Paratransit services will continue uninterrupted
The fixed-route bus system currently serving Georgetown residents will have its final rides Sept. 30, 2021. City Council during its July 27 meeting directed staff to negotiate a paratransit agreement with Capital Metro, without any provision for fixed-route service. City Council on Sept. 14 approved an interlocal agreement to continue paratransit services only.
“The City of Georgetown remains committed to providing exceptional services where they are needed,” Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “The council has been very forward-thinking and proactive with regard to providing some form of public transit to meet our residents’ needs. City Council has given direction to discontinue the current fixed route system as of Oct. 1, 2021, but to continue providing our paratransit services. The current fixed-route system has not produced the expected ridership. As Georgetown continues to grow, so will the need for public transportation. I would expect this issue to be reassessed in the future.”
The City’s paratransit service, which is run by Capital Area Rural Transportation System, or CARTS, as a subcontractor for Capital Metro, currently serves 235 riders. The paratransit service is only available to people with disabilities. Eligibility and screening for paratransit services is provided, through a paper application, by the CARTS.
In the new agreement, the City will have up to two vehicles providing the current, curb-to-curb service from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Eligible riders will continue to pay $2 per trip and be required to make a reservation 24 hours in advance through the website or by calling 512-478-RIDE (7433).
The cost for continuing the paratransit service is estimated at $271,140. The City would pay $162,684, and the remaining cost would be covered through a match from the Federal Transit Administration. Because the City anticipates the number of qualified riders could increase with the loss of the fixed-route service, the City has committed to set aside an additional $81,342, with the FTA contributing $54,228, which will be used if needed in FY2022.
CARTS’ Interurban Coach bus service between Georgetown and Austin will continue. The bus picks up passengers from two stops in Georgetown, at Eighth and Forest streets and 3620 S. Austin Ave., twice a day Monday through Friday and has several stops on the way to and in Austin, including University Oaks, Tech Ridge Park & Ride, and Austin Greyhound.
History of GoGeo, public transit in Georgetown
The City and Capital Metro launched Georgetown’s fixed-route bus system Aug. 21, 2017. The partnership also included paratransit services in the City. The Georgetown Health Foundation also has provided funding for GoGeo.
GoGeo’s fixed-route service operates four routes with 46 stops that run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. GoGeo also offered a Saturday service until March 2020, when it was canceled due to the pandemic. Annual average ridership for the fixed-route has ranged from 20,299 in Fiscal Year 2018 to 14,431 in Fiscal Year 2020. The City has spent $1.4 million for both fixed-route and paratransit GoGeo services since its inception. The City also paid $168,031 to install bus stops and other infrastructure. Annual costs for the service averaged $574,552 in local funding. The City’s current contract with Capital Metro expires at the end of September.
Council meeting and agreement materials
Sept. 14 Council Meeting: Coversheet
For more information about the GoGeo program, visit gogeo.georgetown.org.
The City will host a free household hazardous waste collection event from 3-6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the old 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 email@example.com 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.
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)
- Over the counter, residential lawn and garden chemicals
- 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
- Explosives (including ammunition and fireworks)
- Radioactive materials
- Biological materials
Additional household hazardous waste collection events are being planned for 2022.
For more information about the City’s solid waste and recycling services, visit recycle.georgetown.org.
Williamson County will also host a household hazardous waste collection event open to all county residents 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Hutto Football Stadium, 573 Chris Kelley Blvd. Find more information by calling 512-759-8881, option 4, or visiting https://bit.ly/3648ZYX.
The City of Georgetown is hosting several events to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15.
Georgetown Public Library
The cultural celebration will include several events from the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St., including an outdoor movie screening, take and make crafts, and a folklorico dance performance.
Events kick off Sept. 24 with a screening of Disney/Pixar’s “Coco.” The PG film follows aspiring young musician Miguel on a journey to the land of his ancestors where he uncovers the mysteries behind his family’s traditions and stories. The film will be shown at dusk on Forest Street between the Library and Light and Water Works building. Crafts and activities for children will be available starting at 7 p.m.
Ballet Folklorico will host a performance at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, in Library’s Hewlett Room. Tickets will be handed out first-come, first-served starting at 1 p.m. that day.
The Library will also have a selection of craft kit takeaways available to celebrate Hispanic heritage, as well as highlighting relevant items in all collections and sharing lists of recommended books, CDs, and films.
For more information, visit library.georgetown.org.
Tuesday Talks with Britin and Ann
Britin and Ann’s Tuesday Talks presentation in September featured the people and places that are part of Georgetown’s Hispanic heritage. Watch the replay on Facebook and find other past presentations at historic.georgetown.org.
Celebrate the City of Georgetown’s POPPtoberFest event on the most beautiful town square in Texas. The festival, this year’s rescheduled Red Poppy Festival, kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, and runs through 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, with three days of music, entertainment, family fun, and more than 75 arts and craft vendors.
Dale Watson is the headliner Saturday night and takes the stage at 9:30 p.m. Two Tons of Steel and Brave Combo will open for Watson at 7:45 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. Longtime festival favorite Dysfunkshun Junkshun is back for the Friday night concert at 7 p.m. The Peterson Brothers Band will perform 1:30 p.m. Sunday. There is no admission charge for the concerts or other festival activities. Feel free to bring your own chair and cooler (no glass) if you are coming for the day.
Other festival highlights include the Car Show at 10 a.m. Saturday. On Sunday, come see the pet parade and meet City vehicles at 11 a.m. And make sure to stop by the City of Georgetown booth at Eighth Street and Austin Avenue to charge your devices, relax in the shade, and meet City staff.
The Kid’s Fun Zone is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The Fun Zone is free and includes an obstacle course, a huge slide, a bounce house, a basketball game, and a toddler playground.
The City is offering a variety of options for visitors to get to POPPtoberFest.
Several free public parking lots are available throughout downtown, as well as a shuttle option Saturday.
“We’re hoping for perfect, fall weather for our POPPtober event,” Tourism Manager Cari Miller said. “Georgetown may feel like a small town, but this is going to be a big party. Folks need to plan to arrive early, be patient, and be prepared to be amongst hundreds of people, especially Saturday night.”
The Williamson County parking garage at Rock and Fourth streets and the public parking lot on Austin Avenue between Fifth and Fourth streets (next to The Monument Cafe) will be open during the festival. Public parking lots on Martin Luther King Jr. Street at West Eighth and West Sixth streets are also available. There is no charge for parking.
Attendees are asked to be courteous when parking on neighborhood streets and avoid blocking driveways or parking in fire lanes. Illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed.
Handicap parking is available at the parking lot at 10th and Main streets.
The City parking lot at Sixth and Main streets will be closed starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30.
Free shuttle on Saturday
A free shuttle will run 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. The shuttle will pick up and drop off passengers at the First Baptist Church located at 1333 W. University Ave. The drop-off location is at the corner of Austin Avenue and Ninth Street.
There will be no GoGeo fixed-route bus services. People with a qualifying disability may receive paratransit services until 7 p.m. Friday. Eligible riders pay $2 per trip and must make a reservation 24 hours in advance. More information at gogeo.georgetown.org.
Austin Avenue closes Friday morning: Starting at 6 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, Austin Avenue will be closed from Sixth to Ninth streets. Traffic will be detoured to Rock Street. This is to allow the placement of the main festival stage. Austin Avenue will be closed through 11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3.
Other streets around the Courthouse Square will close at 6 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, to allow for vendor set-up. Streets around the Square will remain closed through 11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3.
Vendor tents will be spread out to at least 6 feet apart, allowing for increased social distancing between artists and attendees. The City will have hand-sanitizing stations throughout the festival.
While masks are not required outdoors or in City facilities, some private businesses may require them. Masks are encouraged whenever people cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance from others, regardless of vaccination status or whether indoors or outside. Complimentary masks will be available at the Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh St., and the City of Georgetown booth located at Eighth Street and Austin Avenue.
The City is asking festival attendees to:
- Stay home if they are sick or think they might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Maintain at least 6 feet away from others not in their group.
- Wash/sanitize their hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Be respectful of the decisions of private business owners and individuals.
For a complete schedule and more details, including information on parking and road closures, visit POPPtoberFest.com.
Applications will temporarily cease Sept. 15-30, 2021
From Sept. 15 through Sept. 30, 2021, the City of Georgetown will temporarily stop accepting solar permit and interconnection applications while the City transitions to a new portal and service provider.
All solar permit applications received through Sept. 15 will be processed through the current application, My Permit Now.
Starting Oct. 1, the City will resume accepting solar interconnection applications on a new portal. This new portal will allow a more streamlined process for submitting a Distributed Energy Resource (DER) interconnection application. DER systems include roof-top solar photovoltaic units, residential battery storage, etc.
The public will be notified when the portal goes live.
New Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Installation and Interconnection Policy
On June 22, 2021, City Council approved the new DER Installation and Interconnection Policy, which goes into effect Oct. 1, 2021.
The approved fee schedule is shown below:
|DER installation and interconnection Application Fee||$250|
|Facilities Study* *||$1,000|
|DER Installation and Inspection Fee||$450|
|Additional Inspection Fee**||$150|
*All fees identified as non-refundable.
If you have any questions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Breakfast Bites meeting Sept. 9 will feature Rachel Hancock, owner of Something Social/Arkay Artwork, presenting on “Let’s Get Social.” The informal meeting opens at 8:45 a.m. on the patio behind 309 Coffee at 309 S. Main St. The presentation will start at 9 a.m.
Social media can be a powerful tool for reaching new customers, but what platforms and tools are the most effective for your audience? Learn from Hancock in a special, hands-on program in which you are encouraged to bring your own device and follow along for tips, tricks, and new skills you can apply to your own social media accounts.
At the Sept. 9 program, 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. Limited seating is available. If you plan to attend, please RSVP by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/main-street-breakfast-bites-lets-get-social-tickets-167765227311.
Participants are encouraged to wear a mask or face covering and maintain physical distancing of at least six feet. Hand sanitizer will also be available for attendees.
The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter is teaming up with KXAN for the sixth annual Clear the Shelters pet adoption drive Aug. 23 through Sept. 19. Clear The Shelters is an annual national adoption event spearheaded by NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations.
This year, the campaign will combine a month-long virtual adoption campaign, with a single-day adoption celebration on Sept. 18.
During the entire event, the shelter, 110 W.L. Walden Drive, will reduce and even waive adoption fees. Dogs age 7 months or older may be adopted for $15 (medium to large size breeds only), while cats age 7 months or older may be adopted free of charge.
“This campaign couldn’t come at a better time,” Animal Services Manager April Haughey said. “Our small shelter has been overflowing with dogs and cats for the last month. We hope this campaign will reach potential adopters and truly clear the shelter.”
To see the list of available pets and learn how to adopt, visit pets.georgetown.org. The shelter is operating primarily by appointment, with adoption applications required in advance. This process ensures staff assistance and one-to-one interactions with animals.
For more information about the Clear the Shelters adoption drive, visit kxan.com/clear-the-shelters/.
The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter is the open-intake municipal shelter for Georgetown and has been serving the community since the 1970s. It recently celebrated its fifth consecutive year of achieving a live outcome rate above 90 percent, which means it is considered a no-kill shelter.
The Texas Society of Sculptors announced the award winners for its 13th Annual Summer Show at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St., on Aug. 15. A video of the award presentations, including views of the winning pieces, is available at library.georgetown.org/tsos-awards.
Library Director Sally Miculek presented the Librarians’ Choice and People’s Choice awards. She then introduced the awards juror for the summer sculpture show: Graeme Durant, assistant curator at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.
Durant presented the awards for first, second, and third places, as well as three honorable mentions.
Award winners are:
People’s Choice: “And He Did Ride” by Ronnie Wells
Librarians’ Choice: “Carol’s Bouquet” by Ken Law
First Place: “Rapunzel’s Tower Under the Full Moon” by Valérie Chaussonnet
Second Place: “1.618” by Evan Horne
Third Place: “Pirate’s Woman” by James R. Woodruff
Honorable mention: “Ready for Takeoff” by Dar Richardson
Honorable mention: “Jave” by Ken Law
Honorable mention: “Laugh, You Jester. You Are Not Allowed to Cry” by Czes Sornat
Each award is accompanied by a cash prize. The Georgetown Arts and Culture Board provided a total of $2,200 to fund the awards.
The Texas Society of Sculptors 13th Summer Sculpture Show in the Georgetown Public Library lasts through Sept. 17. This exhibit, hosted by the library with sponsorship from the City of Georgetown Arts and Culture Board, features 78 works of sculpture by 40 artists.
“The Georgetown Public Library offers an excellent environment for viewing art, most of which are available for purchase,” Miculek said. “We are thrilled to once again have this exhibit and hope even more library patrons will come visit to see these stunning pieces while they’re still in our community.”
For more information about this year’s exhibit and events, contact Technical Services Librarian Dana Hendrix at email@example.com or TSOS Exhibit Coordinator Linda Wilde at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The filing period for the special election on Nov. 2 for the District 6 City Council seat ended at 5 p.m. Aug. 16.
Candidates include Jake French and Chere Heintzmann.
To see maps of council districts, go to maps.georgetown.org/council-district-maps.
The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 2 election is Oct. 4.
Early in-person voting is Oct. 18-29. In the early voting period, voters may cast ballots at any early voting location in Williamson County. Early voting polling places, dates, and times will be listed at wilco.org/elections.
On Election Day on Nov. 2, voters may cast ballots at any vote center location in Williamson County. Polling places, dates, and times will be listed at wilco.org/elections.
For details about the city election, go to government.georgetown.org/city-secretary/elections.
The City of Georgetown is asking the public to share comments on the proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget through an online comment box, which will be up through Sept. 5. Members of the public also can attend any of the public hearings through the budget adoption process. Public comments and feedback will be provided to City Council for its Sept. 14 meeting, during which the council is scheduled to hold public hearings and first readings of both the tax rate and the budget.
The proposed budget totals $483 million and decreases the City’s property tax rate by 1.7 cents (from 41.8 cents per $100 valuation to 40.1 cents). This is the second year in a row the City has proposed reducing the property tax rate, maintaining the City’s rate as the lowest of all cities in the Austin area with a population greater than 20,000. Council also recently voted to increase the homestead exemption to the greater of $5,000 or 3 percent, contributing to $370,000 in additional taxpayer relief. However, because property values in Georgetown increased 15.4 percent, the average homeowner in Georgetown is expected to pay $56 more in property taxes in the upcoming year.
“We anticipated and budgeted for an economic slowdown last year, but we actually saw considerable acceleration,” City Manager David Morgan said. “Next year’s preliminary budget continues our usual practices of budgeting conservatively and taking steps to reduce the burden on taxpayers while investing in the additional resources needed to keep up with our sustained, exponential growth. This preliminary budget is just the first step in the budget process. I hope residents will check out our website to learn more and share their feedback, so we can fund programs and services that meet their needs and priorities.”
The City of Georgetown budget affects every resident in the city. How the City allocates taxpayer dollars and monthly costs as utility customers determines the level of service customers get in return for City functions, such as providing electricity, drinking water, resources to respond to emergencies, well-maintained streets, a world-class library, and accessible trails.
City staff used the results of recent public feedback opportunities, including the 2020 resident survey and council goals, to develop a preliminary version of next year’s budget, which spans Oct. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2022. Staff presented the preliminary budget to City Council on July 26, and the council continued the discussion during its July 27 workshop. The workshops gave the council a chance to weigh options and provide direction so staff could come back Aug. 10 with a proposed budget that reflects their feedback as well.
Major themes of the proposed budget are investing in transportation and utility infrastructure, public safety, and customer services, as well as providing the staffing, equipment, and software needed for record-setting growth and development. Adequately funding those priorities—particularly transportation and water capital improvement projects ($90 million), public safety investments, and staffing and resources needed to maintain service levels during Georgetown’s sustained period of high growth—contributed to the preliminary budget being $87 million (or 18 percent) more than the current fiscal year’s budget of $396 million.
For more information about the annual budget process and details and documents about the preliminary FY2022 budget, visit finance.georgetown.org.
Budget adoption timeline
July 26 & 27: Council budget workshops
Aug. 10: First presentation of the full budget; City Council sets maximum tax rate and public hearing dates
Sept. 5: Comments on draft budget close (see form online)
Sept. 14: Public hearings and first reading of both the tax rate and the budget
Sept. 28: Second reading and final adoption of the tax rate and budget