Travis County

Agenda Item

Consider and take appropriate action on the following grant programs, applications, contracts & related special budgets, and permissions to continue:

a. Ratification of the application submitted to the Texas Counts Pooled Fund from the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) and Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) for a temporary Community Outreach Specialist in the Constable, Precinct 3 Office
b. Ratification of the application submitted to the Transit Empowerment Fund for bus passes to support U.S. Census efforts in the Constable, Precinct 3 Office
c. Ratification of the application submitted to the Texas Counts Pooled Fund from CPPP and CFT for two temporary Community Outreach Specialists in the Constable, Precinct 4 Office
(Commissioner Gómez)


Department:CC Agenda requestSponsors:
Category:General Government

Meeting History

Feb 11, 2020 9:00 AM Video Commissioners Court Voting Session
draft Draft

Members of the Court heard from:

Alex Vlahodimitropoulos, Budget Analyst Sr., Planning and Budget Office (PBO)

Travis Gatlin, Budget Director, PBO

Julie Wheeler, Intergovernmental Relations Officer, IGR

MOVER:Jeffrey W. Travillion Sr, Commissioner
SECONDER:Brigid Shea, Commissioner
AYES:Sarah Eckhardt, Jeffrey W. Travillion Sr, Brigid Shea, Gerald Daugherty, Margaret J. Gómez


Feb 11, 2020 9:00 AMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoCommissioners CourtVoting Session

9:40 AMEntities, including school districts, other cities. In addition to that, they have also created the austin-travis county census 2020 collaborative, which is going to be the funding mechanism to help pay for the activities of the ccc. So what we're asking today is for the court to dedicate the $200,000 in an agreement with the census collaborative. I'm happy to answer more questions if that's confusing. It's a lot of cs involved in that.
Commissioners, questions?
Move approval.
We have a motion by Commissioner Daugherty, seconded by Commissioner Gomez. I'm going to recuse myself for this just for polite high general purposes since the mayor and I pushed it forward. There's no conflict of interest, but i'm just going to recuse myself just to be super squeaky clean. For looks.

9:41 AMAll those in favor? That asses unanimously. With one abstention, one recusal.
Thank you all so much.
Thank you.
18, julie, you might stay for questions. Consider and take appropriate action on the following grant programs, applications, contracts and related special budgets and permissions to continue. Probably planning and budget, yeah, too. A, ratification of the application submitted to the texas counts pooled fund from the center for public policy priorities and communities foundation of texas for a temporary community outreach specialist in constable, precinct 3 office. B, ratification of the application submitted to the transit empowerment fund for bus passes to support u. S. Census efforts in the constable precinct 3 office. C, ratification of the application submitted to the texas counts pooled fund from cppp and cft for two temporary community outreach specialists in the constable, precinct 4 office. These are all really great things, super wonderful, but it occurrence me when I see -- concerns me when I see ratification. Some portion of the county has submitted for a grant without the commissioners court's pre-knowledge or approval. I think that this speaks to why we probably need some central grant coordination at the county, but I will have them lay it out. These are wonderful things. I'm not saying they are not. We would have said yes if we had known.
9:42 AMSo as you said, judge, alex, pbo, these are plea applications already submitted. This is for ratification. They are all temporary type of grants that would help us through the -- through the census process. You need more detailed information, I can provide some.
9:43 AMHow many employees would be required for this grant? These grants.
Current employees or the -- what the grant would create. It would be one in constable 3 and two in constable 4.
Are these intended to be special project workers or contractors?
They would be considered grant employees, the grant version of a special project worker. They would have a start and termination date that would end when the grant ended. Those hired would know the expectations of what those dates are. That assumes we get the grant. This is just the application part and we'll be working with them. Travis gatlin, planning and budget office. Share with department heads on the grant process. I would say 99 out of 100 times they follow that. In this particular case we did not. We worked with them, I think there's another grant one of the constable's offices intended to apply for, i'll call him and remind him of our guidelines. That allows our office, the auditor's office, the department to work to make sure we can read the contract ahead of time, work out if there's any issues we need to be aware of and share with the court, that we'll check all the numbers. There's a lot of advantages to everyone because it makes it smoother. We'll have the appropriate time to inform the court on our recommendation and what the project is about.
9:44 AMAs well as review by the county attorney.
Yes, sorry. maybe the most critical part, especially for contracts. Sorry for leaving that out.
We also currently have a special project worker that is the joint employee of the city and the county specifically for census.
9:45 AMMr. Waller.
My understanding they did work with our -- at least informed they were intending to apply.
Our intended would be to reach out to hard to count communities. Trying to expand the reach of what our efforts are because they know those areas, because they have relationships, they feel they could have a stronger each if they had people dedicated to doing this. It has been so far in coordination with john, but would be supplementing his efforts.
Commissioner Shea.
Were you going to --
There was an interesting article in the texas tribune yesterday about how other counties are handling census, and texas is unwith of the few that didn't provide statewide resources and forced local communities to do things like this or other things. Maybe some additional background.
It makes me wonder how we have communicated our process about going after grants to all of the other independent elected officials within the county. Do you think -- I mean i'm just wondering how well we've communicated that. It appears we have sort of a pre-screening process where they would at least check in with pbo and the county attorney. So that did not happen here and it's mostly for coordination purposes. I think these grants are fabulous. I'm glad they are out there hustling, but have we communicated our process thoroughly. Our new temporary employee who is heading up the census effort is probably not, you know, the most expert person on all of the county practices, so sounds like they did coordinate with our census coordinator, but May not have known to do these other steps.
9:46 AMAnd the information has been shared with everyone who has been in attendance at some of the census meetings. The gatherings that we have had. And then they are told to give that information out to others as well. And so that's been the effort through the whole process.
9:47 AMAgreed. just to clarify, so what they are pursuing is a statewide grant through a coalition that is stepping up to fill that void that the state has left. John has been working with them in terms of coordinating the efforts, but we have communicated clearly if they are going to go after these grants that is separate outside of our office. With everybody that we've been working with in the community, we've tried to work in partnership so we're not duplicating efforts and plugging in holes we need. While we have been in touch with them, this grant is motivated by those offices and coming forward from those offices. They will be working in coordination with john but seeking the grants on their own behalf.
Yes, sir.
I think there are two issues here and one is that, you know, we're going into an area -- a term of revenue caps and it's going to be important, I think, that we begin a more robust grant-seeking effort. And I would like to maybe have a work session about how we develop a process that's necessary to seek grants for our primary issues that have not been funded properly or we feel need more robust funding. I think that would be important to develop a baseline for how that's going to be done for what our priorities are, where we're going to look and how we're going to manage the audit process if we do acquire any of those grants. But I think on this particular -- this particular grant, it's one of the most important things that we're going to do. How we get an accurate count, how we make sure that we are able to know who is here so that we can request the adequate federal funds to address their issues and needs. I think it is really important that someone has taken the initiative to identify dollars that can serve a purpose that will serve the city, county, school district, all political subdivisions and that should be applauded. Now, as we set up a process, I think that will dictate how we want our office coordinated with as we move forward, but I think that this is something that is really a critical mission immediately and we should funds that are available. And I would move approval.
9:49 AMI second.
We have a motion and a second. Just a little further deliberation on this. As I said before, these are wonderful grants and I completely agree with you, Commissioner Travillion we must be looking for alternative revenue sources beyond the property tax. Right now more than 70% of our all funds budget is property taxes. Is that correct, travis?
9:50 AM87% of ongoing revenue for the general fund is property taxes.
87%. so what we're doing, as you stated so eloquently, we're looking to grow the portion of our all funds budget that isn't straight from property tax, and grants is a great place to look. Traditionally travis county has left it to separate elected and appointed officials to go looking for grants on their own. With really no central mechanism at all except to look at it through the county attorney's office and through the budget office before it comes to commissioners court. There is no central mechanism to go looking for these dollars. We have often stated that we look for funding for our wonderful programming. We don't look for programming that will drive funding. We do it the other way around and I think that's really good, but I respect your wish to have an agenda item to take a look at how we might be able to establish a little bit more of a structure and go looking for grants in a more holistic way rather than doing it sort of shotgun approach.
9:51 AMAnd I presume we have communicated with the constable's office, I applaud their energy and creativity going after these funds because this is such a hard population to even find much less get them to until the value of them participating in a government program like the census. But have we communicated with them the process so they are clear for future reference?
We'll do it again, but the process is laid out in the annual budget rules.
9:52 AMBoth of these constables have been with the county a long time.
We've made multiple phone calls, but I think the timing of this and their passion for this somehow overpowered the process.
I get it if they've got a tight deadline for applying for something. That to me makes sense and we should have some kind of mechanism --
The deadline is they are going to start sending out those forms online and then they are going to go out and try to contact those folks who haven't responded. Yeah, they've got to get ready for that.
Neither of these constables did anything wrong, they know the process, but they also know we don't have a centralized function and so they went looking and went ahead and applied. Irrespective of what the budget guidelines say, they now how we actually operate which is to say we don't have a central grant office.
So they went out and found them.
9:53 AMThey didn't do anything wrong. They should have let us know the budget office and the county attorney's office, but they did talk about it openly in the census coordination. So we just need to come up with a -- as Commissioner Travillion stated, we need to come up with a way to better support this kind of hunt for grant money.
And they did let us know. it's just the timing was such that we couldn't get everything necessary on the agenda in time before it was submitted, but they did let us know.
All in favor? that passes unanimously. Commissioner Shea, have you gotten anything back on agenda item number 28.
I have and i'm ready to make a motion with some amendments.
28 is consider and take appropriate action on a license agreement with sterling events hospitality to operate the cafeterias located at the ned granger building, heman marion sweat courthouse and blackwell thurman criminal justice center.
9:54 AMAnd I will move approval of a couple of amendments.
We have a motion by Commissioner Shea, seconded by Commissioner Daugherty. What are the amendments?
One is under section 26. 4, just to stipulate the licensee will not use styrofoam products of any kind. I want to applaud sterling on many, many levels. They've done great work at the expo center. I'm they would they are able to step in on this contract and provide '-they've provided a menu with what looks like a lot of healthy food options for our cafeterias and the courthouse and the granger building. But I just want to have a stipulation in their contract that says that. So that's section 26. 4. And 26. 5 to spell out in particular I think it currently says we'll comply with the federal clean air act, but specifically section 608 with respect to tracking and managing refrigerants. And we're doing that internally within the county. The more we can stipulate this in contracts with vendors, it calls attention to the fact that refrigerants are the most destructive greenhouse gas by a mile. There are 1,000 to 9,000 more destructive than carbon dioxide. So any methods we have to call attention and stipulate they have to pay attention to refrigerants and not just recharged refrigerant systems whenever, you know, they need it. When you have to recharge it, it means you've got a leak. Anything that's got a refrigeration component and obviously food service and food preparation does have refrigeration combined with it. That's 26. 5. Just telling out licensee will comply with federal clean air act and respect to tracking and managing refrigerants. Paul, I forwarded to you, there was scrivener stuff, making sure some of the numbing was consistent. And something about a dumpster.
9:56 AMYes, I spoke with roger el khoury. He is working with the county attorney's office to make modification based on the email you sent me. And I think we need to wait until this afternoon perhaps for a vote because I believe it has to be signed to come back as approval.
Just as a general note, not specific to this agenda item, I would prefer to steer clear of drafting contracts from the dais.
Same here and I wouldn't do it except staff said we can't wait. I had said all these things from the dais, previously said I would like these in the contract. There was no opposition to it. There was notice. My staff has been in communication. The staff at the county that are charged with our climate action plan, which this is a component of, didn't even see the contract until late. We'll need to have a process that enables us to have better coordination in the future.
9:57 AMLet's take a look at that because the agenda item has been on the commissioners court agenda for two weeks. So we'll go back in and see what the hangup was in terms of getting these specific edits before the appropriate staff.
> i'm not interested in finger pointing. I think we can add these easily and if you bring it back this afternoon we should be able to take care of it today.
I'm very much interested in the process to make sure we don'tnd up here -- I share the same concerns we should have a better process in place. As i've talked before making sure at the beginning of each one we identify all the stakeholders and whether they are consulted in those things. We'll be moving through that process discussion to make sure we don't have issues like this.
9:58 AMWe'll table the item, but do we need some more discussion? We have more time this morning than we do this afternoon. So if there's more discussion on this item, we should have it now.
No, I mean I think they have exemp exemplified they're willing to do whatever it takes. I think it's something we probably can get done, bring it back before we break for lunch or whatever. Occasionally, these kind of things do crop up on us. Some things have a short fuse. There are items that pop up where you go, if this is going to close, what are you going to do in the interim until something gets put in place. And so -- however you want to handle it, judge.
9:59 AMWe will table the item for now for staff to do a little bit more work.

9:59 AMAfternoon. But if it needs to come back this afternoon, that can be accommodated as well. We'll table this item for now.
Thank you.
Next, let's go to agenda item number 19. 19 is to consider and take appropriate action on the fy2021 budget guidelines.
Good morning, county executive, planning and budget. And we've got travis gatlin and ellen miller.