City adjusts customer energy charge

The City of Georgetown will increase the power cost adjustment, or PCA, on customers’ electric bills starting Feb. 1. The PCA allows the City to recover costs associated with purchasing energy.

Customers will incur an increase of $0.0135 per kilowatt hour, resulting in a new PCA of $0.0175 per kilowatt hour through September. The average customer uses 949 kilowatt hours per month and will experience a $12.82 increase on their monthly bill.

Over the past few years, the energy market in Texas experienced a fundamental change. Forecasts provided by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the State’s energy grid operator, have proven to be unreliable. What were perceived as anomalies in 2016 and 2017, such as reduced consumption, unpredictable pricing, and unusually cold weather, masked the true impact of a depressed global energy market. The effect of depressed energy prices became abundantly obvious in 2018.

In 2016, 2017, and 2018, the City addressed these ongoing challenges with one-time solutions, including adjusting how the City financed electric infrastructure projects, such as cash versus debt financing, adjusting the timing of projects, increasing the PCA on electric bills, and completing a rate study. All these efforts were intended to resolve what was previously perceived as one-time problems.

This year, recognizing a fundamental shift has occurred in the energy market, the priority for the City is to change the on-going financial obligations of the electric fund. This could involve reducing the energy Georgetown is obligated to purchase, selling a portion of the energy to a third-party, adjusting the terms of some of the financial obligations, or some combination of all these efforts. The City is also exploring options to better manage the energy portfolio day-to-day.

The current challenge is not related to renewable energy sources. While the City has received national recognition for its move to renewable energy, it was originally a decision driven by economic considerations to stabilize long-term power rates through fixed-price contracts while reducing any regulatory risks associated with fossil fuels.

The City executed its current energy contracts based on a 20-year forecast of continued City growth. Like most city-owned utilities, Georgetown contracted for more energy than it currently needs. Georgetown continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in Texas, and the City must be ready to serve demand from consumers and businesses. The crux of the current challenge hinges on the large amount of energy the City must sell on the market that is not currently consumed in Georgetown.

The PCA is one tool to ensure the financial stability of the electric fund as the City works to address its current financial arrangements.

For more information, please review the FAQ on the City’s energy contracts at gus.georgetown.org/faq-georgetown-energy-contracts.

City staff moves to new City Hall building Jan. 22-25

The City of Georgetown will move into the new City Hall at 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St. starting Jan. 22.

The City’s Human Resources Department will move Jan. 22, with the City Manager and City Secretary offices and Finance Department moving Jan. 23-24. Additional departments, including communications and economic development, will move into the building on Jan. 25.

City Hall will be closed Jan. 23-24 during the transition and will reopen Jan. 25 in the new facility.

A grand opening celebration with a ribbon cutting and tours of the new facility is being planned and will be announced at a later date.

The old City Hall, located in the historic Post Office at 113 E. Eighth St. will be redeveloped as a ballroom, restaurant, and bar.

Candidate filing period for May election begins today

The filing period for candidates who wish to run for a seat on the Georgetown City Council begins today, Jan. 16. The places for Districts 3, 4 and 7 will be on the ballot for the election this spring.

Steve Fought is the current council member for District 3, John Hesser for District 4 and Tommy Gonzalez for District 7.

The filing period ends Feb. 15. Completed applications for candidacy should be submitted at City Hall, 113 E. Eighth Street, through Jan. 22 and at 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St. after Jan. 25. (City Offices are moving to the new City Center and will not be open Jan. 23-24).

To see maps of council districts, go to maps.georgetown.org/council-district-maps.

Georgetown City Council members serve three-year terms representing one of seven single-member districts. A candidate for city council must be 21 years of age and a citizen and qualified voter of the state of Texas and the City of Georgetown. Candidates for council district seats must be a resident of the council district the member would be representing for a period of twelve months as of the last legal date for filing.

The last day to register to vote in the May election is April 4.

Early in-person voting is April 22-30. In the early voting period, voters may cast ballots at any early voting location in Williamson County.

On Election Day on May 4, 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, contact Robyn Densmore, city secretary for the City of Georgetown, at Robyn.Densmore@georgetown.org or (512) 930-3652.

GoGeo passengers can now pay fares with Hopthru app

GoGeo riders can now use smart devices to purchase bus passes. Using the Hopthru app, riders are able to purchase passes anytime, anywhere and present them while boarding. Riders may purchase passes with their credit card, debit card or commuter benefits card and store them until they are ready to ride.

Riders can download from the app store or receive a link to download the app by texting “hopthru” to 43506. After signing up, riders will be prompted to select the transit agency, rider type and ticket type, then complete the purchase. Once a rider is ready to board, they can activate their pass and then present it to the operator while boarding. Purchased passes can be activated at any time with or without an internet connection.

For more information, visit RideCARTS.com, email info@RideCARTS.com or call at (512) 478-RIDE (7433).

Low-water crossings closed along Randy Morrow Trail

Updated: The trail crossing locations have been updated.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Lake Georgetown Dam is increasing the amount of water released into the San Gabriel River today.

A release rate more than approximately 2,000 cubic feet per second will close the low-water crossings along the North Fork of the San Gabriel River on the Randy Morrow Trail, including the crossings at River Road near Booty’s Road Park, the crossing under the I-35 bridge, Fly Fishers bridge between Rivery Boulevard and Chandler Park, and the Country Club bridge at Chandler Park. Please do not attempt to cross any part of the trail that water is flowing over, and obey any barricades that may be present.

Visit the Lake Georgetown website at www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/georgetown to see the current release rate and check ATXFloods.com for the status of road closures at low-water crossings in Central Texas.

Cupid’s Chase 5K and Fun Run on Feb. 2

Register now for the 24th annual Cupid’s Chase 5K and Fun Run on Saturday, Feb. 2. The chip-timed 5K run/walk begins at 8 a.m. in downtown Georgetown at Seventh and Main streets and ends at the Bark Park on Holly Street. (A shuttle will take you back to the starting line). To register online or for details, go to cupid.georgetown.org.

Through Feb. 1, the registration cost is $22 per person for all age groups and $25 on race day.

The Kids Fun Run for children age 8 and younger starts at 7:30 a.m. The course is a loop around the Courthouse. Registration is $10 before Feb. 1 and $15 on race day.

Participants receive a Cupid’s Chase T-shirt, while supplies last. T-shirts are not guaranteed if you register on race day. Cupid costumes are encouraged. Strollers and dogs on a non-retractable leash are always welcome on the Cupid’s Chase course.

Awards will be presented to the top overall male and female winners and the overall male and female masters winners as well as the top three male and female finishers in each age division. Awards also will be presented to the top overall male and female City of Georgetown employee.

Race results will be posted after the race at cupid.georgetown.org.

In case of bad weather on race day, check facebook.com/GTXParksandRec, and parks.georgetown.org for updates. There are no refunds or transfers for participants.

Cupid’s Chase is sponsored by Georgetown Parks and Recreation. Event proceeds help fund projects at Georgetown parks. To register online or for details, go to cupid.georgetown.org.

 

Shelter maintains no-kill status

For the fourth year in a row, the Georgetown Animal Shelter has achieved a live outcome rate above 90 percent, which means it is considered a no-kill shelter. The save rate was 94 percent for the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30.

The live outcome rate is notable for an open-admission public shelter. Factors in the 94 percent live outcome rate include a high rate of animal adoptions, the number of animals returned to owners, and the cleanliness of the shelter which results in healthy animals.

Other notable milestones for the 2018 fiscal year include:

  • A record 29 percent of animals returned to their owners, including 384 dogs and 64 cats
  • 888 animals, or 57 percent of all impounded animals, adopted or transferred to rescue groups
  • 648 cats and dogs vaccinated at low-cost vaccine clinics
  • 113 cats spayed or neutered at the free spay/neuter clinics for cats and the animal shelter’s public assistance program
  • 213 volunteers recorded 7,036 volunteer hours

The Georgetown Animal Shelter is located at 110 W.L. Walden Drive.

Contact the shelter at (512) 930-3592, animalsvc@georgetown.org or online at pets.georgetown.org.

Georgetown Parks and Recreation hosts Fitness Fusion event

The City of Georgetown Parks and Recreation Department is hosting Fitness Fusion at the Georgetown Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Ave., from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 5.

The event is open to the public and features 14 fitness classes, such as yoga, Zumba, cycling, and Silver Sneakers classes. The goal of the event is to showcase the variety of fitness programs available at the recreation center that accommodate all ages and fitness levels.

During the event, fitness instructors will host 20-minute sample classes in three different locations within the recreation center. Guests can participate in as many classes as they would like.

The event is free for Georgetown Recreation Center members and $5 for nonmembers.

For more information, visit parks.georgetown.org/fitness-fusion.

Airport Road ribbon cutting Jan. 4

The City of Georgetown will hold a ribbon cutting for the Airport Road widening project Friday, Jan. 4. The event is at 9:30 a.m. on Airport Road at Aviation Drive.

The newly expanded segment of Airport Road extends north from Lakeway Drive to Aviation Drive. The expansion creates two northbound lanes, two southbound lanes, and a center turn lane, as well as a new traffic signal to improve traffic flow and facilitate development in the area. This project represents part of the City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation’s partnership in the Holt Cat construction equipment dealership and service center.

The construction cost for the roadway project is $2.4 million. KPA is the design engineer on the project, and Patin Construction LLC is the contractor.

Ribbon cutting location:

The Airport Road ribbon cutting will be held on the east side of Airport Road at Aviation Drive.

Household hazardous waste vendor discontinues service Dec. 22

City to hold collection events in 2019, alternate collection centers available to Georgetown residents

Update, Dec. 20: The City’s current household hazardous waste program will be discontinued at 12:00 noon on Saturday, Dec. 22. PA-jer, the operator of the Williamson County Recycle Center, will cease collecting household hazardous waste at that time. The City was alerted to this updated change in service on Dec. 19. Customers are able to use the current household hazardous waste vouchers through Dec. 22 at 12:00 noon.

***

The City’s current household hazardous waste program will be discontinued on Dec. 31. PA-jer, the company the City uses for this service, will cease collecting household hazardous waste at the end of this year. The City was alerted to this change in service on Dec. 13.

Customers are still able to use the current household hazardous waste vouchers through Dec. 31. The Williamson County Recycle Center will remain open to the general public in December on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. The Williamson County Recycle Center is at 495 CR 156, which is northeast of Georgetown on FM 971.

To secure a household hazardous waste voucher, visit recycle.georgetown.org/household-hazardous-waste.

Other options

The City is working on a new household hazardous waste program to replace the current one. During this interim period, customers can take their household hazardous waste to the City of Austin’s Reuse and Recycle Drop-Off Center. The Center is located at 2514 Business Center Dr., Austin, TX 78744. Their phone number is 512-974-4343.

The Hutto Recycling Center will accept paint and automobile oil from Williamson County residents. The facility is located at 600 Landfill Road, Hutto, Texas 78634. Their phone number is 512-759-8881.

Additionally, the City will host household hazardous waste collection events in 2019. The new household hazardous waste program details will be shared in January.

What is household hazardous waste?

Household hazardous waste products should never be poured out on the ground, down the drain, or thrown out with regular household garbage. Improper disposal can contaminate groundwater and drinking water. It can also injure those who come into contact with the waste

Many common products used in the home and garden are considered household hazardous waste. These items should not be placed in residential trash collection carts or placed at the curb for pickup.

Household hazardous waste products are often labeled with words such as caution, toxic, poison, corrosive, or danger. Examples include:

  • Aerosol spray cans
  • Antifreeze
  • Art and hobby chemicals
  • Automotive products
  • Fluorescent lights (tubes or CFLs)
  • Household cleaners and disinfectants
  • Mercury (from thermometers, thermostats)
  • Motor oil or transmission fluid
  • Paints and stains, especially oil-based
  • Pesticides and poisons
  • Pool and spa chemicals
  • Thinners and solvents
  • Vehicle batteries (wet cell)

Each year, the City of Georgetown collects about 75,000 pounds of household hazardous waste.