Oppose Nov. $287M Bond, relocate courthouse to east Austin

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Don Zimmerman
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:05 am

Oppose Nov. $287M Bond, relocate courthouse to east Austin

Post by Don Zimmerman »

Council Members:

I have collaborated with CM Houston on this Resolution I'd like you all to consider; we're asking Audit and Finance Committee to Review on Sept. 23rd.

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WHEREAS, the people of Austin and Travis County have expressed concern about the high cost of living in this region; and

WHEREAS, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted to place before voters, in a countywide referendum on November 3, 2015, a $287 million bond proposal for the construction of a new Travis County Civil Courthouse to be constructed in the block bounded by West 3rd Street on the south, Guadalupe Street on the east, West 4th Street on the north and San Antonio Street on the west; and

WHEREAS, instead of locating Travis County offices, courtrooms, and other facilities on prime real estate in the heavily-congested downtown area of Austin, there could be significant savings to be realized if Travis County Commissioners Court would, instead, choose land in the eastern portions of Travis County- particularly the "Eastern Crescent" including, but not limited to the vicinity of lake Walter E. Long - which would have the impact of spurring economic development in the preferred development zone of Austin/Travis County; and

WHEREAS, the possibility certainly exists that land owned by the City of Austin could be an equal exchange for the public benefit to Travis County for the purpose of constructing needed offices, courtrooms, adequate parking, and other facilities; and

WHEREAS, the proposed property described above could then be sold for the benefit of the taxpayers of Travis County; and

WHEREAS, the City Council acknowledges that such equal exchange of City-owned land to Travis County would require voter approval of such action, and the questions could likewise be put before City voters on the November 3, 2015 ballot; now therefore, be it

RESOLVED that the City Manager be directed to identify specific parcels of land situated in the "Eastern Crescent" which could be exchanged equally to Travis County for the purposes mentioned in this Resolution; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the City Manager be directed to transmit copies of this Resolution to all members of the Travis County Commissioners Court.
Don Zimmerman
Council Member District 6 (northwest Austin)
Ellen Troxclair
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:26 pm

Re: Oppose Nov. $287M Bond, relocate courthouse to east Aust

Post by Ellen Troxclair »

Council Member Zimmerman,

I look forward to discussing this item at our next Audit and Finance meeting.

Thank you,
Ellen
Ellen Troxclair
Council Member District 8
Don Zimmerman
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:05 am

Re: Oppose Nov. $287M Bond, relocate courthouse to east Aust

Post by Don Zimmerman »

Thank you CM Troxclair.

One quick clarification, the subject should have been "Relocate proposed Travis County courthouse to east Austin", the previous subject was in error.
Don Zimmerman
Council Member District 6 (northwest Austin)
Don Zimmerman
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:05 am

Re: Oppose Nov. $287M Bond, relocate courthouse to east Aust

Post by Don Zimmerman »

Fellow CM Colleagues,

Below is a link to a file we prepared with help from a local downtown investor/developer which compares the downtown courthouse to a downtown residential condo, such as the newly proposed Independent Condo Tower. The downtown courthouse property, because of its prime location - a "corner of main and main" location, without view corridor height restriction, has an estimated market value of around $30 million. With a residential condo project on this location, over a period of 40 years the city alone might realize about $87 million of tax revenue; including school and other taxing entities, it's about $465 million.

In conjunction with our city effort to identify east Austin development initiatives, we'd also like Audit and Finance to consider how contributing to an east Austin civil county courthouse project could spur sustainable, non-subsidized growth in an area underserved for generations.

http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 30838.xlsx
Don Zimmerman
Council Member District 6 (northwest Austin)
Kathie Tovo
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:18 am

re: Audit and Finance materials

Post by Kathie Tovo »

Colleagues,
CM Zimmerman's and Houston's resolution has been posted as part of tomorrow's Audit and Finance meeting; please note that Judge Eckhardt's staff member forwarded to us an analysis and response prepared by the Travis County Strategic Resource Planning staff, and this document has been added to the back up material as well.

Best,

Kathie Tovo
Council District 9
Don Zimmerman
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:05 am

Relocate Travis civil courthouse to east Austin

Post by Don Zimmerman »

CM Colleagues,
We offer this amended resolution based on the Nov 3rd (2015) election results:

REVISED DRAFT Ver. 2 (Post Bond Election)

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, the people of Austin and Travis County have expressed concern about the high cost of living in this region; and

WHEREAS, the voters of Travis County, at the election held on November 3, 2015, voted against “The issuance of $287,275,000 of bonds for the purpose of constructing, improving and equipping civil and family courts facilities and the levying of the tax in payment thereof”; and

WHEREAS, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to place this referendum before the voters to build a civil courthouse to be constructed in the block bounded by West 3rd Street on the south, Guadalupe Street on the east, West 4th Street on the north and San Antonio Street on the west; and

WHEREAS, instead of locating Travis County offices, courtrooms, and other facilities on prime real estate in the heavily-congested downtown area of Austin, there could be significant savings for taxpayers if Travis County Commissioners Court would, instead, choose land in the eastern portions of Travis County - particularly the "Eastern Crescent" - which would have the added impact of spurring economic development in the preferred development zone of Austin/Travis County; and

WHEREAS, the possibility certainly exists that land owned by the City of Austin could be an equal exchange for the public benefit to Travis County for the purpose of constructing needed offices, courtrooms, adequate parking, and other facilities; and

WHEREAS, the proposed civil courthouse property location, rejected by voters, and described above, could then be sold for the benefit of the taxpayers of Austin and Travis County; and

WHEREAS, the City Council acknowledges that such equal exchange of City-owned land to Travis County would itself require voter approval of such action;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED that the City Manager be directed to identify specific parcels of land situated in the "Eastern Crescent" which could be exchanged equally to Travis County for the purposes mentioned in this Resolution and report back to the full council by February 25, 2016.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if the City desires a new Austin Municipal Court building in the next decade, the City will consider a Travis County / Austin City joint courthouse complex.
Don Zimmerman
Council Member District 6 (northwest Austin)
Ellen Troxclair
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:26 pm

Re: Oppose Nov. $287M Bond, relocate courthouse to east Aust

Post by Ellen Troxclair »

Thank you, Council Member Zimmerman for bringing this issue back up in light of the failure of the recent bond election. Because it is clear that another proposal for a new courthouse will be pursued, I think it's important that the city offer to collaborate and assist in the process. Considering locations outside of the downtown core would be one way to minimize costs to taxpayers, and I would like to co-sponsor this resolution in order to continue the conversation. Because this speaks directly to economic development, I will add this resolution to the agenda of our next Economic Opportunity Committee meeting agenda, scheduled for Monday, December 14th.

Thank you,
Ellen Troxclair
Ellen Troxclair
Council Member District 8
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