Arts and Culture Board seeks mural proposals

The City’s Arts and Culture Board is seeking artist proposals for two murals in Georgetown this fall.

Animal Shelter Mural Project

In October, the Arts and Culture Board reopened the call for art for a mural related to the purpose of the Georgetown Animal Shelter by addressing the rescue and adoption of pets.

Mural designs are due by Nov. 30, and artists will be notified of a final selection in mid-January. The artist chosen will be paid a $4,000 stipend to install the mural, and the cost of materials and equipment needed for installation will be funded by the City. The project must be completed by March 31, 2021.

Georgetown Title mural

Georgetown Title, in collaboration with the Arts and Culture Board, will also be seeking artists to design and install a mural on an exterior wall of their building at 702 Rock St. in downtown. The call for art will be open Nov. 1-Dec. 31.

The mural design should be an interpretation of the history of the site using abstract representation with an emphasis on color and shape instead of realistic representation.

An artist stipend of $4,000 will be paid to the artist selected to install the mural. The cost of materials and equipment necessary to install the mural will be covered up to $2,000. Artists will be notified of selection by late January 2021. The mural will be completed by April 30, 2021.

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

Council adopts FY2021 budget that lowers property tax rate, focuses on maintaining services

The Georgetown City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2021 budget on Sept. 22. The adopted FY2021 budget totals $396 million and decreases the City’s property tax rate by $0.002, making it the lowest of all cities in the Austin area with a population greater than 20,000. As a result of the lower tax rate and a decline in the average taxable value of homestead property, the average Georgetown homeowner is expected to pay lower property taxes next year.

“Next year’s budget truly reflects the priorities of this community,” Mayor Dale Ross said. “The lower tax rate, competitive employee compensation, and continued commitment to public safety ensure we not only will meet the needs of today, but also lay a solid groundwork for tomorrow. Even in these most challenging times, the City is performing well financially and will be able to maintain Georgetown’s spot as the best place to live, work, play, and retire on planet earth.”

The adopted budget did not change from the proposed budget, which is provided online at finance.georgetown.org. The adopted budget book will be available this fall.

The FY2021 budget incorporates feedback received from multiple Council discussions, as well as from a public engagement survey in June. Of the more than 650 residents who took the survey, the majority:

  • Did not support changes to property taxes or user fees.
  • Rated the value of City services and the City’s efforts to address the impacts of growth as “Good.”
  • Supported increased funding to manage traffic and infrastructure/roads.

The overall focus of the FY2021 budget is to preserve and maintain City services, in response both to continued growth and uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic. It addresses these priorities through utility and transportation infrastructure development, public safety improvements, long-range planning initiatives, economic development achievements, and sustaining City service levels. This includes opening two fire stations in the next fiscal year.

The budget takes a conservative outlook for the next fiscal year, with the overall budget coming in 10 percent lower than the adopted FY2020 budget. The General Fund, which pays for several, critical services such as public safety, streets, library services, and parks and recreation, will increase by 3.7 percent – lower than the city’s population growth of 7.2 percent.

Other highlights in the adopted budget include the following:

  • 15.5 new positions, including staff for Fire Station No. 7 and two police officers
  • 14 frozen positions, for at least part of the year
  • $1 million in cuts to department budgets, including less funding for training, travel, and supplies
  • Competitive employee compensation and benefits, including market and merit raises for non-civil service employees, and market increases and annual step for public safety employees
  • $77.4 million in capital improvement projects, including investments in transportation, water and wastewater, electric, and the public safety complex.
  • Council discretionary funds for one-time uses, including small area plan development for the Track Ridge Grasshopper and San Jose neighborhoods
  • Initiating design for improvements to D.B. Wood Road, the last, large project from the 2015 bond.
  • Increased sanitation rates to help pay for increased costs with Texas Disposal Systems, reconstruction of the transfer station, and improvements to the household hazardous waste program

Additionally, the City is working with a contractor to study the costs to provide water and wastewater service and will likely recommend rate increases as a result.

For more information, visit finance.georgetown.org.

One Extraordinary CommUNITY

Mindful of the ongoing national dialogue regarding public trust and policing, the Georgetown Police Department has created a new initiative called CommUNITY. The program is a framework for community engagement and is the brainchild of Police Chief Wayne Nero. I’d like to share with you an overview of the CommUNITY initiative, and in so doing, I think you’ll see how people from across Georgetown are becoming involved.

The initiative recognizes that the police department can take a leadership role in bringing elements of the community together. The police department is more likely to be successful in its primary mission of protecting public safety when there are strong connections among various stakeholder groups in the community.

The name of the initiative, CommUNITY, places emphasis on the unity in community. That idea also is expressed in the vision statement for the CommUNITY initiative—One Extraordinary Community. The mission of the initiative that supports this vision is to forge strong relationships across various stakeholder groups that provide opportunities for constructive dialogue—or problem-solving—which, through mutual trust and understanding, enables unity that is sustainable.

Seven stakeholder groups in the community are the focus of the program. These include neighborhoods, youth, the business community, seniors, faith-based organizations, non-governmental or social service organizations, and news media. Members of the Georgetown Police Department, as well as volunteers with the department, aim to be engaged with these stakeholder groups in a way that is guided by eight principles: accountability, compassion, justice, kindness, knowledge, patience, respect, and unity.

The police department currently works to strengthen engagement with stakeholder groups through a range of programs and efforts. Some of these programs were started many years ago while others are just beginning.

For neighborhoods, these programs and efforts include neighborhood patrols, directed patrols, community discussions, Citizen Police Academy, crime bulletins, and focused problem-solving.

Youth engagement includes patrols at schools, a Youth Police Academy held over the summer, a new Youth Leadership Program being discussed in partnership with Georgetown ISD, and school safety and security initiatives. Police interactions with youth also include established programs such as Blue Santa, Police Explorers, and the Chase the Chief 5k and Fun Run.

For seniors, programs include the Take Me Home database to help identify persons who may be lost, the Silver Shields program offering safety information for homebound or special-needs seniors, and on-going public education to bring awareness to crimes targeting seniors.

Police engagement with the business community includes business patrols, crime bulletins or analyses, problem-solving, and outreach efforts to enhance crime prevention.

Three other key stakeholder groups include faith-based organizations, non-governmental or social service organizations, and news media. Engagement efforts with these stakeholder groups include sharing resources, community discussions, problem-solving, and sharing positive stories.

The CommUNITY initiative recognizes that members and volunteers of the Georgetown Police Department can effectively engage with these stakeholder groups by building relationships. Those relationships between people are built on a foundation of mutual respect, common problem-solving and meaningful dialogue.

In addition to engagement with stakeholder groups through programs and events, the Chief of Police is in the process of establishing a CommUNITY Advisory Group comprised of leaders from those groups. The advisory group will serve to give counsel to the Chief of Police on a range of community issues. There will also be CommUNITY Stakeholder Subcommittees within each of the stakeholder groups. These subcommittees will include leaders within the specific stakeholder groups as well as police department staff who work collaboratively identifying and developing opportunities for partnership and community engagement.

The CommUNITY initiative is a framework for the Georgetown Police Department to strengthen existing community relationships, as well as strategically build new relationships with the people in our community. The initiative is based on the recognition that police work does not happen in a vacuum, but in relationships with the various stakeholders in the community. As relationships are strengthened, the police department plays a role in helping to bring together Georgetown into one extraordinary community.

Georgetown Citizen Survey results

How are we doing?

That’s the gist of the Citizen Survey conducted by the City of Georgetown every two years. The results of the most recent survey completed this summer are encouraging, but they do point to areas where we need to continue to focus our efforts today and in the future.

As we did in 2016, the City hired the Texas State University Center for Public Policy, Research, and Training to conduct the anonymous poll. The survey is intended to measure the perceptions of residents.  It was mailed to 2,300 households in Georgetown and 469 residents responded. The margin of error was 4 percent.

So what are the key findings? This year, 81 percent of residents polled said the value of city services for taxes paid was good or excellent. And 98 percent of respondents rate the overall quality of life in Georgetown as good or excellent.

The common benchmark for city surveys is to have 80 percent or more of respondents indicated that a service is good or excellent. The city met or exceeded that benchmark on 82 percent of cases (32 of 39 indicators).

Since 2016, perceptions of the quality of street repair, city beautification, the City as a place to work, and emergency preparedness are all up.

Below are some more results from the survey.

  • For emergency services, including fire, police, and EMS, 96 percent of respondents gave a rating of good or excellent. And 93 percent rated emergency services as good or excellent.
  • Ninety-five percent of respondents rated city parks as good or excellent and 98 percent rated the public library services as good or excellent.
  • For utility services, 92 percent rated electric services as good or excellent and 90 percent said that water services are good or excellent.
  • We know that safety is an important concern, so it’s good news that 90 percent of respondents rated neighborhood safety at night as good or excellent and 88 percent rated safety in city parks as good or excellent
  • When asked about interactions with City employees, 54 percent had contact with a city employee in the last year and 91 percent rated the service provided by the employee as good or excellent overall.

Overall, these results are encouraging.

So where can we improve?

Traffic and growth-related pressures were the top concern on this survey and in past surveys. We asked residents about the top priorities for Georgetown. The top three cited were: 1. Traffic, 2. Infrastructure and roads, and 3. Managing growth.

Not surprisingly in our growing city, the rating for traffic flow on major streets decreased by 16 percent. And the percentage who rated traffic flow as poor increased from 18 percent to 28 percent from 2016.

This result of our fast-growing city is one of the main reasons that voters approved $105 million in new transportation projects in 2015. We continue to direct significant resources to mobility through these city bond projects and we are working with Williamson County and state and federal transportation agencies for other regional transportation projects.

We think it’s important to find out how we are doing, and these results are encouraging in many ways. They also point to areas like new roads and mobility where we should continue to focus our efforts.

If you want to read the complete survey results, check out our archive of past surveys.

Proposed Voluntary Annexation of Maravilla Subdivision

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation of property into the city limits.  The Public Hearings will be held at the February 12, 2019 meeting at 3 pm and February 12, 2019 at 6 pm. City Council meetings are located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street.  The area being considered for voluntary annexation is approximately a 23.10-acre tract of land situated in the Joseph Pulsifer Survey, located at 34 Skyline Road, north of W University Ave and east of DB Wood Road, to be known as the Maravilla Subdivision.

After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexation.

For additional information, please contact Chelsea Irby in the Planning Department, 512-931-7746 or email to chelsea.irby@georgetown.org.

Maravilla Subdivision Location Map

City considers voluntary annexation

The City of Georgetown is considering voluntary annexations. The Public Hearings for these proposed annexations will be held at the October 23, 2018 3:00 pm Special Meeting and the October 23, 2018 6:00 pm Regular City Council meeting, located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street.  The areas being considered for annexation are:

Public Hearing for the Voluntary Annexation and designation of initial zoning to Local Commercial (C-1) zoning district upon annexation for an approximate 6.375-acre tract in the Lewis P. Dyches Survey, Abstract No. 171, and County Road (CR) 245, a right-of-way of varying width described to Williamson County, Texas, generally located at Ronald Reagan Boulevard and CR 245, to be known as the Highland Village 2 Non-Residential Tract.

Public Hearing for the Voluntary Annexation and designation of initial zoning to Public Facilities (PF) zoning district upon annexation for an approximate 22.896-acres to include adjacent right-of-way in the William Addison League Survey, Abstract No. 21, generally east of CR 110 and North of CR 111, to be known as Georgetown ISD Elementary School No. 7.

Agenda items will be posted with more information prior to the meetings at: http://agendas.georgetown.org/    Or contact the Planning Department at Planning@Georgetown.org.

City considers Voluntary Annexation

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation. The Public Hearings will be held at the September 25, 2018 3:00 pm Special Meeting and the September 25, 2018 6:00 pm Regular City Council meeting, located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street.  The area being considered for annexation is:

The Voluntary Annexation and designation of Public Facilities (PF) zoning district for an approximate 1.42-acre tract in the William Addison Survey, Abstract No. 21, generally located north of E University Ave and west of Inner Loop, to be known as Fire Station No. 7.

Notice of Voluntary Annexations

City of Georgetown  Notice of Voluntary Annexation

The City of Georgetown is considering voluntary annexations. The Public Hearings will be held at the August 28, 2018 3:00 pm Special Meeting and the August 28, 2018 6:00 pm Regular City Council meeting, located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street.  The areas being considered for annexation are:

Public Hearings for the Voluntary Annexation of an approximate 262.011-acre tract of land situated in the William Roberts League Survey, Abstract No. 524, and a portion of Shell Road, a right-of-way of varying width of record described to the Williamson County, Texas, and directing publication of notice for proposed annexation, for the property generally located along Shell Road, north of Williams Drive to be known as the Shell Road development.

Public Hearings for the Voluntary Annexation of an approximate 553.463-acre tract of land situated in the B. Manlove Survey, Abstract No. 420, Milton Hicks Survey, Abstract No. 287, P. Weathersby Survey, Abstract No. 680, A.M. Brown Survey, Abstract No. 85, J. C. Thaxton Survey, Abstract No. 756, I. Sauls Survey, Abstract No. 595, and I. & G. N. R. R. Survey, Abstract No. 741, and a portion of Farm to Market Road 2243 (FM 2243), a right-of-way of varying width of record described to the State of Texas, and initial zoning of Public Facilities (PF) zoning district designation, for the property generally located along FM 2243, east of CR 286 and west of Escalera Ranch Parkway, to be known as Garey Park.

After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexations at dates to be determined. For additional information, please contact the Planning Department, 512-930-3575 or email to planning@georgetown.org.

Proposed Voluntary Annexation of Mourning Dove Subdivision

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation of property into the city limits.  The Public Hearings will be held at the May 22, 2018 meeting at 3 pm and March 22, 2018 at 6 pm. City Council meetings are located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street.  The area being considered for voluntary annexation is approximately an 18.331-acre tract of land situated in the Ruidosa Irrigation Company Survey, located at 118 Mourning Dove, west of FM 1460, north of SE Inner Loop and east of S Austin Ave, to be known as the Mourning Dove Subdivision.

After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexation.

For additional information, please contact Nathan Jones in the Planning Department, 512-931-7746 or email to nathan.jones@georgetown.org

ANX-2018-002_Mourning Dove Subdivision Location Map

Proposed Voluntary Annexation of Keyes Tract

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation of property into the city limits.  The Public Hearings will be held at the May 8, 2018 meeting at 3 pm and March 8, 2018 at 6 pm. City Council meetings are located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street.  The area being considered for voluntary annexation is approximately 44.69 acre tract of land, which includes adjacent right-of-way, situated in the Francis A. Hudson Survey, Abstract No. 295, Williamson County, Texas, generally located south of La Conterra Blvd., west of FM 1460, and north of Westinghouse Road to be known as the Keyes Tract.

After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexation.

For additional information, please contact Sofia Nelson in the Planning Department, 512-930-3584 or email to sofia.nelson@georgetown.org.

ANX-2018-003_Location map of Keyes Tract