Transportation Bond Approved, Gipson Wins District 5

Georgetown voters have approved the transportation bonds on the May 9 ballot.  These are the unofficial final results for the transportation bond election from Williamson County Elections:

Votes:Percent:
For: 2,281 75.18%
Against: 753 24.82%

These are the unofficial final results in the District 5 City Council election from Williamson County Elections:

Votes:Percent:
Ty Gipson 456 68.67%
Paul Nadeau 208 31.33%

To see a complete May 9, 2015 election results, go to www.wilco.org/elections.

Sidewalk Rules Aim to Ensure Accessibility

A City ordinance defining accessibility standards for sidewalks in Georgetown went into effect this month. The new rules aim to ensure ADA-compliant walkways, especially around the Square, in areas where tables, merchandise, and other items are placed on sidewalks.

The new rules require a path that is three feet wide without obstructions on sidewalks. Tables, chairs, planters, signs, merchandise, or other items should be placed so as not to obstruct a path that is three feet wide for pedestrians, wheel-chair users, or others.

The new rules, which went into effect on April 8, apply to all sidewalks in the city, including those in the downtown area.

Other new rules require City approval for signs, artwork, promotional items, or publication boxes on the sidewalk. Outdoor displays of merchandise are allowed only during regular business hours in the Downtown Overlay District. Permanent displays are not permitted. City landscape features or planters may not be used for display or promotion, such as lighting or signs placed by businesses.

Within the nine-block area around the Courthouse in the Downtown Overlay District, smoking is prohibited within 10 feet of any public entrance.

City Annual Report for 2014 Available

Georgetown_AnnualReport_13-14 cover-450An annual report for the City of Georgetown for the 2014 fiscal year is now available online and in print copies. The report, titled Shaping Our Future, highlights projects, initiatives, and financial information for the 2013 – 2014 fiscal year that started on October 1, 2013 and ended on September 30, 2014.

The report includes profiles of five focus areas, including economic development, public safety, signature destination, transportation, and utilities. A financial section includes details on revenues, expenses, assets, assessed valuation, and taxes.

The report is available online at files.georgetown.org/annualreport. The report was designed by Steve Bracamontez and Samantha Smith with photography by Rudy Ximenez.

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

The report provides a brief overview taken from the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which is a much longer fiscal report. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is available online at files.georgetown.org/comprehensive-annual-financial-report.

Classical Guitarist Peter Fletcher Performs May 17

PETER FLETCHER 6687 8X10 croppedClassical guitarist Peter Fletcher plays next in the Georgetown Public Library’s popular “Live Music at the Library” series. He will perform on Sunday, May 17, at 2 p.m. in the library lobby.

This concert is part of a nationwide tour to promote Fletcher’s new Edvard Grieg CD, released in 2014 on Centaur Records.

Fletcher will perform selections from this new CD, an all-Grieg album for which he wrote the guitar transcriptions. CDs will be available at the concert. He performed this same concert at Carnegie Hall in April.

Other works on the program will include Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s DesiringCourante from the Third Cello Suite, and Prelude in C minor and Fugue in G minor, BWV 999 and 1000.

Fletcher will also perform music from Michael Praetorius’ Terpsichore; Prelude No. 1 by Villa-Lobos; a Fandango by Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo, and two Catalonian folk songs arranged for guitar by Miguel Llobet.

In addition he will perform a very special version of the traditional Shaker Hymn Simple Gifts, transcribed by John and B.J. Sutherland. The last half of this guitar setting modulates down a step to C major. To accommodate this key change, the bass string of the instrument must be tuned down one whole step in performance, producing a sound reminiscent of a country fiddler.

The final work on the program will feature Fletcher’s transcription of Paganini’s dazzling Caprice no. 24.

For more information about Peter Fletcher, visit peterfletcher.com.

Free and open to the public, this performance is a gift of the Friends of the Georgetown Public Library. Peter Fletcher’s tour is conducted under the auspices of Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists. Come and go, or have a seat in the library lobby and enjoy the concert. For more information, contact Dana Hendrix, GPL Fine Arts Librarian, at (512) 930-3624.

The Georgetown Public Library is located at 402 W. Eighth Street in Georgetown.

Aquatics Lifeguard Training Program Receives Award

Aquatics Garrett Darimont-b800The aquatics program for Georgetown Parks and Recreation recently received top honors for its lifeguard training program. The program won Aquatics International Best of Aquatics for Lifeguard Training at the Association of Aquatics Professionals annual conference in February.

Stephanie Darimont, aquatics supervisor for Parks and Recreation, received the award for Georgetown at the conference. The award recognized Georgetown’s program for “imagination, expertise, dedication, and forward-thinking.” Aquatics professionals from across the country and from other countries attended the conference.

As a result of the award, Georgetown’s aquatics program was featured in Aquatics International magazine, a trade publication with more than 90,000 subscribers.

Last year, two lifeguard teams from Georgetown placed first and second in the state lifeguard competition at the 2014 Summer Games of Texas. A third lifeguard team from Georgetown qualified for the state competition.

Pictured in the photo (left to right) are Kimberly Garrett, parks and recreation director, and Stephanie Darimont, aquatics supervisor.

2015 Art for Animals: May 9

logoTickets are now available for the 2015 Art for Animals auction, to be held Saturday, May 9, 2015, 4;00-7:00 p.m., at the Georgetown Community Center, located at 445 E. Morrow St. in San Gabriel Park.  At Art for Animals, guests will enjoy art, wine or coffee, and chocolate desserts—the perfect combination for animal lovers!

The fundraiser is sponsored by the Friends of the Georgetown Animal Shelter and is their biggest fundraiser.

Tickets are $10 per person (or $12 at the door), which includes light appetizers, chocolate desserts, and beverages. Wine tickets will be sold for $5 per glass.

This year there will be a silent auction and raffle, but no live auction. Themed gift baskets (e.g., golf outing, spa weekend) will be raffled at the event. For $10, each attendee will receive 25 raffle tickets that can be apportioned to the available gift baskets as desired. Drawing winners for the gift baskets will take place at 6:30, and the drawing for a $250 gift to Walmart will be at 6:45.

Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Center, 103 W. Seventh Street; Georgetown Animal Shelter, 110 W.L. Walden Drive; or Framers Gallery, 610 S. Main Street. The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter is located at 110 W.L. Walden Drive next to the McMaster Athletic Complex. 

Floyd shows off his still life
Floyd shows off his still life

  “The proceeds from Art for Animals have a huge positive impact on the   animals at the shelter.  We were recently able to upgrade our adoption trailer to better showcase the dogs and increase their chances of finding forever families. The Friends is able to provide equipment and services to the shelter to improve the lives of the animals while they are there, and to help animals throughout the community,” said Christy Hullum, last year’s president of the Friends group.

Donations of framed artwork and hand-crafted items, such as pottery,  jewelry, and glass work, will be accepted through April 17. Other donations being accepted for the auction include gift baskets, travel packages, and other unique items. Paintings made by the animals at the shelter also will be auctioned.  Donors will receive two tickets to the event.

To make a donation for the auction, contact the animal shelter at (512)930-3592. Donations may be taken to the Georgetown Animal Shelter at 110 W.L. Walden Drive. The shelter website is pets.georgetown.org.

Fire Department Plans for Upgraded EMS and Transport

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a plan for the Georgetown Fire Department to upgrade their capacity to provide advanced life support and conduct EMS transport. Starting on October 1, the Fire Department will become the primary EMS provider in Georgetown and in the Emergency Services District covered by the department.

According to the plan, the Fire Department will hire six additional positions later this year. The Fire Department hired 12 paramedics in February, including those with experience from cities in Texas and other states. By October 1, the Fire Department plans to have 32 paramedics on staff.

The department also will purchase two more Transitional Response Vehicles in addition to the two TRVs delivered last month for a total of four TRVs.  These dual-purpose vehicles carry equipment for fire and rescue response as well as EMS equipment for medical calls and transport of patients. In addition, Georgetown will transition its fire engines to be fully advanced life support vehicles with capability and function similar to a rolling emergency room.

In addition, emergency dispatch for fire, police, and EMS in the Georgetown area will be through the City of Georgetown 911 center. Providing emergency dispatch for EMS calls will reduce delays and call transfers and improve operational efficiency.

Changes for EMS in Georgetown are the result of two years of discussions between the City and Williamson County. The City of Georgetown initially proposed an integrated response in which the Georgetown Fire Department and Williamson County EMS shared 911 medical calls in the area. However, the City and County could not come to an agreement on such an integrated response.

“As we do every day, we will continue to work cooperatively with Williamson County,” says Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan. “For fire or medical calls to 911 in the Georgetown area, 75 percent are medical. The percentage of medical calls is even higher in areas like Sun City. This transition to an enhanced EMS response for Georgetown makes sense in providing the best emergency care for our residents. Additional paramedics and TRVs will enable a faster medical response with more responders that have a higher level of medical training than the current system.”

Georgetown has an aging population that is unique to Williamson County and Central Texas. Nearly 30 percent of the population is older than 60 years of age and the demand for pre-hospital medical services is expected to grow in the future.

David Morgan Selected as City Manager for Georgetown

David Morgan from Richardson was selected by the City Council to serve as the next city manager for the City of Georgetown. Morgan attended the regular meeting this evening at which the City Council cast a unanimous vote to hire him.

David Morgan 1b175“We ultimately selected David from a strong pool of highly-qualified candidates,” said Mayor Dale Ross. “David is an accomplished professional and dynamic leader who will embrace the community and provide a strong vision as we continue to grow. I am confident he will be a valuable asset to the city.”

Morgan was one of four finalists chosen for the position following an extensive national search including 71 applications from candidates in 25 states. A two-day comprehensive interview process took place on March 13 and 14 including panel interviews with community members, department heads, and City Council members. Strategic Government Resources was hired by the City to conduct the recruitment and interview process.

“I am excited about the opportunity to serve the citizens of Georgetown,” said Morgan. “It is an honor to be selected for this position. Georgetown has a rich heritage and distinguishing character that makes the community a special place. I am committed to preserving Georgetown’s unique identity while also promoting quality development positioning the City for long-term success.”

Morgan has more than 19 years of local government experience and is currently the deputy city manager for the city of Richardson, Texas. He joined the Richardson staff in 1998 as an administrative assistant in the City Manager’s Office. He was promoted to assistant to the city manager in 2000 and was promoted to assistant city manager of community services in 2003. Previously, Morgan worked as a management intern for the city of Lubbock in several departments including the City Manager’s Office.

Morgan received a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and a master’s degree in public administration from Texas Tech University. He served on the advisory board for the Texas Tech Center for Public Service and currently is a member of the Urban Management Assistants of North Texas, the Texas City Management Association, and the North Texas City Management Association. He is also a member of the International City/County Management Association and was in the first class of Leadership ICMA.

Morgan, his wife Leticia and two boys are looking forward to making Georgetown their new home. He is expected to begin work in Georgetown on May 4.

Jim Briggs will remain the interim city manager until Morgan’s appointment and will continue to serve as the general manager for utilities and assistant city manager.

Georgetown Utility to Be Powered by Solar and Wind Energy by 2017

A 150-megawatt solar power agreement recently finalized, in addition to a 144 megawatt wind power agreement in 2014, will make the City of Georgetown one of the largest municipally-owned utilities in the U.S. to supply its customers with 100 percent solar and wind energy*. The long-term agreements also allow Georgetown to provide competitive electric rates and hedge against price volatility for energy produced by fossil-fuels.

The City of Georgetown signed a power purchase agreement with SunEdison to purchase 150-megawatts of solar power starting in 2016. SunEdison will provide electricity to Georgetown through 2041. The new renewable power contracts signed by Georgetown provide electricity at a lower overall cost than its previous wholesale power contracts.

“SunEdison is very excited to be working with Georgetown Utility Systems to provide their customers with 100 percent renewable, clean energy,” said Paul Gaynor, executive vice president of North America Utility and Global Wind. “Georgetown is an exceptional city, and by going 100 percent renewable they cut down on pollution, save water, and enjoy stable energy prices. They’re able to accomplish all of this without spending a penny up-front with the SunEdison power purchase agreement. Georgetown is a model for other cities that hope to become powered by clean renewable energy.”

In addition, Georgetown has contracted with EDF for 144-megawatts out of a 194-megawatt capacity wind project—located 50 miles west of Amarillo—that will begin delivery of power next year. The Spinning Spur 3 project is currently under construction. A 20-year contract with EDF for wind power signed in 2014 will provide competitively-priced renewable energy to Georgetown customers through 2035.

The combination of solar and wind power allows the City to provide energy from complementary renewable sources in order to meet demand patterns. The solar power produced in West Texas will provide a daily afternoon supply peak that matches the daily energy demand peak in Georgetown, especially during the hot summer months. Wind power production in West Texas tends to be highest in the off-peak, evening or early-morning hours. This means that wind power can most often fill power demand when the sun isn’t shining.

The City of Georgetown municipally-owned electric utility started in 1911. The City closed its power plant in 1945 and began a long-term purchased-power contract to supply energy to its customers. Ending a long-term power contract in 2012 allowed the City to pursue new power suppliers.

“When Georgetown Utility Systems opted to seek new sources of power in 2012, we were charged with a mission to secure the most cost-effective energy that balanced risk and reward,” says Jim Briggs, interim city manager for the City and general manager for utilities. “Our team took advantage of a unique time in the market place and did just that. By securing these renewable contracts the utility can consider itself 100 percent ‘green,’ but it does so at extremely competitive costs for energy, and it hedges against future fuel and regulatory risks, fulfilling our initial goal.”

The use of solar and wind-produced energy also means that unlike natural gas, nuclear, or coal-fired power plants, energy production for Georgetown will not require water. A power plant that burns fossil fuels or uses nuclear fuel can use large amounts of water each day. The use of solar and wind power in Georgetown will eliminate these impacts on the water supply and the environment. Using electricity that does not consume water is effectively a further reduction in the overall per capita water use for Georgetown. Another key goal of the utility is to become more effective in its use of water resources.

The City’s renewable power sources also may lead to an economic development benefit. Many companies, especially those in the high-tech sector, have invested in green sources of power for their office and manufacturing facilities.  Georgetown’s 100 percent renewable power supply can help companies to achieve sustainability goals at a competitive price.

*Sources: Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partnership, www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists; Go 100% Renewable Energy, www.go100percent.org

Citizens on Patrol Assist Police Officers

A new group of volunteers is helping to increase the outreach and capacity of the Georgetown Police Department. Sixteen Citizens on Patrol volunteers are driving the streets of Georgetown to “observe and report” and assist in other duties of the department.

Volunteers have completed four weeks of training, which includes learning from officers in each area of the police department such as patrol, criminal investigations, and community resources. Most of the volunteers also are graduates of the 10-week Citizens Police Academy in which they get an education in all aspects of the department.

The COPs volunteers will use a vehicle to conduct close patrols in neighborhoods, observe areas in response to complaints, and work at community events. The volunteers also will serve as eyes and ears for code enforcement, which is part of the police department.

Another duty involves placing four radar boxes at various locations to track speeds on city streets. The radar boxes collect data that is used to adjust speed limits, but is not used to issue citations.

Lt. Jim Seals says that using trained volunteers to serve in some of these non-emergency roles allows sworn officers to devote more time to respond to emergencies, solve crimes, participate in training, and interact with the community.

COPs with car-b1000The Citizens on Patrol vehicle has a radio that allows volunteers to communicate with 911 emergency communications operators in order to request an officer or report information. The volunteers will not carry weapons. Dennis Barbeau, who is the volunteer director of the program, says they are trained to be non-confrontational and avoid situations that could put them in danger.

The Citizens on Patrol volunteers are among more than 160 total volunteers who assist the Police Department in many ways, including the Blue Santa program, Park Rangers program, at the Animal Shelter, and in other areas.

The sixteen volunteers have been logging 100 hours per week for the past several weeks. They provided security for the new Public Safety Operations and Training Center while contractors worked to finish the facility and while police employees moved in.

Lt. Jim Seals, who leads the community resources program for the department, says that they are not currently recruiting any additional volunteers for the Citizens on Patrol program. Lt. Seals does expect that the program will expand in the future as the demands of the department grow.

The Georgetown Citizens on Patrol program is modeled after similar programs in other communities says Police Chief Wayne Nero. The Georgetown Police Department Citizens on Patrol program is supportive of, but not affiliated with, a similarly-named citizen group in Sun City.

COPs group 1b-1000

Pictured in the photo (left to right) are Citizens on Patrol volunteers Dennis Barbeau, Myra Chevalier, Paul Chevalier, Randy McDonald, and Jeff Justice, Lt. Jim Seals, Police Chief Wayne Nero, Assistant Police Chief Cory Tchida, and volunteer Michael Corse.