Tax Return Help Starts Jan. 28

Two volunteer groups are offering free assistance in preparing tax returns during tax season. The volunteer, free tax help starts next week and continues through the filing deadline for federal returns on April 15.

Public Library

From January 31 through April 15, volunteers will offer free and confidential tax preparation assistance at the Georgetown Public Library at 402 W. Eighth Street at these times:

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Wednesdays, 12 to 4 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Volunteers will help prepare e-file or mail-in returns, prior year returns, amended returns, or extensions and help you find answers to tax questions. Bring a copy of your return from last year if possible since, for e-filers, the AGI number (bottom line on front of 1040/A/EZ) is your verification PIN for this year. This volunteer service is provided without regard to income level. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Williamson County Financial Stability Coalition

Starting on January 28, free and confidential tax preparation help is available from IRS-certified preparers to those who qualify. No appointment is necessary.

The Williamson County Financial Stability Coalition, a community-wide effort led by United Way of Williamson County, is sponsoring the assistance. Volunteers will be available to the elderly and households earning less than $53,000 in 2014 across Williamson County. IRS-certified volunteers will be available at the sites to help individuals and families file their 2014 federal income tax returns.

Taxpayers are eligible to have their tax returns filed at no charge and specially-trained volunteers will assist in identifying tax credits available in order to maximize each person’s federal tax refund. The free tax sites will serve those whose income was less than $53,000 in 2014.

These sites are offered in Georgetown:

The Caring Place Annex, 2001 Railroad Street
January 28 through April 15
Wednesdays from 12 to 8:30 p.m.
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sun City Cowan Creek Amenity Center, 1433 Cool Spring Way
January 30 through April 10
Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

No appointments are needed. All returns are filed electronically and taxpayers generally receive their refunds within seven to 10 days.

Taxpayers will need to bring the following items:

  • Valid driver’s license or photo ID
  • All W-2 and 1099 forms (if any)
  • Social Security cards for taxpayers and all dependents
  • Birthdates for all dependents
  • Day care receipts and provider ID number
  • Education receipts (if any)
  • Your spouse, if filing a joint return
  • Interest and dividend statements from your bank/savings
  • Mortgage property taxes or interest (if any)
  • Bank account number and routing number for direct deposit (a voided check is best)
  • Health coverage information

For additional information on the free tax sites, visit WilcoFreeTaxPrep.org or email info@unitedway-wc.orgor call (512) 255-6799.

Ninth Street and Main Street Closures

Street closures on Ninth Street and on Main Street will start on January 21 as part of the ongoing utility and street project redesign on Ninth Street in downtown Georgetown.

Main Street will be closed on Wednesday, January 21 from Eighth Street to Tenth Street. The closure will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day to allow for trenching across Main Street at Ninth Street. Local traffic will have access to businesses on Main Street in the closure area.

Ninth Street will be closed January 26 to February 2 in the one-block segment from Main Street to Church Street. This is to allow for trenching and installation of underground conduit in that block.

The street closures are part of the overall project on Ninth Street to move overhead utilities underground, reconfigure parking and drainage, and improve sidewalks and landscaping.

Work on Ninth Street from Rock Street to Austin Avenue was substantially complete in December. Work on Ninth Street from Austin Avenue to Main Street is expected to be completed in April.

See the map below for the location of the street closures:

Collection Station Rates and Tree Recycling

New rates for materials brought to the Collection Station took effect January 1. The new Texas Disposal Systems rates are no greater than 90 percent of the gate rate charged at the Williamson County landfill in Hutto. Items such as tires, refrigerators, batteries, roofing shingles, and loads of gravel are accepted at the Collection Station for a fee. For details, go to recycle.georgetown.org.

Also, as of Jan. 1, all loads brought to the Collection Station must be secured with twine or rope, or must be tied down using a tarp. The purpose is to reduce littering and roadway debris hazards. State law requires loads to be secured. A $25 fee for unsecured loads goes into effect on Feb. 1.

The Collection Station is located at 250 W.L. Walden Drive, which is near the McMaster Athletic Fields on N. College Street. For details, go to recycle.georgetown.org.

Christmas Tree Recycling

Through January 31 at no charge, live Christmas trees will be accepted at the City of Georgetown Collection Station from in-city residents and those who live outside city limits. Trees should be free of tinsel, ornaments, lights, and stands prior to drop-off. Trees brought to the Collection Station will be ground into garden mulch.

Art for Animals Postponed to May 9

logoOriginally scheduled for February 7, Art for Animals is being postponed to May 9. Renovations at the animal shelter are displacing staff for 10 days in January and requiring the shelter to be closed during that time.

“Normally we are accepting and storing a lot of art and other donations in the weeks leading up to Art for Animals, and that just isn’t practical this year,” according to shelter manager Jackie Carey.

The annual event is sponsored by the Friends of the Georgetown Animal Shelter and is the biggest annual fundraiser for the shelter. All proceeds benefit the animals by funding improvements to the shelter and enhancing services for animals.

The shelter’s annual garage sale will be held in September this year, instead of in the spring.

The group is still seeking donations of artwork from Feb. 2 to April 17. Donations of framed artwork and hand-crafted items such as pottery, sculpture, jewelry, and glass work are especially popular, as are gift baskets, travel packages, and other unique items or services. Donors will receive two tickets to the event.

Items that have already been donated are being stored in a secure location, and donors will receive their tickets in the mail in February.

To make a donation for the auction after February 1, contact Jackie Carey, manager at the Georgetown Animal Shelter, at (512) 930-3527, or by email at Jackie.Carey@georgetown.org.

 

Main Street Façade and Sign Grants Fall 2014

The Georgetown Main Street program has presented a number checks this year to businesses for Façade and Sign Grants. The Main Street Façade and Sign Fund is a matching grant program for commercial buildings in the historic downtown area. (Click on photos to see larger versions.)

Escape check-b640

The Escape Fine Crafts and Gifts at 713 S. Main Street received a $5,678 grant for new signs, painting of the building façade, and replacement of wooden windows. Pictured (left to right) in the photo are Jim Wilson, Julie Laderach, Marcy Urban, Shelly Hargrove, Judy Lester, Cindy Harrington, Len Lester, Vicki Jackimiec, and David Kellerman.

Bucking Bronco check-b640

Bucking Bronco, LLC received a $10,000 check for the façade work on the renovation of 108 W. Eighth Street, which is the location for La Bella Casa, a home furnishings store. Pictured in the photo (left to right) are David Kellerman, Marcy Urban, Julie Laderach, Bill Hart, Vicki Jackimiec, Cindy Harrington, Jemme Lynn Wilks, Ken Horack, Jim Wilson, and Shelly Hargrove.

Roots Bistro check-b640

Roots Bistro at 118 W. Eighth Street received a $2,496.14 grant for painting of the façade on the building. Pictured in the photo (left to right) are David Kellerman, Marcy Urban, Shelly Hargrove, Jim Wilson, Cindy Harrington, Rebecca Huggins, Bill Hart, Bob Weimer, Julie Laderach, and Vicki Jackimiec.

Screen Door check 1000

The Screen Door at 1003 S. Austin Avenue received a $928 grant for signs and awnings. Pictured in the photo (left to right) are David Kellerman, Julie Laderach, Vicki Jackimiec, Cindy Harrington, Marta Schrader, Matt Synatschk, Laurie Brewer, Marcy Urban, and Jim Wilson.

600 degrees check 1000

The building owner for 600 Degrees Pizzeria and Drafthouse at 124 E. Eighth Street received a grant for $10,000 for façade work on the building. Pictured in the photo (left to right) are David Kellerman, Julie Laderach, Marcy Urban, Cary Rabb, Sammy Marsden, Jeff Marsden, Laurie Brewer, Cindy Harrington, Jim Wilson, and Vicki Jackimiec.

Pink Poppy check 1000

Pink Poppy Artisans Boutique at 114 W. Eighth Street received a grant for $1,526 for façade work and signs. Pictured in the photo (left to right) are Marcy Urban, Jim Wilson, Laurie Brewer, Vicki Jackimiec, JJ Parker, Jeff Parker, Kay Briggs, Cindy Harrington, Julie Laderach, and David Kellerman.

Escape facade-b1000

The Escape Fine Crafts and Gifts is at 713 S. Main Street. Find out more about The Escape at TheEscapeGeorgetown.com.

La Bella Casa facade-b500

La Bella Casa is at 108 W. Eighth Street. Find out more about La Bella Casa at www.facebook.com/LaBellaCasaGeorgetown.

Roots Bistro facade-b600

Roots Bistro is at 118 W. Eighth Street. Find out more about Roots Bistro at www.rootsbistrogtx.com.

Screen Door facade-b1000

The Screen Door is at 1003 S. Austin Avenue. Find out more about The Screen Door at www.thescreendoor.com.

600 Degrees facade-b1000

600 Degrees Pizzeria and Drafthouse is at 124 E. Eighth Street. Find out more about 600 Degrees Pizzeria and Drafthouse at 600degreespizzeria.com.

Pink Poppy facade-b1000

Pink Poppy Artisans Boutique is at 114 W. Eighth Street. Find out more about Pink Poppy Artisans Boutique at www.pinkpoppyboutiquetx.com.

The Main Street Façade and Sign Fund provides reimbursement grants to business owners in the historic downtown area for a portion of improvements made to building facades and new signs. Sign matching grants are for up to $500 and façade matching grants are up to $10,000 for exterior work on a historic building.

Georgetown Main Street promotes historic preservation and economic development efforts in the historic downtown. Main Street is a program of the City of Georgetown Division of Downtown and Community Services. Learn more at mainstreet.georgetown.org.

Art Center and Marketing Campaign Receive Awards

art center dec-b1000The Georgetown Art Center and the City of Georgetown’s Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas marketing campaign were winners of statewide awards last month from the Texas Downtown Association.

The two Georgetown winners were named in the Presidents Awards Program at the TDA annual meeting in Granbury. The awards for Georgetown were in the category of cities with populations above 50,000 residents.

The Georgetown Art Center won in the Best Public Improvement category that recognizes excellence in public projects and planning in downtowns or commercial districts.

The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas marketing campaign won in the Best Marketing Program category, which recognizes excellence in marketing of downtown or commercial districts.

The Georgetown Art Center opened in October 2013 in the first floor of the renovated historic fire station and city hall building at 816 S. Main Street. Architect Gary Wang designed the Georgetown Art Center as well as the adjacent outdoor plaza.

TDA awards-b1000The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas marketing campaign began in 2011 and is used in a variety of marketing and tourism advertisements and promotional initiatives.

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross announced the TDA awards at the City Council meeting on November 25. Pictured are Mayor Ross with Cari Miller, tourism and Convention and Visitors Bureau manager, and Eric Lashley, public library director.

Miller has used the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas trademark in a variety of advertisements and marketing collateral for the Georgetown Convention and Visitors Bureau. Lashley helped to coordinate the renovation of the Georgetown Art Center and is on the advisory board for Georgetown Art Works, the arts nonprofit that operates the Art Center.

COG_MostBeautifulLogo_BlueThe Texas Downtown Association is an independent, statewide nonprofit organization comprised of 430 members involved in downtown and commercial district revitalization projects.

Learn more about the Texas Downtown Association at www.TexasDowntown.org. Find out more about downtown Georgetown and the Georgetown Main Street Program at MainStreet.Georgetown.org.

For information about exhibits and classes at the Georgetown Art Center, go to www.GeorgetownArtCenterTX.org.

HARC Amendments to UDC Proposed

Changes to the City’s development code for items governed by the Historic and Architectural Review Commission are being proposed by the City. Those changes can be reviewed online at HARCamendments.georgetown.org where there is an online form for submitting feedback.

HARC is a City commission that reviews plans for changes to buildings, sites, and signage within the historic overlay districts in Georgetown. This includes the 40-block downtown commercial district as well as the Old Town District, which includes much of the residential area east of the Courthouse Square. HARC issues Certificates of Design Compliance for approved modifications consistent with the Downtown and Old Town Design Guidelines.

A review of the City’s Unified Development Code began in May, following direction from the City Council. A list of proposed HARC amendments was proposed to the City Council in October.

Proposed changes to the UDC include administrative review of sign designs and small projects, identification of structures requiring review for demolition, clarification of building demolition process, and review authority transferred to the planning director on plans to save heritage trees and alternative parking plans. Staff recommendations on amendments include a total of 35 changes to the existing UDC.

The proposed UDC amendments and additional information is available on the City’s website at HARCamendments.georgetown.org. Comments on the proposed changes should be submitted via the website by December 19.

HARC amendments to the UDC are scheduled for approval by the City Council in early 2015.

For additional information, contact Matt Synatschk, historic planner with the City of Georgetown at (512) 930-3581 or matt.synatschk@georgetown.org.

Operation Warm Aims to Buy Coats for Local Kids

With the holidays around the corner and colder winter days ahead, not every child in Georgetown has a winter coat to stay warm. Georgetown firefighters have initiated Operation Warm to help ensure that every child in Georgetown has a warm coat to wear.

The Georgetown Fire Department and the Georgetown Association of Professional Fire Fighters are sponsoring Operation Warm, which is an effort to provide coats for local children who need them. The Georgetown Boys and Girls Club has identified nearly 100 children who need warm coats. The greater need in the community exceeds that number.

How can you help? Here’s two ways:

Raffle Drawing

Georgetown firefighters are selling 1,500 raffle tickets in order to purchase new winter coats for kids. Raffle tickets are $5 each. The raffle drawing to determine the winner will be on December 12, so buy your tickets by December 11.

Purchase raffle tickets at any of the five fire stations in Georgetown. To find station locations, go to fire.georgetown.org/operations/stations.

The raffle winner will receive half of the raffle proceeds, which could be as much as $3,750. The remainder of the raffle proceeds will be used to purchase new winter coats for kids in Georgetown.

After the raffle drawing on Dec. 12, the winner will be announced on the Georgetown Association of Professional Fire Fighters website at gapff.org.

Donations

Donations for Operation Warm to provide coats for kids can be made at www.operationwarm.org/Georgetown. Monetary donations to Operation Warm also can be made in-person at any of the five Georgetown fire stations. All monetary donations collected will be used to purchase coats for children in Georgetown.

“We have a saying in the fire service that ‘everyone goes home,’” says Daniel Bilbrey, a driver for the Georgetown Fire Department. “We want to make sure that every firefighter goes home to their family after each shift. This year with Operation Warm, we want to make sure that each and every kid in Georgetown will go home warm this year, and each year after that.”

To learn more about Operation Warm and how you can help, go to the Georgetown Association of Professional Fire Fighters website at gapff.org or www.operationwarm.org/Georgetown.

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:

 

Votes:Percent:
For:14,60482.45
Against:3,10917.55

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.