Answer: The five-member Travis County Commissioners Court is the governing body of the County. The Commissioners Court consists of the elected County Judge and four elected precinct Commissioners. The County Judge serves as the presiding officer for Commissioners Court meetings and ceremonial head of Travis County government.
The four precinct Commissioners traditionally represent their constituents on all precinct-specific issues before the Court. These duties include nominating individuals for appointment to the boards of Emergency Service Districts located in their precincts.
The Commissioners Court is not a judicial court, despite its name. Its responsibilities are executive and administrative. The Court´s major duties include:
- Setting the tax rate and adopting a County budget, which:
- Assists the other elected or appointed officials at Travis County to carry out their statutory duties;
- Builds and maintains County roads and bridges;
- Develops and maintains open space for use by the public;
- Preserves endangered species habitat under the County and City of Austin’s habitat conservation plan, the Balcones Canyonland Conservation Plan;
- Builds, maintains and improves County facilities (including jails and court space);
- Provides IT infrastructure for all County elected officials to be able to efficiently provide mandated services;
- Approving plats for residential development in unincorporated areas;
- Monitoring and supporting environmental regulation and enforcement in the County;
- Letting contracts and authorizing payment of all County bills;
- Establishing voting precincts, appointing precinct judges and calling County elections (including bond elections);
- Appointing certain county officials and hiring County Executive personnel;
- Appointing County residents to represent Travis County on various Boards and Committees; and
- Filling many elective and appointive vacancies.
Answer: The County Judge is the presiding officer and a voting member of the Travis County Commissioners Court. In the role of presiding officer, the County Judge sets the Court’s weekly voting session agenda, and is often thought of as the chief administrator of the County through the Court´s responsibility for approving annual budgets for the entire County. In large counties like Travis, the County Judge no longer exercises judicial functions as a probate or constitutional county court judge, though the office retains the power to conduct marriages and may also be called upon to conduct administrative hearings.
Additionally, the County Judge is a statutory member of several important boards, including the Juvenile Board and Bail Bond Board. Further, the County Judge approves Mass Gathering Permits, manages the process for forming cities and library districts, and, as an agent of the State of Texas, has authority in relation to alcoholic beverages, specifically regarding Wine & Beer permits and licenses. Lastly, the County Judge is designated by a long-standing executive order of the governor, pursuant to the Texas Disaster Act of 1974, as the executive officer for civil defense within Travis County.
The County Judge is elected county wide to a four-year term coinciding with the term of the governor.
Answer: The Travis County Commissioners Court customarily meets every Tuesday at 9:00 am in the Commissioners Courtroom located on the first floor of the Travis County Administration Building, 700 Lavaca Street, Austin, Texas. The Court meets in regular work sessions on the second and fourth Thursday of every month. The Court may also meet in special called voting sessions and work sessions on an as-needed basis.
Answer: You may watch the Commissioners Court meetings Live on TCTV channel 17 or on your computer via the Travis County Clerk’s Commissioners Court portal.
Question: Where can I see what items are being considered for future agendas of the Commissioners Court?
Answer: Upcoming Agenda Items for future Commissioners Court agendas may be accessed in multiple ways. The most direct route is via the Commissioners Court’s online message board. Additionally, there is a link on the Travis County homepage provided under Public Notices.
There is also a link to Upcoming Agenda Items provided on the Travis County Open Records webpage. And, there is a link to Upcoming Agenda Items that may be accessed via the Travis County Clerk Meeting Portal webpage.
Answer: Property appraisals are performed by the Travis Central Appraisal District (TCAD). The Appraisal District is, by law, a completely separate entity from Travis County. The Chief Appraiser runs the day-to-day operations of the Appraisal District. The Chief Appraiser, in turn, reports to a nine-member board of directors (with the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector serving as a non-voting member of the board). Members of the board of directors serve a two-year term and are nominated by the governing bodies of the County´s different taxing units. Travis County appoints only two of the nine members of the TCAD board.
Property taxes are a major source of County funding. Collection of taxes is the responsibility of the elected Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector.
Should you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to email or contact us for assistance.
Question: What is the relationship between Travis County and Central Health (the Travis County Healthcare District)?
Answer: In 2004, Travis County voters approved the creation of the Travis County Healthcare District (now operating under the name Central Health) to operate as the indigent healthcare delivery system for the entire County. The District was formed as a partnership between the City of Austin and Travis County and has assumed the responsibility for setting indigent healthcare delivery policy for all eligible County residents.
The nine member Board of Managers of Central Health consists of four (4) City of Austin appointments, four (4) Travis County appointments and one joint City/County appointment.
The Board of Managers approves the annual budget for Central Health and then presents the annual budget to the Commissioners Court for final approval. In addition, the Commissioners Court adopts tax exemptions for the District, and sets its tax rate.