Purple Heart Essay Contest Winners

Three Georgetown elementary students were honored this week for their winning essays on the topic, “What a purple heart means to me?” The students were recognized at the Georgetown City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

The Purple Heart essay contest was sponsored by the City of Georgetown and the Texas Capital Chapter 1919 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a Central Texas service organization of Purple Heart veterans.

Purple Heart essay winners-b-1000The award for first place was given to Alejandra Almendarez, a fifth grade student at Gateway College Preparatory School. The second place award was given to Mary Mac Decker, a fourth grade student at Village Elementary School. The third place award was given to Brooklynn Petty, a fourth grade student at Mitchell Elementary. The essay contest was open to all third, fourth, and fifth grade students in the Georgetown area.

Pictured in the photo (left to right) are Ted Acheson with Chapter 1919 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Mary Mac Decker, Brooklynn Petty, and Alejandra Almendarez. (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

In addition to a cash prize, each of the three students received a new bicycle. The new bicycles were provided by an anonymous donor.

The Purple Heart is awarded to any member of the U.S. military who is wounded or killed in combat. Georgetown became the first city in Texas to be officially designated a Purple Heart City when the Georgetown City Council approved a resolution on September 10, 2013.

Court Administrator Wins Statewide Service Award

Susan, Cathy, Randy-b1000The court administrator for the City of Georgetown Municipal Court recently received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Court Clerks Association. Cathy Leloux was recognized for the award at the City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Leloux received the award on October 21 at the annual conference of the association, which provides education and certification for court professionals in Texas.

The Distinguished Service Award is given each year to court professionals in Texas in recognition of a service, program, task, or endeavor that benefits the association membership.

At the TCCA awards presentation, Phyllis Mathison, court administrator for the City of Bastrop Municipal Court, said of Leloux, “She has always stepped up to the plate and would volunteer for the [TCCA] chapter. As chapter president, I want to recognize her for continued support to her court, chapter, and TCCA for all these years and her dedication and commitment to help where she could.”

Leloux has served as the court administrator for the City of Georgetown Municipal Court since 1995.

Pictured in the photo with Cathy Leloux are City of Georgetown Finance Director Susan Morgan and Municipal Court Judge Randy Stump.

City Annual Report Receives Award

annual report 2012-2013 cover-400The first annual report for the City of Georgetown was recently recognized for an award. The report for the 2012 – 2013 fiscal year received the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association, an organization of 18,000 members in the U.S. and Canada.

A panel of independent reviewers found that the 18-page report met the four objectives of the popular annual financial reporting program, including creativity, presentation, understandability, and reader appeal. According to GFOA, the goal of the award program is to encourage financial reports that are “readily accessible and easily understandable to the general public.”

The reviewers specifically highlighted the outstanding photography of Rudy Ximenez featured in the report. Michael Cox did the design and layout for the report.

Copies of the annual report are available at files.georgetown.org/annualreport.

Find out more about the Government Finance Officers Association on their website www.gfoa.org.

Collectible Ornament of Old Williamson County Jail

2014 ornament Old JailA limited-edition collectible brass Christmas ornament featuring the old historic Williamson County Jail goes on sale November 8. The cost of the ornament is $20, tax included. The eighth annual ornament sale is a project of the Georgetown Main Street Program.

The old Williamson County Jail at 312 Main Street was built of native limestone in 1888 at a cost of $22,000. The jail served Williamson County continuously from 1888 until 1990. The French Bastille style was unchanged during remodeling in 1934.

The old jail is used for an annual haunted house event each October to benefit the Williamson County Brown Santa program.

Only 300 of the limited-edition ornaments are available. Payments by cash, check, or credit are accepted.

Ornaments may be purchased at the Visitors Center at 103 E. Seventh Street on the downtown Square or at the Georgetown Art Center at 816 S. Main Street. Ornaments typically sell out each year.

All proceeds from the ornament sale fund the Light Up the Square campaign to add more holiday lighting in downtown Georgetown.

Prop 1 Street Maintenance Sales Tax Election Final Results

Georgetown voters approved Proposition 1 for the street maintenance sales tax with 83 percent supporting the measure according to final results. Prop 1 is for the reauthorization of a dedicated 0.25 percent sales tax for street maintenance in the City of Georgetown.

These are the final unofficial results for Georgetown Prop 1 from Williamson County Elections:



Georgetown voters initially approved the sales tax for street maintenance in 2002 by 57 percent of the vote. The sales tax was reauthorized in 2006 by 72 percent of the vote and in 2010 by 80 percent approval. The sales tax must be reauthorized every four years according to state law.

To see a complete November 4 election results, go to www.wilco.org/elections.

Trail and Chautauqua Park Opening Photos

Mayor Dale Ross, Parks and Recreation Department staff, and other officials cut the ribbon on a new mile-long section of the San Gabriel River Trail on Friday. The event was held at Chautauqua Park, 602 Rucker Street. The new section of the hike and bike trail extends from University Avenue north to Blue Hole Park. The trail parallels Scenic Drive and goes through Chautauqua Park. (Click on photos for larger versions.)

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City officials cut the ribbon on the new section of trail.

Chautauqua pavilion-2-1000

Improvements at Chautauqua Park include a new picnic pavilion.

Chautauqua restroom-2-1000

A new restroom was constructed at Chautauqua Park.

Scenic trail 2a-1000

The concrete trail is eight feet wide and follows Scenic Drive.

Scenic trail overlook-2-1000

The new section of trail includes an overlook near University Avenue.

Wastewater Line Upgrade Methods Reduce Disruption

The City is employing some new methods that will minimize disruptions when replacing underground wastewater lines in neighborhoods. Upgrades of more than 4.5 miles of wastewater lines are planned over the next 10 months.

One replacement method called pipe-bursting uses a boring machine with a 10-inch-diameter drill head that removes old 8-inch clay lines. As the pneumatic boring machine drills out the old pipe it pulls through new polyethylene pipe to replace it. The pipe-bursting method does not require extensive trenching to remove old lines. The work will cause some noise and excavation, but the impact will be much less than full trenching to remove and replace old lines.

A second wastewater line repair method entails even less disruption. The cured-in-place method inserts a cloth tube into the existing line. Hot steam is blown into the cloth tube, inflating it inside the line. The hot steam cures a resin material in the cloth and turns it into a hardened PVC pipe. The cured-in-place repair method uses a manhole to access wastewater lines and requires no excavation.

The pipe replacement work is part of the City’s Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone work to replace aging sewer lines.

Line inspection work prior to repairs started last week in the Oak Crest area along Spring Valley Road, Northcross Road, Southcross Road, and River Road. Line inspections in Old Town along Main Street and College Street are scheduled this week.

Starting late this year and continuing through July 2015, wastewater line repair and replacement work will be scheduled in a number of neighborhoods including Oak Crest, Old Town, Summercrest, San Gabriel Heights, San Jose, River Ridge, Georgetown South Commercial Park, and the North Georgetown Addition.

TLCC Federal Grant to Attract Foreign Companies

The Texas Life-sciences Collaboration Center recently announced a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to assist in the recruitment of foreign companies to Georgetown. The $300,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration, a bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce, will assist TLCC in recruitment of companies from South Korea.

2 TLCC leaders 2b-1000The grant will support a center within the Texas Life-sciences Collaboration Center to facilitate relocation of foreign life science manufacturing companies seeking to expand to Texas, with particular focus on Korean companies.

Services for Korean life sciences companies at the center could include embassy relations, foreign relocation specialists, workforce development assistance, training programs at Texas State Technology College, research assistance, and contract manufacturing organizations.

According to Michael Douglas, executive director of TLCC, the grant is part of a $600,000 project that will create an estimated 500 jobs in the next several years.

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross, Michael Douglas, and Congressman John Carter (pictured above) spoke at the grant announcement event on October 9.

TLCC new building-b-1000The announcement was held in the new TLCC building that is currently under construction. When completed, the new facility will include clean-room manufacturing space for the production of biotech materials, implant devices, pharmaceuticals, and other products.

DisperSol is one TLCC company that plans to expand into the new building. DisperSol has developed technology that allows for the more ready absorption of new drug compounds.

Georgetown Animal Shelter Meets No-Kill Goal in 2014

cat of week 10-11-14-200All across Georgetown, tails are wagging and the sound of purrs is emanating from every quarter, as the Georgetown Animal Shelter achieved a significant benchmark.

The City shelter achieved a live outcome rate of 90 percent for the 2014 fiscal year, which spanned October 1, 2013 to September 30. This means that the shelter met the common standard for no-kill status, which is a euthanasia rate under 10 percent. Animals are euthanized at the shelter only when they are severely sick or injured, or exhibit behavior unsafe to other animals or people.

This is the second time for the shelter to meet the annual no-kill standard. The shelter had a 90 percent live outcome rate in the 2011 calendar year. In the 2013 fiscal year, the live outcome rate was 81 percent, and in fiscal 2012 it was 85 percent.

“I’m so proud of our staff and volunteers who work so hard to find good, appropriate homes for our dogs and cats.  And we are all grateful to the public for adopting,” said Jackie Carey, animal services manager.

Other notable milestones from the year-end report include:

  • A record number of adoptions, with 904 in fiscal year 2014, 871 in fiscal 2013, and 822 in fiscal 2012.
  • A noticeable spike in cat adoptions, with 500 adopted in fiscal 2014, 371 in fiscal 2013, and 412 in fiscal 2012.
  • The highest number of impounded animals ever with 1,863 impounded in fiscal 2014—a 12 percent increase. The number impounded in fiscal 2013 was 1,664 and in fiscal 2012 was 1,671.
  • A near-record number of animals returned to their owners with 426 returned in fiscal 2014, 438 in fiscal 2013 and 318 in fiscal 2012. That is a 34 percent increase from two years ago.

dog of week 10-11-14-200According to Carey, the dramatic increase in animals being returned to their owners is probably a result of increased efforts to track down and work with owners on reclaiming their animals, as well as more animals being microchipped.

In summary, the shelter took in 12 percent more animals than in the previous year, yet both the number of adoptions and the number returned to owners increased, resulting in fewer animals being euthanized.

“This is a huge accomplishment for an open intake municipal shelter,” said Carey. “We are required by law to take in every animal surrendered or picked up at-large within our jurisdiction, even aggressive or sick animals. To accomplish no-kill under those requirements is nothing short of amazing.”

The Georgetown Animal Shelter is located at 110 W.L. Walden Street next to the McMaster Athletic Complex. The shelter website is pets.georgetown.org. Contact the Georgetown Animal Shelter by phone at (512) 930-3592 or by email at animalsvc@georgetown.org.

Business Outreach Effort Teams City and Chamber

Georgetown’s economy is growing with new residential and commercial developments, increasing population, and new businesses. Another factor in Georgetown’s growth that may be less visible, but no less important, is the success of existing businesses. The growth of existing businesses boosts the local economy as they hire more employees, add locations, or invest in facilities.

Understanding the opportunities, issues, and concerns of these businesses is the focus of the City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce as they partner to reach out to local businesses. The City’s Economic Development Department and Chamber leaders are initiating a new outreach effort by contacting and meeting with business leaders from a variety of sectors. Outreach teams include City Economic Development Department staff and volunteers from the business community who have served as past chairs or vice chairs of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Volunteers have completed training in order to participate in the program.

In meeting with local businesses, the teams from the Chamber and Economic Development will be learning about company backgrounds, the impact of workforce availability, market influences, supplier proximity, and local services such as transportation, safety, and utilities. The teams will be using a survey to gather information.

Conchita Gusman, program manager for the City Economic Development Department, says, “The purpose of the effort is not just to complete a survey, but to establish and continue a face-to-face relationship. We want members of our business community to know we appreciate their choice to continue doing business in Georgetown and when they have questions about growing their business, they have access to their business retention team member.”

There are ten teams with two members each slated to conduct one visit per month. The outreach effort is starting this month with the first contacts to businesses and initial meetings.