Berry Creek wastewater line stakeholder meeting Oct. 4

The City of Georgetown will hold a stakeholder meeting on Oct. 4 to provide information on the Berry Creek Wastewater Interceptor project. The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Community Room at the Parks and Recreation Administration Building, 1101 N. College St. in Georgetown.

Information about the potential alignment of the 4.4-mile wastewater line project will be provided. The interceptor follows Berry Creek from the Berry Creek subdivision to the Pecan Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant, located on Farm to Market 971 near Weir. Construction on the wastewater line is expected to begin next year.

A team of environmental, engineering, and archaeological experts from the City of Georgetown and Walker Partners will be in attendance to provide information to property owners, businesses, and others interested in the project. There will be an opportunity to provide written comments at the meeting.

GoGeo offers free rides for Southwestern students, faculty, and staff

By showing a Pirate ID card when boarding, Southwestern University students, faculty, and staff can take a GoGeo bus for free to destinations in Georgetown. The program started on Aug. 15 and is funded by an agreement between the City and Southwestern.

To mark the start of free GoGeo service, Southwestern University and the City of Georgetown will hold a kickoff event at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 29. The kickoff will be on the Academic Mall on the Southwestern campus near the flagpoles in front of the McCombs Campus Center. Southwestern President Edward Burger will speak at the event as well as Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross and Todd Hemingson, executive vice president of strategic planning and development for Capital Metro. Capital Area Rural Transportation System or CARTS, which operates the GoGeo buses, will also be at the event.

The GoGeo Orange Route 471 has two stops on Maple Street on the Southwestern campus. With a transfer to other routes at the Georgetown Public Library, students can take the bus to locations such as HEB, Wolf Ranch Town Center, the Rivery retail area, City Lights Theatres, the City Recreation Center, or shops on Williams Drive. Free bus service serves an important mobility need for many Southwestern students who do not have their own vehicle on campus.

GoGeo service hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Details about routes, service hours, and more is at gogeo.georgetown.org.

New utility customer account set-up

Georgetown Utility Systems launched a new utility billing system on Aug. 6. As part of the new system, all auto-draft customers need to create a new online account.

This page will provide step-by-step instructions on how to set up a new account online: gus.georgetown.org/guspay.

Customers calling the Customer Care number for assistance in setting up a new account are experiencing longer than normal hold times, continual ringing, or busy signals due to very high call volume. Customers may experience continual ringing when calling which signifies that the call did not reach the call center phone system. Customer Care representatives are working to respond to every customer call or message as soon as possible. The number for Customer Care is (512) 930-3640 or 1 (888) 474-4904. Customers can also email customercare@georgetown.org.

Customer Care staff will be available for in-person assistance at several locations through Aug. 28. For a list of times and locations go to gus.georgetown.org/customercare/paying-your-bill.

Customers may still pay their utility bills with a check by mail or at the Utility Customer Care Center, located at 300-1 Industrial Ave., Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Note that while customers need to update their account information, they have the entire month to do so. This month the City is waiving late fees and disconnections for non-payment.

For more information, please visit gus.georgetown.org.

NE Inner Loop closed overnight Aug. 14 and 15

NE Inner Loop will be closed to traffic in the overnight hours on Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 for road construction work.

The segment of NE Inner Loop from Farm to Market 971 to Highway 29 will be closed on both days starting at 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. the next day.

The closure is for the rebuilding of the Georgetown Rail Road crossing on NE Inner Loop that is about 0.5-miles south of FM 971.

Traffic will be detoured to Austin Avenue during the road closure. This construction work is weather-dependent.

Map of closure on NE Inner Loop

Rivery Boulevard Extension ground breaking Aug. 7

The City of Georgetown will hold a ground breaking for the Rivery Boulevard Extension project on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The event is at 10 a.m. on Northwest Boulevard at Washam Drive, which is the north end of the future Rivery roadway.

The new Rivery Boulevard segment will extend from the north end of the existing Rivery Boulevard at Williams Drive to Northwest Boulevard. The 0.5-mile long boulevard includes four lanes with a divided median. The road will include a traffic circle at the intersection with Park Lane.

The construction cost for the roadway project is $5.1 million. Rivery Boulevard Extension was approved by Georgetown voters in the 2015 transportation bond election. KPA is the design engineer on the project and Joe Bland Construction is the contractor.

When complete, Rivery Boulevard Extension will provide a link from I-35 to the Rivery retail, hotel, and convention center development. On the north end, the road will connect to the new Northwest Boulevard bridge over Interstate 35, which is scheduled to begin in 2019. The Rivery Boulevard and Northwest Boulevard projects provide an alternate to Williams Drive, which is one of the busiest roads in the city.

Ground breaking location

The Rivery Boulevard Extension ground breaking will be held on the south side of Northwest Boulevard across from the T-intersection at Washam Drive.

Georgetown institutes Drought Contingency Plan – Phase 1

All customers moved to new irrigation schedule

The City of Georgetown is enacting Phase 1 of the Drought Contingency Plan on Thursday, Aug. 2.  The plan calls for mandatory two-day per week watering schedule for all customers. Drought conditions, extraordinarily high temperatures, excessive water consumption, and irrigation on “No-Watering” Mondays, have necessitated the activation of the Drought Contingency Plan.

The City of Georgetown water utility serves approximately 40,000 households and businesses in a 417 square-mile area including Georgetown and areas north of Florence and Liberty Hill. (See water service area map.)

The new two-day watering schedule for irrigation systems and hose-end sprinklers is based on the last digit of your street address.

Address ends in: May water these days:
1, 5, 9 Tue. and/or Fri.
2, 4, 6, 8 Wed. and/or Sat.
0, 3, 7 Thu. and/or Sun.

The new two-day schedule spreads watering over six days each week in order to balance customer water consumption.

Watering with an irrigation system or hose-end sprinkler should not be done between the hours of noon to 7 p.m. each day. No irrigation is permitted on Mondays. Watering with hose-end sprinklers must comply with the new schedule. Use of a hand-held hose or bucket can be any day and at any time. Other outdoor water uses such as vehicle washing or filling a swimming pool can be done any day at any time.

Violations of the irrigation schedule may result in fines.

For assistance call (512) 930-3640 or email gus@georgetown.org.

A reminder to all customers: #NoWateringMonday. Monday is a recovery day for the water treatment, storage, and distribution system.

Eric Lashley receives W.D. Kelley Leadership Award

The W.D. Kelley Foundation announced this week that it has named Eric Lashley, director of the Georgetown Public Library, as the recipient of the 2018 W.D. Kelley Leadership Award. The award acknowledges and celebrates extraordinary leaders in the nonprofit community in Georgetown.

The award comes with a grant in the amount of $20,000 to be used for the benefit of the Georgetown Public Library. When he learned of the award, Lashley said, “I was extremely surprised and humbled by this award. It was truly unexpected. I consider this an award for my entire staff. I want to thank the W.D. Kelley Foundation for this recognition.”

Georgetown attorney Dale Illig, president of the W.D. Kelley Foundation, said, “When we thought of outstanding leaders in the non-profit community in Georgetown, we immediately thought of Eric Lashley and his incredible staff and the extraordinary work that he and his staff do to make this library an ‘oasis’ for the citizens of Georgetown.”

The W.D. Kelley Leadership Award has only been awarded once before, in 2015, to Tamara Hudgins, executive director of Girlstart.

The W.D. Kelley Foundation was established in 1997 with funds from the estate of William D. Kelley (1914-1996). The foundation aims to support organizations, projects, and individuals with a proven history of strong leadership or educational innovation. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded over $6 million to nonprofit organizations primarily in the greater Georgetown area. The Georgetown Public Library has been a recipient of a previous grant from the foundation for the purchase of art exhibit panels.

Pictured in the photo (left to right) are Eric Lashley, Dale Illig, Katelyn Illig, and Carl Illig, executive director of the W.D. Kelley Foundation.

For more information about the Georgetown Public Library visit library.georgetown.org.

Georgetown Utility Systems launches new billing system

Georgetown Utility Systems is launching a new utility billing system Aug. 6 that will allow customers to manage their usage and pay bills more effectively.

The new system will allow customers to receive bills via text or email, get payment reminders and alerts, and have more control over credit card and payment data.

As part of the new system all auto-draft customers will need to create a new online account on or after Aug. 6 at gus.georgetown.org/guspay.  Please contact Customer Care at (512) 930-3640 or 1 (888) 474-4904 with questions or if you need assistance.

GUS will suspend late fees and disconnects for nonpayment in the month of August. Regular late-fee and disconnect practices for nonpayment will resume Sept. 1.

Credit card transactions on the website or via the phone system will not be accepted for utility account payments between Aug. 1 and 6.

Customers will still be able to pay their utility bills by mail or at the Utility Customer Care Center, located at 300 Industrial Ave., Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. during the transition.

For more information, please visit gus.georgetown.org.

Southwest Bypass opening July 18

The first segment of Southwest Bypass will be opened to traffic on Wednesday, July 18 after a ceremony by the City of Georgetown. The ribbon cutting event is at 9 a.m.

Southwest Bypass provides a north-south connection on the west side of Georgetown from DB Wood Road to Leander Road. The new $18.3 million arterial was one of 20 transportation projects approved by Georgetown voters in the May 2015 bond election. The contractor on the project was Jordan Foster Construction and the engineer was HDR. (Southwest Bypass bridge under construction shown at right.)

The Southwest Bypass project includes the construction of an arterial roadway from State Highway 29 to Interstate 35. Southwest Bypass will provide a continuous arterial around the south and west sides of the city. The road is being designed and built in conjunction with Williamson County. In addition to the City’s 2.4-mile segment from University Avenue to Leander Road, the County is building a 1.25-mile segment from Leander Road to Interstate 35. The County’s project is anticipated to be completed in late 2019. Information about Southwest Bypass can be found on bonds.georgetown.org and on roadbond.org, a Williamson County site.

Ribbon cutting event location

From I-35, take the University Avenue/SH 29 exit and go west past the Wolf Ranch Town Center. Go to the signal at D.B. Wood Road. Turn south (left) onto D.B. Wood road at the signal. Follow the new roadway to a right turn and continue to the west. Follow the new road for about seven-tenths of one mile and take the left turn to the south in the roadway. Continue a short distance to the ribbon cutting site. The ribbon cutting event will be at one of the bridges on the roadway. Parking will be available on a wide shoulder at the ribbon cutting site. (Click on map image to see larger version.)

Southwest Bypass opening map 7-18-18

Georgetown’s energy 100 percent renewable with solar plant

Georgetown will officially be powered with 100 percent renewable solar- and wind-generated energy on Sunday, July 1, when the city begins receiving electricity from the Buckthorn solar plant in West Texas.  The 154 megawatt solar farm, owned by NRG Yield and operated by NRG Renewables, provides power for the City utility, making Georgetown one of the largest cities in the U.S. to be 100 percent renewable.

At a ribbon-cutting event at the Buckthorn facility on Thursday, Mayor Dale Ross said, “Buckthorn represents more than just energy. It represents a defining moment in history when renewable energy officially became competitive with fossils fuels on the cost of energy.”

Georgetown officials were joined at the ribbon cutting by representatives from Pecos County; NRG Energy; Wells Fargo, who provided financing for the solar farm; and Swinerton Renewable Energy, who constructed the solar facility.

The 1,250-acre Buckthorn solar plant located 15 miles north of Fort Stockton contains 1.7 million solar panels. The panels are mounted on a single-axis tracking system that rotate over the course of each day to maintain a 90-degree angle to the sun in order to maximize output. The plant is in Pecos County, which has the second-highest radiance factor in the state. Radiance is a rating for available sunlight.

In addition to the Buckthorn solar farm, Georgetown’s energy providers include Spinning Spur 3, a wind farm near Amarillo owned by EDF Renewable Energy, and the Southwest Mesa and South Trent wind farms in West Texas owned by AEP.

As of July 1, Georgetown takes another step forward in continuing to provide customers with 100 percent renewable energy. Together the wind and solar contracts provide enough energy to cover the City’s electric usage. Since April 2017, Georgetown has been 100 percent renewable based on the state’s system of accounting for renewable power based on renewable energy credits.