The city of Austin was hit with a lawsuit by Williamson County commissioners on June 8 over its desire to buy a hotel for the homeless folks.
If the city proceeds with the action at its anticipated June 10 meeting, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell indicated during one Commissioners Court hearing that the court plans to pursue charges against it.
Gravell wants to review the complaint
Gravell wanted the complaint to be included in the court’s upcoming hearing on June 15 for review. He further told the court’s legal department to collect all of the documentation needed to carry the lawsuit ahead, pending court clearance.
“Mr. Mayor [Steve Adler], if you choose to continue to go down this path, you are forcing Williamson County to do something and to hold you accountable,” Gravell said.
Candlewood Suites property
Candlewood Suites, the property at the center of the controversy, is situated in Northwest Austin, both within Austin city boundaries and in Williamson County. According to the city agenda, “the acquisition of the property will serve a public purpose by providing 40 units to be used for shelter, housing or related social services.”
It’s at 10811 Pecan Park Blvd., close to RM 620. According to the town’s plan, the 83-room hotel will be purchased for $9.55 million, with refurbishment costing around $11.2 million. The authorities were not informed about the plan. There is a matter of tension regarding the overall consequences of the available resources.
Commissioners from Williamson County sent an official request to the city to delay the procurement. It will allow stakeholder engagement and the fulfillment of an assessment report. The city progressed.
The city of Austin approached Commissioner Cynthia Long’s office on February 1 to explore the proposal, according to a representative for the city. The hotel is surrounded by Mackenzie Kelly’s city district. Mackenzie Kelly attended a meeting on February 1 to discuss the purchase with Long and the city’s new homelessness strategy officer, Dianna Grey. According to the city spokesman, Williamson County commissioners are not normally consulted on all the acquisitions made by the town in the county.
The Bottom Line
During the 87th parliamentary session, the county wanted to make it mandatory that the localities have to get county approval from the county on some potential acquisitions or adaptations of assets to accommodate homeless people. As per the Texas Legislature archives, the offer was never considered at all.
“Again, I want to say to the mayor of Austin—do not mess with Williamson County,” Gravell said.
The final meeting of the Austin City Council before the summer will take place on June 10.