GoGeo offers free rides for Southwestern students, faculty, and staff

By showing a Pirate ID card when boarding, Southwestern University students, faculty, and staff can take a GoGeo bus for free to destinations in Georgetown. The program started on Aug. 15 and is funded by an agreement between the City and Southwestern.

To mark the start of free GoGeo service, Southwestern University and the City of Georgetown will hold a kickoff event at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 29. The kickoff will be on the Academic Mall on the Southwestern campus near the flagpoles in front of the McCombs Campus Center. Southwestern President Edward Burger will speak at the event as well as Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross and Todd Hemingson, executive vice president of strategic planning and development for Capital Metro. Capital Area Rural Transportation System or CARTS, which operates the GoGeo buses, will also be at the event.

The GoGeo Orange Route 471 has two stops on Maple Street on the Southwestern campus. With a transfer to other routes at the Georgetown Public Library, students can take the bus to locations such as HEB, Wolf Ranch Town Center, the Rivery retail area, City Lights Theatres, the City Recreation Center, or shops on Williams Drive. Free bus service serves an important mobility need for many Southwestern students who do not have their own vehicle on campus.

GoGeo service hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Details about routes, service hours, and more is at gogeo.georgetown.org.

City celebrates San Gabriel Park Phase 1 completion, groundbreaking for Phase 2 on Sept. 6

The City will break ground on Phase 2 of improvements to San Gabriel Park at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 6 at the new playground at Chamber Way and Morrow Street while also celebrating the completion of the first phase of improvements.

Phase 2 of the San Gabriel Park improvements project includes a new basketball court, restrooms at the disc golf course, two new playgrounds and swings, additional pavilions, road improvements, restoration of two existing springs, and trail improvements—including the extension of the San Gabriel trail to Katy Crossing neighborhood.

During construction, the lower parking lot will be closed, and park guests are encouraged to park in the new lots on the west end of the park.

The $4.2 million Phase 2 project is expected to be completed next summer.

City Council approved a contract with Ritter-Botkin Prime Construction Company Inc. of Pflugerville to complete the construction of Phase 2.

Phase 1 of the project included a new playground with sensory walk, improved entry and directional signage, and the restoration of the spring habitat to its natural state through the re-establishment of the spring channel and native vegetation.

Other improvements completed in Phase 1 included parking, roadway, utility and drainage improvements; realignment of the Morrow Street and Chamber Way intersection; additional restrooms and pavilions; upgraded park furnishings throughout; and trail and accessibility improvements throughout the park.

Future phases of the San Gabriel Park project include improvements to the remaining areas of the park.

Funding for the improvements was approved by voters in a 2008 bond package.

Access to the park will not be affected; however, short-term road closures and detours are expected to happen throughout construction.

The San Gabriel Park Master Plan, which was completed in June 2015, identified improvements to be completed in phases to limit park disruptions.

City offices and facilities closed for Labor Day

City of Georgetown offices and facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 3, for the Labor Day holiday. This includes these locations:

  • Airport Terminal, 500 Terminal Drive
  • Animal Shelter, 110 W.L. Walden Drive
  • City Hall, 113 E. Eighth St.
  • Economic Development, 809 Martin Luther King Jr. St.
  • Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Ave.
  • Municipal Court, 101 E. Seventh St.
  • Parks and Recreation Administration, 1101 N. College St.
  • Planning Department, 406 W. Eighth St.
  • Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St.
  • Public Safety Operations and Training Center lobby,
    3500 D.B. Wood Road
  • Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Ave.
  • Tennis Center, 400 Serenada Drive

The Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh St., will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Swimming Pools and Aquatics

The Williams Drive pool at 3201 Williams Drive will reopen for three days starting Saturday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 3. The hours will be 1 to 7 p.m. each of those days. Other outdoor seasonal pools have closed for the summer season.

The splash pads at San Jose Park, 1707 San Jose St., Rabbit Hill Park, 1109 Blue Ridge Drive, and at the Art Center, 816 S. Main St., will remain open through the month of September. The splash pad at Garey Park, 6450 RM 2243, will be open through October, weather permitting.

GoGeo bus service

There will be no service Monday, Sept. 3.

Recycling and solid waste

There will be regular recycling and solid waste collection for City of Georgetown customers on Monday, Sept. 3. Please place carts at the curb by 7 a.m. on your scheduled pickup day. For questions, call Texas Disposal Systems at (512) 930-1715.

The Collection Station at 250 W.L. Walden Drive will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 3.

Notice of Voluntary Annexations

City of Georgetown  Notice of Voluntary Annexation

The City of Georgetown is considering voluntary annexations. The Public Hearings will be held at the August 28, 2018 3:00 pm Special Meeting and the August 28, 2018 6:00 pm Regular City Council meeting, located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street.  The areas being considered for annexation are:

Public Hearings for the Voluntary Annexation of an approximate 262.011-acre tract of land situated in the William Roberts League Survey, Abstract No. 524, and a portion of Shell Road, a right-of-way of varying width of record described to the Williamson County, Texas, and directing publication of notice for proposed annexation, for the property generally located along Shell Road, north of Williams Drive to be known as the Shell Road development.

Public Hearings for the Voluntary Annexation of an approximate 553.463-acre tract of land situated in the B. Manlove Survey, Abstract No. 420, Milton Hicks Survey, Abstract No. 287, P. Weathersby Survey, Abstract No. 680, A.M. Brown Survey, Abstract No. 85, J. C. Thaxton Survey, Abstract No. 756, I. Sauls Survey, Abstract No. 595, and I. & G. N. R. R. Survey, Abstract No. 741, and a portion of Farm to Market Road 2243 (FM 2243), a right-of-way of varying width of record described to the State of Texas, and initial zoning of Public Facilities (PF) zoning district designation, for the property generally located along FM 2243, east of CR 286 and west of Escalera Ranch Parkway, to be known as Garey Park.

After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexations at dates to be determined. For additional information, please contact the Planning Department, 512-930-3575 or email to planning@georgetown.org.

New utility customer account set-up

Georgetown Utility Systems launched a new utility billing system on Aug. 6. As part of the new system, all auto-draft customers need to create a new online account.

This page will provide step-by-step instructions on how to set up a new account online: gus.georgetown.org/guspay.

Customers calling the Customer Care number for assistance in setting up a new account are experiencing longer than normal hold times, continual ringing, or busy signals due to very high call volume. Customers may experience continual ringing when calling which signifies that the call did not reach the call center phone system. Customer Care representatives are working to respond to every customer call or message as soon as possible. The number for Customer Care is (512) 930-3640 or 1 (888) 474-4904. Customers can also email customercare@georgetown.org.

Customer Care staff will be available for in-person assistance at several locations through Aug. 28. For a list of times and locations go to gus.georgetown.org/customercare/paying-your-bill.

Customers may still pay their utility bills with a check by mail or at the Utility Customer Care Center, located at 300-1 Industrial Ave., Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Note that while customers need to update their account information, they have the entire month to do so. This month the City is waiving late fees and disconnections for non-payment.

For more information, please visit gus.georgetown.org.

Watch school zones as classes start on Aug. 16

The first day of classes for schools in the Georgetown school district is Thursday, Aug. 16. The Georgetown Police Department reminds drivers to slow down in school zones. As students go back to school, police will be monitoring school zones throughout the city.

Look for the school zones at most of these Georgetown ISD schools:

•  Carver Elementary, 4901 Scenic Lake Drive
•  Cooper Elementary, 1921 NE Inner Loop
•  Ford Elementary, 210 Woodlake Drive
•  Frost Elementary, 711 Lakeway Drive
•  McCoy Elementary, 401 Bellaire Drive
•  Mitchell Elementary, 1601 Rockride Lane
•  Pickett Elementary, 1100 Thousand Oaks Blvd.
•  Purl Elementary, 1953 Maple St.
•  Village Elementary, 400 Village Commons
•  Benold Middle School, 3407 Northwest Blvd.
•  Forbes Middle School, 1911 NE Inner Loop
•  Tippit Middle School, 1601 Leander Road
•  Wagner Middle School, 1621 Rockride Lane
•  East View High School, 4490 E. University Ave.
•  Georgetown High School, 2211 N. Austin Ave.
•  Georgetown Alternative Program, 502 Patriot Way
•  Richarte High School, 2295 N. Austin Ave.
•  Williamson County Academy/Lott Juvenile Detention Center, 200 Wilco Way

School zone speed limits are in effect during the posted hours or when yellow lights are flashing. The fine for speeding in a school zone is $10 per mile over the limit, plus state court costs. This would mean a $100 fine plus $129 in state court costs for driving 30 mph in a 20 mph zone, for example.

State law prohibits the use of a wireless communication device in a school zone during the posted hours or when yellow lights are flashing.

Arts and Culture Board seeks artist proposals

The City of Georgetown’s Arts and Culture Board has issued a call for artist proposals for the new City Hall and Council and Court buildings, located at MLK Jr. and Ninth streets. Three areas have been identified for artwork.

A theme has not been selected for the spaces to allow each artist an opportunity to present their own vision for the spaces.

Areas selected for artwork include the City Hall rotunda, the area above the Municipal Court transaction window, and the Council and Court Building lobby wall.

The call for art includes a $3,000-$5,000 for each award. Proposals are due by midnight September 30. Artists may submit up to two proposals per area. A separate proposal must be submitted for each area.

The artist will be selected by the Georgetown Arts and Culture Board and notified by Oct. 19.

For more information about the project, including submittal requirements, go to arts.georgetown.org.

2019 City budget responds to growth

Roads, firefighters, and upgraded utilities are among the key requests for the fiscal year 2019 budget. The proposed spending plan maintains the current tax rate while preparing the City for the incredible growth that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

The City’s property tax rate will remain 42 cents per $100 of valuation. This is one of the lowest rates in Central Texas. However, home values continue to rise, so the average homeowner will pay approximately $57 more in property taxes to the City. These increases go directly towards maintaining and improving Georgetown’s quality of life.

Even with incredible growth, maintaining Georgetown’s high standards for safety is critical. Fire Station No. 7, located near Hwy. 29 and Inner Loop, is under design. Fourteen new firefighters will be hired to help staff Fire Station 7 to maintain response times across the City. Additionally, a school resource officer will be hired for Wagner Middle School. This ensures an officer is located at each high school and middle school in Georgetown.

Traffic and parking are always key concerns highlighted by citizens. This budget includes the design work to widen three roadways, including Leander Road, Southwestern Boulevard, and SE Inner Loop, to help improve mobility. Voters approved these projects in the 2015 road bond. The City is also planning to construct a new parking garage at Sixth and Main streets and a new parking lot across from the Public Library.

The City owns and operates water and electric utilities. Once again, water rates will remain stable for the coming year. While maintaining rates, the City will be investing significantly in the water system. These investments include improvements to the intake structure at the Lake Georgetown Water Treatment Plant, new water lines to increase water distribution capacity, and new pump stations in areas west of Georgetown and north of Liberty Hill to increase pumping capacity.

There will be a $1.35 increase in the monthly wastewater fee to help cover the cost of new wastewater lines, expanding a treatment plant, and reducing our environmental impacts on the aquifer. Even with this increase, Georgetown has one of the lowest combined water and wastewater bills for the average user in the region.

The city’s electricity is now purchased from 100 percent renewable energy sources. While purchased power costs are fixed, this year the City will increase the monthly base electric charge to cover costs related to needed improvements in the electric system, including replacing poles, relocating electric lines, and increasing system capacity. Georgetown electric customers will see an increase of $4.80 on their monthly bills. This increase helps Georgetown maintain one of the most reliable electric systems in the state.

The City is also taking steps to plan for the future. The budget includes a position to enhance information technology security, a position to expand the business process improvement team, and increases to financial reserves across the City. This budget includes the first full year of operations for Garey Park, as well as a new parks maintenance position. Resources for planning, permitting, and engineering to help respond to the City’s growth also are included.

The total budget is $354 million. This includes 31 new positions, as well as performance-based merit increases for current employees.

The proposed budget is available at finance.georgetown.org. Public hearings on the budget and property tax rate will be held Aug. 14 and 21. The City Council is expected to vote on the adoption of the budget on Aug. 28 and Sept. 11.

NE Inner Loop closed overnight Aug. 14 and 15

NE Inner Loop will be closed to traffic in the overnight hours on Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 for road construction work.

The segment of NE Inner Loop from Farm to Market 971 to Highway 29 will be closed on both days starting at 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. the next day.

The closure is for the rebuilding of the Georgetown Rail Road crossing on NE Inner Loop that is about 0.5-miles south of FM 971.

Traffic will be detoured to Austin Avenue during the road closure. This construction work is weather-dependent.

Map of closure on NE Inner Loop

Rivery Boulevard Extension ground breaking Aug. 7

The City of Georgetown will hold a ground breaking for the Rivery Boulevard Extension project on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The event is at 10 a.m. on Northwest Boulevard at Washam Drive, which is the north end of the future Rivery roadway.

The new Rivery Boulevard segment will extend from the north end of the existing Rivery Boulevard at Williams Drive to Northwest Boulevard. The 0.5-mile long boulevard includes four lanes with a divided median. The road will include a traffic circle at the intersection with Park Lane.

The construction cost for the roadway project is $5.1 million. Rivery Boulevard Extension was approved by Georgetown voters in the 2015 transportation bond election. KPA is the design engineer on the project and Joe Bland Construction is the contractor.

When complete, Rivery Boulevard Extension will provide a link from I-35 to the Rivery retail, hotel, and convention center development. On the north end, the road will connect to the new Northwest Boulevard bridge over Interstate 35, which is scheduled to begin in 2019. The Rivery Boulevard and Northwest Boulevard projects provide an alternate to Williams Drive, which is one of the busiest roads in the city.

Ground breaking location

The Rivery Boulevard Extension ground breaking will be held on the south side of Northwest Boulevard across from the T-intersection at Washam Drive.