Citizen Police Academy fall session begins Aug. 24

The Citizen Police Academy is a 10-week course to educate citizens about all aspects of the Georgetown Police Department. The fall 2017 academy, which begins Aug. 24, is instructed by police officers from various divisions of the police department. The deadline to apply is Aug. 14.

Session topics include the history of policing, laws and code of criminal procedure, criminal and accident investigations, lethal and less-lethal weapons, crime scene investigations, officer safety, the court system, fire department response, and other community support services.

Weekly classes begin on Thursday, Aug. 24, and finish with a graduation ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 26.  Each class starts promptly at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. Most classes will be held in the training room of the Public Safety Operations and Training Center, 3500 D.B. Wood Road.

There is no charge to attend the academy, but seating is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications are available at the Georgetown Police Department reception desk or by emailing a request to randy.mcdonald@georgetown.org.

A background check will be conducted on all applicants. No one under the age of 18 is eligible to apply. Persons with a prior felony conviction will not be accepted.  Unless otherwise requested, applicants will be notified of acceptance through the email address listed on the application. For additional information or questions, please call (512) 930-8457.

Budget for 2018 builds for the future

New roads and capacity for a growing city are among key items in the proposed City budget for the 2018 fiscal year, presented yesterday to the City Council by City Manager David Morgan. The budget supports City services, builds infrastructure for the future, and provides competitive compensation for employees, while lowering the tax rate and slowing the impact of future tax rate increases from bond projects.

The proposed property tax rate is 42 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which is 0.4 cents lower than the current rate of 42.4 cents. The average homestead property in Georgetown has increased in market value by 5 percent, up from $253,320 in FY2017 to $266,598 in FY2018. Due to higher assessed values, it is anticipated the average home in Georgetown will pay $47 more in property tax in the upcoming year.

The value received for those tax dollars includes funding for major transportation projects like Rivery Boulevard extension, Northwest Boulevard Bridge and FM 971 alignment, and the completion of the FM 1460 project. The first year of the GoGeo fixed-route bus service also is included, as well as a Bike Master Plan.

Public safety investments include the design and construction of Fire Station 6 and the design of Fire Station 7, as well as the addition of two police patrol officers and one school resource officer.

Parks and recreation enhancements include funding for operations of Garey Park (shown above) and the next phase of renovations to San Gabriel Park. Resources for planning, permitting, and engineering to aid in the City’s high growth development period also are funded.

Water and electric rates are proposed to stay the same. Utility revenues will fund projects converting residences to automatic meter reading, the expansion of the Lake Water Treatment Plant, the construction of an elevated storage tank in the Western District, and electric infrastructure for new development. Georgetown Utility Systems will add one position to allow the Customer Care office to service customers for an additional hour.

Additionally, the City plans to retire some debt early, resulting in both interest rate savings and lessening the impact of the tax rate for the remainder of the voter-approved parks and transportation bonds. Over the past three years, the City has worked diligently to turn around the financial operation of the Airport. The proposed budget includes the ability to cash fund some capital projects at the Airport and establishes a contingency reserve.

The total operating and capital budget is $337 million, including an additional 19 new full-time and 4 part-time positions and performance-based merit increases for employees. The proposed budget is available at finance.georgetown.org.

Public hearings on the budget and property tax rate will be held August 8 and August 15. Council votes to adopt the budget on August 22 and September 12.

City Receives Recognition for Transparency from Texas Comptroller

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced the City of Georgetown is the latest local government entity to achieve specific transparency goals through the Comptroller’s Transparency Stars program. Georgetown received a star in the area of Traditional Finances, which recognizes entities for their outstanding efforts in making their spending and revenue information available.

“By providing meaningful financial data in addition to visual tools and analysis of its revenues and expenditures, Georgetown has shown a true commitment to Texas taxpayers. This effort achieves the goals set by my office’s Transparency Stars program,” Hegar said. “I am pleased to award Georgetown a star for its accomplishments.”

Transparency Stars recognizes local government entities that provide easy online access to important financial data. Georgetown is one of 105 entities and one of 43 cities who have completed the requirements.

Georgetown’s financial transparency website is finance.georgetown.org/financial-transparency. The site features access to financial reports, graphs of financial information, and downloadable data on the budget and check register.

City Manager David Morgan said, “We’re pleased to be recognized and it reinforces our commitment to transparency in order to encourage our residents to be informed about the financial stability of the city.”

The Comptroller’s office launched the Transparency Stars program in March 2016 to recognize cities, counties and school districts making important strides to greater government transparency. Local government entities can apply for stars in the areas of traditional finances, contracts and procurement, economic development, public pensions, and debt obligations.

After receiving an initial star for Traditional Finances, remaining stars may be awarded in any order. For more information on the program, including specific guidelines and information on how to apply, visit the Comptroller’s Transparency Stars website.

Low cost vaccine clinic for pets

Nala, who was vaccinated before posing in bluebonnets

The Georgetown Animal Shelter will conduct a low-cost vaccination clinic on Saturday, July 29, 8:30-11 a.m.  The walk-in clinic is for cats and dogs. Help protect your pet from diseases they can pick up outside. The clinic is open to all, whether you live in Georgetown or not.

Pets may also get a free microchip with the purchase of any vaccine. No appointments. Cash or check only. The shelter is located at 110 W.L. Walden Drive, Georgetown, next to the McMaster Athletic Fields.

Dog Vaccines:
Rabies $5
DHPP Combo $10 (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parafluenza, Parvo)
Bordetella $5 (Kennel cough)

Cat Vaccines:
Rabies $5
FVRCP Combo $10 (Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia)

All dogs must be on a leash and cats should be in a carrier.  Payment is by cash or check only. (Debit or credit cards not accepted.)

The shelter has committed to offer several more low-cost clinics this fiscal year. The dates of the next clinics are:

  • Saturday, September 23, 2017

For more information, contact the shelter at (512) 930-3592 or by email at animalsvc@georgetown.org. The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter website is pets.georgetown.org.

CARTS service to transition to GoGeo bus service in August

The City of Georgetown is launching its first fixed-route bus system this August, which means some changes for the City’s current on-demand bus riders.

The GoGeo fixed-route bus and American’s with Disabilities Act paratransit service will hit the streets Aug. 21 with four routes meeting at a transit hub at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St. The service will operate Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. within the service area.

If you are currently riding the curb-to-curb service you will need to fill out an ADA Eligibility application to qualify to ride the new ADA paratransit service and qualify for reduced rate fares on the fixed-route system. A draft ADA plan and application for the paratransit service is available online at gogeo.georgetown.org/accessibility.

If you do not qualify for paratransit service, contact the Office of Mobility Management, OMM, at mytxride.com or call (512) 369-6047 to get more information about transportation services in the area.

For additional information and to learn about this new service, visit gogeo.georgetown.org.

Georgetown receives 2017 National Main Street accreditation

The City of Georgetown’s Main Street Program has been designated as an accredited Main Street America program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center.

Each year, the National Main Street Center and its coordinating program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.

“Thanks to our incredibly dedicated board, volunteers and staff, we are pleased to have earned accreditation once again from the National Main Street Center,” Downtown Development Manager Kim Mcauliffe said.

The Georgetown Main Street Program is a preservation-driven, economic development organization. In just the past 10 years, Georgetown has seen a total reinvestment of $53.5 million in private and public projects, which has resulted in a net gain of 40 businesses and 320 new jobs created in the community.

“Main Streets are the heart of our communities, and the work they do to create quality public spaces, catalyze local entrepreneurship, and support downtown housing is more important than ever. Across the county, Main Street America programs truly strengthen the economic, social, and cultural fabric of their entire communities,” said Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center.

Evaluation criteria determine the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

Parks and Recreation Department awarded $200,000 trail grant

The City of Georgetown was awarded a $200,000 trail grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in early June.

This grant will help fund a nearly half-mile concrete trail expansion from San Gabriel Park along the San Gabriel River to the Katy Crossing subdivision. The project will also include bridges, fencing, signage and a drinking fountain.

Design of the trail will coincide with Phase 2 of San Gabriel Park improvements, which is underway. Construction is expected to start in spring 2018.

The grant is a part of a $3.46 million grant program to help enhance 22 motorized and non-motorized recreational trail-related projects throughout the state, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Sculpture exhibit at Library opens June 25

The Texas Society of Sculptors opens their 10th annual summer show on June 25 in the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St. The exhibit, hosted by the Library with sponsorship from the City of Georgetown Arts and Culture Board, showcases 85 works of art by 34 artists.

The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 22. Most of the pieces in the exhibit are available for purchase.

This year a new award will be added: the People’s Choice award will be given based on votes by Library visitors. Ask a library staff member for a ballot, and vote for your favorite pieces. The winning sculptor will receive a cash prize.

The public is invited to an artists’ reception for the exhibit on Sunday, July 16, at 1 p.m. on the second floor of the Library. Mari Ramirez, president of Georgetown Art Works, will jury the awards for the exhibit. Music begins downstairs at 2 p.m. with performers from Austin Opera’s upcoming season.

A sculpture demonstration will take place in the lobby of the Library on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. Several of this year’s featured sculptors will demonstrate their techniques and processes in clay, bronze, wood, metal, and stone.

One of this year’s exhibit pieces, Library Girl, was begun as a demonstration piece at last year’s sculpture demonstration.

Two sculpture pieces in the show are pictured: Psychobilly Hell Bass by John Mark Luke (left) and Library Girl by Vera Smiley (above right).

2016 Annual Report now available

An annual report for the City of Georgetown for the 2016 fiscal year is now available online and in print copies. The report, titled America’s Fastest Growing City, highlights projects, initiatives, and financial information for the 2015-16 fiscal year that started on October 1, 2015, and ended on September 30, 2016.

The report highlights projects and initiatives related to the City’s growth, responding to growth, preserving what makes Georgetown special and preparing for the future. A financial section includes details on revenues, expenses, assets, assessed valuation, and taxes.

The annual report is available online at files.georgetown.org/annualreport. The document was designed by Presley Design Studio and features photographs by Rudy Ximenez and City staff.

A limited number of free printed copies of the annual report are available at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St. Pick up a copy near the book drop in the lobby or at the Reference Desk on the second floor.

The annual report provides a brief overview of the 2016 fiscal year with key financial information. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which is a much longer report for the 2016 fiscal year, is available online at finance.georgetown.org. Click the green box for “Annual Budget/Publications.”

Georgetown wins 2017 Workforce Excellence Award

The Georgetown Workforce Development Alliance, which includes the City of Georgetown, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, and Georgetown Independent School District, was awarded the Texas Economic Development Council’s 2017 Workforce Excellence Award for population 40,001 to 100,000 today.

The alliance is a collaborative community effort to align quality education with workforce development needs and was started as the Education Committee of the Chamber, which has its roots in the GTSet4Success; Aligning Education and Economic Development initiative, which began in 2009.

“We are excited that the hard work the Workforce Development Alliance has put into our community is being recognized at a state level,” Georgetown Economic Development Director Michaela Dollar said. “This collaborative group is an extraordinary asset to have in Georgetown as we grow and develop the city. It is also a testament to the cooperative business environment that makes us so unique.”

The WDA’s efforts in 2016 resulted in programs such as the Georgetown Career Fair and the first Manufacturing Day. The career fair was hosted for GISD juniors and seniors and included job openings with local employers as well as sessions on interviewing skills and resume writing. Manufacturing Day included several local manufacturers hosting more than 60 high school students to spur interest for future training and employment opportunities.

“The WDA is invested in addressing the workforce needs of our growing City and implementing successful workforce initiatives to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our community,” Chamber President Karen Sheldon said.

The Workforce Excellence Award program recognizes exceptional contributions by a Texas community or region that has implemented successful workforce initiatives. Nominees were judged on five criteria: innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, measured objectives, and secondary benefits.

“Our TEDC’s Workforce Excellence Award is one of the ways in which our organization honors the outstanding work done by our communities and regions, their leaders, and their economic development professionals in the area of workforce development,” TEDC President/CEO Carlton Schwab said.