Experience the Lights

Celebrate this holiday season in Georgetown with twinkling lights, local shopping and dining, and music around the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas.

To keep the community safe, the City is putting a new twist to our traditional Lighting of the Square event. The lights around the Square and County Courthouse will be turned on in mid-November, which the City will capture and share on social media through a video featuring the countdown, lighting, and music. The Square will light up each night through Jan. 2, so visitors can come enjoy the lights and local flavor throughout the holiday season.

Additionally, the weekend after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27-29), the Square will have hot chocolate and kettle corn vendors downtown to help visitors get into the holiday spirit.

“In consultation with medical experts, City Council, City Manager David Morgan, and City staff, our solution is as close to our normal Lighting of the Square as we can get while keeping our community as safe as possible,” Mayor Dale Ross said. “In fact, the additional offerings this year should make the holiday season on the Square one of the best ever. Having a countdown video along with a modified, enhanced, weekend-long celebration gives people options based on their level of comfort. This plan helps spread out the time in which people can experience our beautiful, sparkling, winter wonderland of a Square at this time of year.”

People coming to the Square to enjoy the lights need to comply with existing local and statewide orders, including wearing a mask wherever they are unable to keep six feet of distance from people outside their household.

The lights around the Square are supported by the City of Georgetown, and Williamson County provides the lights on the courthouse.

For details on holiday events and activities in Georgetown, visit VisitGeorgetown.com or call the Georgetown Convention & Visitors Bureau at 512-930-3545.

Georgetown issues local order about outdoor gatherings, special events

OCT. 29, 2020–Outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people and special events are allowed in the city limits of Georgetown, provided attendees and organizers adhere to a local order issued by Mayor Dale Ross. The order is effective immediately and is in response to and in accordance with orders issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.

“We recognize the good people of Georgetown want to get back to some form of normalcy after months of quarantine and closures, and we believe we’ve optimized a way for people to gather while still keeping our community safe and our hospitalizations low,” Mayor Dale Ross said. “The success and longevity of these orders hinge on two very important factors: Compliance and hospitalization rates. I am confident our neighbors will adhere to these safety precautions, which are aimed at minimizing hospitalization rates and ensuring we have an adequate number of hospital beds. Georgetown, like many communities, will continue to monitor and adapt our COVID-19 medical protocols to keep our citizens as safe as possible.”

The order allows outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people in the city limits provided all attendees, including employees and vendors, wear face coverings over their nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of distance from people outside their household.

Events requiring a Special Event Permit now will be required to develop, implement, and post Health and Safety Policies detailing the steps the organizer is taking to reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19. The policy must at least require all attendees, including employees and vendors, to wear face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of distance from people outside their household. Policies also should specify other safety measures, such as taking temperatures or performing health screenings. An example of a health and safety policy is available on the City’s website.

Both outdoor gatherings and special events must comply with other existing orders. This includes Gov. Abbott’s executive orders (GA-29, 30, 32, and any future orders) which speak to occupancy limits and triggers for changing responses based on hospitalizations. It also includes Georgetown’s local order issued July 3, 2020, that requires all people age 10 and older in Georgetown wear face coverings while in public, with some exceptions.

Enforcement 

While the City will prioritize education, both the State and local orders allow for fines to be assessed for violations of gathering orders.

Individuals who believe the orders are being violated by individuals or businesses in Georgetown can report it to the Georgetown Police Department’s non-emergency number: 512-930-3510.

Event organizers found in violation of the order, including failure to post a health and safety policy, may be given a citation and fined up to $1,000 per offense. Individuals found in violation will be given a verbal warning upon first offense and a fine of up to $250 per additional violation.

If an event or business has a customer who is unwilling to abide by the order, the business can ask the individual to leave. If they refuse to leave, the business can call the police department’s non-emergency number and officers will respond. No one can be jailed for violating gathering orders, but if an individual who refuses to comply refuses to leave the premises of the event or business, the individual may be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.

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

Director of Water Utilities Glenn Dishong announces retirement

Georgetown’s Director of Water Utilities Glenn Dishong has announced his retirement from his position effective Dec. 18, 2020.

“Glenn has embodied hard work, optimism, and outstanding problem solving during his career with the City,” City Manager David Morgan said. “He’s been a pillar in the city for nearly two decades. His contributions to this community are countless, and he will be greatly missed.”

Dishong came to the City of Georgetown in 2002 as the water services manager.  In 2010, he became the utility director, with responsibility for utility operations encompassing electric, water, and wastewater services. After a reorganization of the utility in 2019, he became the director of water utilities. He is a 1980 graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering. In addition to being a former U.S. Navy submarine officer, he has more than 30 years of experience in utility operations and management, including both water and electric utilities.

“My 18 years with the City have been the most rewarding of my 40-year career leading and managing people in the business of providing essential utility services, Dishong said. “While I turn loose the responsibility of leading a fabulous group of people, I look forward to keeping the relationships into the future.”

Dishong has been involved in numerous community activities, including service as president of the Texas Municipal Utility Association, as vice president of Georgetown Summer Swim Association, as senior warden of Grace Episcopal Church, and as a member on both the Texas Municipal League and the United Way of Williamson County boards.

While in Georgetown, Dishong and his wife, Nancy, started their family by adopting two children from Russia. With one now married to a Navy medic and the other in college, they look forward to the next phase of their journey, which hopefully includes car and motorcycle restoration and lots of travel.

“His vision and leadership were key to the City’s successful management of growth in the water utility,” Assistant City Manager Laurie Brewer said. “His list of accomplishments is exhaustive, and it includes the acquisition of the Chisholm Trail Special Utility District, implementation of advanced metering infrastructure, and a conservation program for the summer peak water demand.”

The recruitment process for a director of water utilities will begin in November, with the goal of hiring a new director after the first of the year. Director responsibilities will be divided among existing staff until a permanent selection has been made.

Council adopts new rates for water, wastewater, and solid waste

City Council approved new residential water, wastewater, and solid waste rates at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The new water and wastewater rates come after a cost-of-service rate study was completed this summer by consultants NewGen Strategies and Solutions. The study helped determine the rates and rate structure needed to equitably fund the water utility, including all costs associated with operating, maintaining, and expanding the utility.

The new water rates include an increase of $1.50 to the average residential customer’s base rate. The change also includes reducing the number of tiers for the volumetric rate to help meet the council’s conservation goals.

Volumetric rates (per 1,000 gallons)

2019

2020

Gallons Cost Gallons Cost
0-10,000 $1.75 0-7,000 $1.85
10,001-20,000 $2.40 7,001-15,000 $2.75
20,001-40,000 $4 15,001-25,000 $4.80
40,001-60,000 $6.50 25,000 and more $8.40
60,001 and more $8.50

For the average water user using 10,200 gallons per month, the monthly water bill will increase to $46.25 from $40.98.

The council also approved increasing residential wastewater rates, which, for residential customers, will increase to $34.85, up from $32 per month.

The new water and wastewater rates go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

As part of the study, NewGen reviewed the costs associated with operating, maintaining, and expanding a utility and projected those costs over the next five years to determine the revenue required to cover those costs. In addition to expenses, the cost-of-service rate study also evaluated how the different types of customers, such as residential, industrial, and commercial users, used the system to make sure each type of ratepayer is paying their fair share and treated equitably.

The utility reviews its rates and impact fees every three years to ensure the costs to operate the utility are covered by the combination of rates, impact fees, and bond issuance. The last water rate study was completed in 2018. The rate study completed in 2020 was done a year early due to the anticipated need for additional revenue to help fund significant water and wastewater projects that have been accelerated to meet customer demand. Water rates were last adjusted for residential customers in 2014, nonresidential water rates in 2019, and wastewater rates for all customers in 2019.

The new rates will help meet the guidance set by City Council at its Aug. 25 meeting, which includes complying with set policy, making sure revenues are sufficient to cover the cost of operating the utility, encouraging conservation, and making costs of service equitable among customer types.

For more information on the new water/wastewater rates, the 2020 water rate study, and a year-by-year comparison of the new rates, visit gus.georgetown.org/water/2020-water-rate-study-faq.

Council also approved a $1.37 increase to residential customer solid waste rates to help cover an increase in costs from Texas Disposal Systems, the expansion of the Transfer Station, and the City’s household hazardous waste program. The updated solid waste rates go into effect Nov. 1.

Last day of early voting Oct. 30

The last day of early in-person voting for the November election is Friday, Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 3. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through early voting and on Election Day.

Polling places and polling place wait times for the early in-person voting period and on Election Day are listed at wilco.org/elections. Voter ID information can be found at wilco.org/Departments/Elections/Voting-in-Person.

A voter may hand-deliver their own mail ballot to the County Elections office only during business hours with a photo ID. There is no drop box for mail ballots in Williamson County. If you have a mail ballot, but change your mind and want to vote in-person, you can surrender your mail ballot at a polling site and will be given an in-person ballot.

The municipal election for the City of Georgetown includes candidates for mayor and the District 2 and District 6 city council seats.

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.

Proposed Voluntary Annexation of 36.21 Acres

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation of property into the city limits.  A Public Hearing will be held at the December 8, 2020 meeting at 6:00pm. City Council meetings are located at the City Council Chambers, 510 W. 9th Street.

The area being considered for voluntary annexation is an approximately 35.298-acre tract of land out of the F. Hudson Survey, Abstract No. 295, and a 0.902-acre portion of Rabbit Hill Road, a variable width roadway, generally located at 1051 Rabbit Hill Rd.

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

For additional information, please contact Nat Waggoner in the Planning Department, 512-930-3584 or email at nat.waggoner@georgetown.org.

For a location map, click here to view a .pdf

Mail ballot request deadline Oct. 23

The deadline to request a mail ballot is Friday, Oct. 23. The form must be received at the County Elections office by 5 p.m. that day.

According to state law for the Nov. 3 election, a voter may hand-deliver their own mail ballot to the County Elections office only during business hours with a photo ID. There is no drop box for mail ballots in Williamson County.

If you have a mail ballot, but change your mind and want to vote in-person, you can surrender your mail ballot at a polling site and will be given an in-person ballot.

Early in-person voting for the November election continues through Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 3.

Polling places, dates, times, and polling place wait times for the early in-person voting period and on Election Day are listed at wilco.org/elections.

The municipal election on Nov. 3 for the City of Georgetown includes candidates for mayor and the District 2 and District 6 city council seats.

I-35 mainlanes to close overnight for bridge beam work

The I-35 mainlanes north of Williams Drive in Georgetown will close nightly Oct. 19-20 to allow crews to set bridge beams for the Northwest Boulevard bridge. All work is weather permitting.

Starting at 10 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 19, one northbound I-35 mainlane and the Williams Drive entrance ramp will close to traffic. As beams are being placed, all northbound  mainlanes will close to traffic for 20-minute intervals. Work is expected to be complete by 5 a.m.

At 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20, the southbound I-35 mainlanes will close, and all traffic will detour to the southbound I-35 frontage road at the Williams Drive exit. Southbound I-35 will reopen to traffic by 5 a.m.

On Wednesday night, Oct. 21, between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., the I-35 southbound frontage road will close intermittently to allow for beam placements.

Road signs have been placed to alert drivers of the closures. Please use extra caution when traveling through the area.

The Northwest Boulevard bridge will be a new east-west connection spanning I-35 and an alternative to Williams Drive. The project connects Rivery Boulevard to the west and FM 971 to the east and is scheduled to be complete in early 2021.

City to host household hazardous waste collection event Oct. 21

The City will host a household hazardous waste collection event from 3-6 p.m. Oct. 21 at the old show barn in San Gabriel Park, 425 E. Morrow St.

The collection event will be open for Georgetown solid waste customers. To participate, residents must show a current utility bill along with an ID with a matching address.

Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, 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 its 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 four-foot fluorescent, curly, regular)
  • Grease
  • Thermometers
  • Over the counter, home 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)
  • Clothing and household items for nonprofits Goodwill and Josco
  • Over the counter one-pound disposal propane bottles
  • Gasoline (up to five gallons per vehicle)

Unacceptable items include:

  • Unmarked containers or unknown chemicals
  • No 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

For more information, visit recycle.georgetown.org.