Historic district design guidelines update

The City of Georgetown has drafted initial revisions to the City’s Downtown and Old Town Overlay Design Guidelines based on City Council direction and public, stakeholder, consultant and staff recommendations, and is ready to present the proposed updates to the public for another round of public review and discussion.

“We are grateful for the community’s participation in the update and the continued investment in our historic past and the opportunities of the future,” Planning Director Sofia Nelson said. “We look forward to hearing the community’s feedback and ensuring these Design Guidelines continue to support our small-town charm and the values we hold for our Downtown, Old Town, and historic properties.”

The City’s project team will host a live, virtual open house from 3 to 4 p.m. April 28 via Zoom and the City‘s Facebook page. This virtual open house will focus on initial recommendations, including revisions to the content, the addition of graphics, and changes to the format of the guidelines to improve usability. The virtual meeting will be recorded and posted online for those not able to join live. Visit historic.georgetown.org for a link to the Zoom meeting, as well as a call-in number if you would like to join by phone.

Additionally, the City will use an online survey to collect feedback from the public on the proposed changes. The survey will open be open from April 28 to May 14, 2021, and will be available at historic.georgetown.org.

In April 2019, City Council adopted changes to the design review requirements for properties identified on the City’s Historic Resource Survey as well as for projects in the City’s historic overlay districts. The effort to update the Downtown and Old Town Overlay Design Guidelines, the special requirements for those properties and the historic overlay districts, began in October 2020.

Updating the guidelines will be done in three phases. Phase one was completed in February and included an analysis of the current Guidelines, stakeholder feedback, and public engagement. A summary of the engagement completed in Phase 1 can be found here. The public review of the proposed updates launching April 28 is the second phase of the project.

Phase 3 includes the review and recommendation from the Historic and Architectural Review Commission. City Council is expected to consider adoption in July.

For more information, contact the downtown and historic planner at 512-930-3581 or historic@georgetown.org, or by calling the Planning Department at 512-930-3575.

City to host household hazardous waste collection event May 12

The City will host a free household hazardous waste collection event from 3-6 p.m. May 12 at the former show barn site in San Gabriel Park, 425 E. Morrow St.

The event will be available for up to 300 Georgetown solid waste customers who have solid waste service through Texas Disposal Systems. Customers must contact Customer Care at 512-930-3640 or customercare@georgetown.org to have their name placed on a list. Please include your name, address, and utility account number when emailing customer care. Customers must have their name on the list to participate.

Due to COVID-19 safety measures, residents must remain in their vehicles during the no-contact collection. Staff will unload items from the back seat or trunk of the vehicle.

All items to be dropped off must be in their marked original containers. Commercial disposal and trailers are not allowed.

Acceptable items include:

  • Batteries (household, hearing aids, cell phone, etc.)
  • Automobile batteries
  • Pool and spa chemicals
  • Used oil/oil filters (up to five gallons per vehicle)
  • Transmission fluid
  • Light bulbs (including regular, compact, and four-foot fluorescent)
  • Grease
  • Thermometers
  • Over the counter, residential lawn and garden chemicals
  • Aerosols
  • Household cleaners and disinfectants marked caution, warning, or poison
  • Art and hobby chemicals
  • Paint (up to 10 gallons per vehicle)
  • Over the counter one-pound disposal propane bottles
  • Gasoline (up to five gallons per vehicle)

Unacceptable items include:

  • Unmarked containers or unknown chemicals
  • Construction, commercial, or landscape waste
  • Professional, concentrated chemicals that require a professional license to mix
  • Medications or pharmaceuticals
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Electronics
  • Tires
  • Explosives (including ammunition and fireworks)
  • Radioactive materials
  • Biological materials

Debris from the winter storm, including construction materials, will not be accepted at this event. Additional household hazardous waste collection events are being planned for 2021.

For more information about the City’s solid waste and recycling services, visit recycle.georgetown.org.

Williamson County is also hosting a household hazardous waste collection event open to all county residents from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 24 at the Leander Public Works Department, 607 Municipal Drive, in Leander. For more information, call 512-759-8881, option 4 or visit https://bit.ly/3648ZYX.

Arts and Culture Board mural artists selected, work begins

The City’s Arts and Culture Board has two new murals underway in Georgetown.

Animal Shelter—”Pick Me” mural

The “Pick Me” mural is expected to be completed March 28 at the Georgetown Animal Shelter, 110 W.L. Walden Drive.

The Georgetown Animal Shelter and Georgetown Arts and Culture Board selected artist Jason Tetlak of Jacksonville, Florida, in February to complete the mural.

Georgetown Title mural

Georgetown Title, in collaboration with the Arts and Culture Board, has selected Oakland, California, artist Molly Keen for the mural design that will be installed this spring.

The mural design “Railway Rhymes,” features abstract shapes and colors while highlighting a train element that represents the history of the site, which was once home to Belford Lumber Company and a stop on the railroad.

This project is the first commercial mural as part of the Percent for Public Art Adjacent to Capital Improvement Projects. The Georgetown Title building, 702 Rock St., is adjacent to two public improvements projects, including the Rock Street sidewalk improvements and the new Eighth Street parking lot. This program presents an opportunity for public art to beautify surrounding spaces that have become more visible to the public.

For more information about the projects, visit arts.georgetown.org.

Brazos River Authority: Lake Georgetown in Stage 1 Drought Watch

Lake Georgetown is in Stage 1 Drought Watch as a result of drier than normal conditions in portions of the Brazos River basin and drought trigger levels set by the Brazos River Authority’s Drought Contingency Plan.

As of March 17, 2021, Lake Georgetown was at 67 percent of full capacity, according to the authority. Williamson County is also in a moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s March 18 update. Practicing wise water use now will help to ensure adequate water supply during the hotter summer months.

City of Georgetown water utility customers should make sure they follow the two-day watering schedule for irrigation systems and hose-end sprinklers. The year-round, two-day per week irrigation schedule is based on the last digit of the street address.

The watering schedule is posted at gus.georgetown.org/water/whatsmyschedule.

Irrigation is not permitted on Mondays because they are a maintenance and recovery day for the water system. The two-day schedule spreads watering over six days each week in order to balance demand on the water system. Watering with a hand-held hose or bucket can be done any day and at any time. Other outdoor water uses like washing a vehicle or filling a swimming pool, can be done any day at any time.

Violations of the irrigation schedule may result in fines.

During the summer months, 75 percent of the drinking water treated each day in the city is used to irrigate lawns and landscapes. Following the City’s two-day watering schedule and adjusting irrigation run times can help save water and still maintain a healthy lawn.

While the City is not running out of water, conservation during the hottest and driest parts of the year helps ensure our shared resource is available for all who need it. The City also has several ongoing water utility expansion projects to help meet the needs of our growing population, including the Lake Water Treatment Plant expansion expected to be completed in summer 2023.

The best time for watering your lawn and landscape is on your watering day in the early morning hours after midnight. This allows the water to soak into the soil and reach the roots of your grass and plants. Watering during the heat of the day, especially between noon and 7 p.m., should be avoided since much of the water sprayed from sprinklers will evaporate and is wasted.

For help setting your irrigation controller, call customer care at 512-930-3640.

For more information on the Drought Contingency Plan, visit gus.georgetown.org/water/drought-information.

Breakfast Bites: Georgetown Gives Back

The Breakfast Bites meeting March 25 will feature Sydney Decker of “Hello Georgetown” presenting on “Georgetown Gives Back: Extending the Season of Giving Past the Holidays.” The informal meeting opens at 8:15 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at the Council & Court building, 510 W. Ninth St. The presentation will start at 8:30 a.m. and will include both an in-person and virtual attendee option. Limited seating is available to attend in person, and participants must register in advance.

The generosity of individuals and organizations is often best on display during the holidays, but some may wonder how they can continue to support local businesses and nonprofits all year round. Decker’s presentation will offer simple and effective ways to do just that from January to December each year.

At the March 25 meeting, there will also be updates from City staff on a variety of topics, as well as updates from downtown partner organizations and new businesses in the downtown district that have opened or are under construction.

Breakfast Bites is a quarterly meeting of the Georgetown Main Street Program. If you plan to attend, please RSVP by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24, online at tinyurl.com/s2brkkc.

Participants attending in person will be required to wear a mask or face covering and maintain physical distancing of at least six feet. Hand sanitizer will also be available for attendees. Food and drink will not be provided during the event due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.

Williamson County Dell Diamond vaccine site to increase vaccine appointments

Williamson County’s vaccine provider Curative has opened up a vaccination site at Dell Diamond with the capacity to give 5,000 vaccine doses each day. With the increase in available appointments, residents who fall under the Texas Department of State Health Services’ (DSHS) priority phases 1a, 1b or 1c are encouraged to register on the County’s centralized waitlist with the possibility to receive a vaccine appointment this week. To register, click here.

Click here to read more. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the rest of the news release.)

Georgetown seeks resident input for branding research process

Georgetown has partnered with North Star Place Branding + Marketing to develop a community brand for marketing the area to visitors, residents, and businesses in the year 2021 and beyond.

“We want to hear from everyone in Georgetown about what makes our community special, so we can celebrate what we love about our community and share that with others,” City Manager David Morgan said. “Having a complete brand is a critical step toward positioning the City as a trusted, valued, recognized voice in our community and moving forward on the work we started with our 2019 communications audit.”

Toward this end, North Star developed a customized, communitywide, online survey. The questionnaire has been carefully crafted to determine Georgetown’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities. All who live and/or work in Georgetown are invited and encouraged to participate in this important community-wide initiative.

“We have partnered with more than 250 communities across North America, and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of insights gleaned from community members,” North Star CEO Will Ketchum said. “The heart of Georgetown’s brand will be what makes the community special, so it can stand out in the marketplace. And one of the best places to find that figurative nugget of marketing gold is in the hearts and minds of the people who call Georgetown home.”

The survey can be found at www.gtxbrand.com. Surveys can be completed online and submitted electronically. Printed surveys are available at City Hall, 808 Martin Luther King, Jr. St.; Georgetown Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Ave.; Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Ave.; and Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh St.

Surveys must be completed and submitted before April 8.

People interested in learning more about Georgetown’s branding initiative can visit www.gtxbrand.com. To learn more about North Star Place Branding + Marketing, go to www.northstarideas.com.

Georgetown updates COVID-19 safety guidelines, reopens most facilities

Face coverings are still required in City facilities

Most City of Georgetown facilities and lobbies have reopened to the public March 10 without capacity limits, in accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order (GA-34) announced March 2.

While most facilities will reopen to the public, the Library will continue to offer curbside pickup hours five mornings a week and began grab-and-go hours in the afternoons and on Saturdays. Find more information on the Library’s website.

According to City Council direction at its March 9 meeting, members of the public will be required to wear a face mask in City facilities. Face masks will be provided for visitors who do not have one available.

The City will continue to use a number of safety protocols that have been put in place over the past year for the safety of employees and the public. Those protocols include physical distancing requirements, health screenings for employees, and plexiglass at all reception areas. All City employees are required to wear a face mask when:

  • Inside City facilities and physical distancing of greater than six feet is not possible
  • Inside, interacting face-to-face with customers/residents
  • Outdoors, interacting face-to-face with fellow employee/customer/resident and physical distancing is not possible
  • Interacting face-to-face with fellow employee at employee’s workstation
  • Walking through City facilities

City board and commission meetings will continue to be virtual, and City Council meetings will continue as hybrid in-person/virtual meetings.

According to Abbott’s order, private businesses will no longer be required to have a safety plan or require face masks; however, safety measures are left up to individual businesses. If you are asked to wear a mask to enter a business, please respect that business owners wishes and choose kindness.

If a customer refuses to wear a face mask, the business can ask that person to leave. If the customer refuses, the business may escalate the issue to a criminal trespassing violation. The business can call the police department’s non-emergency number at 512-930-3510 and officers will respond.

For more information and updates, visit bit.ly/COVID19GTX.

Winter Weather Updates

[Updated at 11 a.m. March 15. This page will be updated as news becomes available.]

Update, March 10: The City Council at the March 9 meeting approved a one-time, automatic, $10 credit for all Georgetown water customers for dripping faucets in response to the winter storm in February.

Click any of the links below to be taken to that section of the updates.

  1. Disaster relief resources guide
  2. How will the storm affect my electric bill?
  3. Winter storm leak adjustment request
  4. Tree limb collection
  5. Permits for winter storm damage repairs
  6. Water/electric outages
  7. Solid waste and recycling collection
  8. Disaster Declarations
  9. Other service providers in Georgetown

Questions about the winter storm and the City’s recovery efforts? Check out the Georgetown winter storm FAQ

Disaster Relief Resources for Winter Storm Uri

The City of Georgetown has developed a Disaster Relief Resources for Winter Storm Uri page with information about available resources, including:

  • Local resources: General, food, mental health, transportation, unemployment benefits, utilities, renters/homeowners, local aid organizations, City services
  • State/federal resources: disaster relief, Texas Health and Human Services, Public Utility Commission
  • Damage assessment information

How will the recent winter storm affect my electric bill?

Georgetown rates will not change, but you could see higher bills due to usage.

While it is true that the wholesale price of power increased exponentially for all Texas electric utilities during February’s extreme weather, City of Georgetown electric customers will see no difference in their electric rates at this time. At the direction of City Council, the City of Georgetown plans to take out a $47.8 million loan, to be paid by electric revenue over 10 years, to cover our wholesale power bill from the storm. Any changes will be communicated publicly through this website, other City communications channels, and the media.

If your electric bill is higher than normal for this time of year, it’s likely due to how much energy you used during the storm. Heating your home during cold weather uses a significant amount of energy, even more so if you experienced outages and needed to reheat your home. We know some of those outages were in response to ERCOT’s requirements to protect the statewide electric grid from collapsing. We have multiple options to help you pay your electric bill, such as funding assistance through partner agencies and in-house customer programs you may qualify for.

Go here for more detail on what happened and answers to frequently asked questions about the situation.

2021 Winter storm leak adjustment request

During the recent severe winter weather event, the City asked all water customers to drip their faucets for an extended period of time in an effort to limit pipe damage. To show our appreciation, and cover the associated costs, the City Council has approved a one-time water-utility credit of $10 for Georgetown residential and commercial water customers. This credit will appear on the first utility bill you receive after March 15, 2021.

If you’d like to lend a hand to those who have been especially affected by the severe winter weather, you may assign your $10 credit to the Good Neighbor Fund as a one-time donation. The Good Neighbor Fund is fully supported by customer donations, and 100 percent of donations go to help our neighbors who struggle to pay their utility bills.

To donate your $10 credit :

Additionally, the City of Georgetown is providing relief from water leaks resulting from the severe winter weather in February 2021 by offering expanded credits to customers. The adjustment will be 100 percent of the difference between your highest consumption during the leak period and normal comparable consumption during the same period last year. Leaks are expected to be repaired as soon as possible after discovery.

Please fill out the form completely and allow 10 days for an adjustment to appear on your account. No adjustments on delinquent accounts.  Enrollment in our Aqua Alert Program is required, if available in your area.

Click here to download the form. Once completed, you may present it to customer care one of the following ways:

Scan and email the completed form to customercare@georgetown.org.

Mail or in-person delivery to:

City of Georgetown
Customer Care
300-1 Industrial Ave.

Georgetown, TX 78626

Read more about what to do when you find a water leak here.

Tree limb collection

Crews contracted by the City of Georgetown have been collecting tree limbs and natural debris since Feb. 24 for residents who live in Georgetown city limits. Tree limb collection should be completed this week, March 15-19.

Click here to find out more.

Permits for winter storm damage repairs

The City of Georgetown’s Building Inspections Department will be working with homeowners and businesses during the next month to assess damage from the Feb. 10-21 winter weather event.

From Feb. 20-March 23, the City will assess each repair situation reported by customers to determine if a permit is required. Permits are required when multiple water pipes are broken since those damages can affect the integrity of the plumbing system and fixtures. The City is waiving permit fees on a case-by-case basis during this month-long assessment period.

Property owners are not required to request a permit for emergency repairs, such as replacing a hose bib or a short section of pipe (5 feet or less).

If more repairs need to be done, a remodel permit must be retained. A remodel permit is 42 cents per square foot. Permits are still required for repairs to gas lines or gas systems.

Visit permits.georgetown.org for more information and updates.

Water/electric outages

If you are experiencing a water or electric outage, please check our outage map. If your outage is not shown, please call 512-930-3640 and select option 1 for “electric/water/sewer emergency” to be transferred to the outage-reporting phone system. If you can’t get through via phone, you can email customercare@georgetown.org. The call center operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Calls received after hours are routed to the control center.

Solid waste and recycling collection

Texas Disposal Systems resumed normal collection of landfill trash and recycling on Monday, Feb. 22. Please put your carts curbside on your normal collection day.

Extra recycling can be placed in cardboard boxes next to your recycling cart.

TDS is processing several tons more waste than typical as a result of the storm. If your pickup was missed or you have other questions, please call 512-930-1715.

The Transfer Station, 250 W.L. Walden Drive, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for Georgetown utility customers to drop off brushy debris and recycling. Customers should bring a utility bill and matching ID.  Recyclables drop-off is free of charge.

Disaster declarations

The City of Georgetown issued a disaster declaration on Feb. 14 due to the winter storm. City Council extended the declaration until March 23, 2021, at a special-called meeting at 2 p.m. Feb. 21 via Zoom. Staff continues to work with other cities, Williamson County, and regional partners to coordinate the response to this event.

The disaster declaration allows the City to request resources from the county, state, and federal government in responding to the winter storm. Resources could include sheltering needs, cleanup assistance, or emergency response. The disaster declaration is the legal mechanism to seek reimbursement for these expenses. The disaster declaration also authorizes the mayor to effect actions such as evacuations, altering transportation routes, establishing a curfew, suspending deadlines in city ordinances, and other measures to protect life and secure property in an emergency.

The disaster declaration is not the same as the Drought Contingency Plan, which authorizes the City to enact water use restrictions in order to provide for basic domestic use and fire flow.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide disaster declaration Feb. 12.

President Joseph Biden issued a federal disaster declaration Feb. 14.

Other service providers in Georgetown

Cable/Internet/Phone: Suddenlink

Gas: Atmos Energy

Electric: Oncor, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Water use restrictions lifted at noon Feb. 23

Restrictions on nonessential use of water were lifted at noon Feb. 23 for all City of Georgetown water customers. The City’s water has recovered storage capacity and returned to normal operations following the winter storm, allowing the City to lift the restrictions early.

The restrictions lift at noon to gavecommercial businesses affected by the restrictions, like carwashes, time to staff for the day and ensure they open at the same time, so as not to give businesses an unfair advantage.

“We are so grateful for everyone’s hard work limiting water use the past few days. Our water system recovered much quicker than anticipated, and we have returned to normal operations,” City Manager David Morgan said. “The water and power outages many of our customers experienced during and after the winter storm last week were extremely challenging on all of us. The strength and goodwill you showed your neighbors and our crews working around the clock truly helped us all get through this.”

Water uses such as irrigation, washing vehicles, adding water to a pool, and industrial uses are permitted once the restrictions lift. However, leaving irrigation systems off and limiting other outdoor uses are still encouraged.

Restrictions on outdoor water use started at 5 p.m. Feb. 21 and initially were scheduled to lift at 11:59 p.m. Feb. 24. The restrictions were put in place to allow the City’s water system time to recover from the effects of the subfreezing temperatures and power outages last week.

All boil water notices have been lifted for Georgetown water customers. The last boil water notice was lifted Monday after samples indicated that state drinking water standards were met.

The City of Georgetown enacted Stage 3 of the Drought Contingency Plan at 5 p.m. Feb. 21 for all its customers, because the recent ice storm created a demand for water that exceeded the supply, and severe conservation measures are required to maintain the ability to provide the proper level of service.

 City crews worked around the clock to address the issues caused by the winter storm, including repairing lift and pump stations, as well as burst water mains.