranked proposer. Request for Proposals was issued in November 2016. Through negotiations, a contract for the purchase of three AW169 helicopters, options for fixed fire tanks, and spare parts and tools was taken to commissioners Tuesday morning. The total cost is estimated at $33.5 million with $8.9 million in trade-in credit. Delivery of the helicopters is expected no later than Oct. 31. STAR Flight is a public safety air rescue program that includes transporting critically ill patients, firefighting and rescues, according to its mission statement.

• Hector Nieto, was selected as the county’s new public information officer with a start date of Oct. 3. In August, the county created a public information officer position to interact with media and address any public information requests. The position is a special project slot and will be evaluated after six months.

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Luz Moreno-Lozano

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Southwest Austin and Travis County reporter. Luz began working with Community Impact Newspaper in April 2017 after serving as the news editor for Cornerstone Publications in Castroville for three years. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2013.

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