State of the City 2023

State of the city 2023

Paving and Planning for Growth

The major stories in 2022 were growth and water. As the fastest-growing city our size in the country, we face exciting and challenging opportunities every day, as we work to maintain our services and character. Last and this year, we will continue to navigate global economic challenges: Supply chain, recruiting employees, inflation, and a budding recession.

In 2023, it’s all about planning, investing, and building for our future of continued, significant growth – without losing sight of who we are. We hope you’ll continued to be engaged, so we can build plans and strategies for our future together.

And we will have a lot of opportunities for you to share your feedback.

Year of the Plan

Input opportunities

  • Downtown Master Plan
  • Future Mobility Plan
  • Sidewalk Master Plan
  • Future Land Use Plan update
  • Austin Avenue Corridor Plan & pedestrian bridge design
  • Unified Development Code diagnostic and rewrite
  • Recreation Center Feasibility Study

Other plans

  • Economic Development Strategic Plan
  • Library Strategic Plan
  • Pavement Condition Index
  • Austin Avenue bridge rehabilitation
  • Williams Drive Access Management plan

Many of these projects are just getting started, and you can read brief summaries, tentative timelines, and more information here. 

Managing, preparing for growth while maintaining services and charm: Plans for 2023

Georgetown’s Growth

We will continue to grow at significant rates. How we manage that while maintaining our services and charm is through planning and investing, particularly when it comes to infrastructure.

Central Texas remains one of the fastest growing regions in the country

Central Texas remains one of the fastest growing regions in the country

Population:

    • Georgetown grew 7.73 percent from 2021 to 2022, estimated population of 73,839
    • Latest population estimate has us over 84,000
    • Same story for most counties surrounding Austin – total population to more than double in next 25 years
  • Number of new housing starts in FY22 was 2,585 – record for the 4th consecutive year. We are seeing a bit of a slow down with the economy; we are watching it closely and adjusting as necessary.
    • The pace of residential (and nonresidential) permit activity continues to reach record highs.
    • More than 93,000 inspections completed in 2022
    • Inspections completed per month: High of 8,767 in August 2022 — trended higher than most months in past four years
    • Planning applications: 1,555 in 2021; already at 1,921 by November 2022

Impact on services:

      • We had 400 lane miles in 2002 and are over 1,000 now
      • Fire calls for service have doubled from 2014, when the figure was around 7,000 compared to 2022, when we responded to nearly 14,000 calls
Investing in utilities: water and electric

Water Use and Treatment

Water was a hot topic this summer, and will continue to be for a while. This section will focus on our water utility, how our treated water is used, and work we’re doing to secure more resources and treatment capacity.

2022 water useWe currently have enough water through 2030. The challenge is keeping up with peak demand in the summer, when the vast majority of treated, drinkable our water goes to lawn care.

Summer 2022 is officially the second hottest summer on record for us here in Texas (second only to 2011). With the hot temperatures, drought, and usage we were seeing, we had to go into one-day watering for most of last summer.

We are still currently in one-day-per-week watering and plan to keep it in effect through the winter, due to ongoing construction projects. We will reevaluate once the lake levels improve and once the North Lake Water Treatment Plant comes online, which is expected this summer. Know compliance is critical – if we can’t treat enough water to maintain pressure, we could go into boil water notices and lose fire protection.

Regardless, conservation and smart water use is going to be important for all of us. It’ll save you money, make sure your grass survives, and keep us out of those consequences. And just be better stewards of a limited resource.

2022 average water useOne question we get a lot is why we end up targeting lawn irrigation at single-family residences for water conservation. Don’t other customers increase their use as well?

The pie chart shows the average daily water use across our different customer classes: Single family, large commercial, small commercial, government, and multifamily

The biggest part of the pie chart during most of the year? Excess capacity: ~26 million gallons a day

Peak water useThis pie chart, however, shows the daily water use across our different customer classes during peak season (2-3 months of summer)

The biggest part of this pie chart: Single-family residences at 38 MGD.

What don’t you see excess capacity: Because there is none.

Treated water capacityThe chart shows our treatment capacity limits on a daily basis. If you look at 2022, you’ll see that we show a gap as demand grows annually.

We’re on an aggressive plan to increase capacity.

2022 water useLast summer, we experienced peak demand in late June due to dry/hot conditions and limits on treatment capacity. As a result, we moved to Stage 2 of our drought contingency plan with one day a week irrigation watering on June 28.

water utility expansion

  • We continue to invest in expanding our water utility. 
  • We added 4,849 new water utility accounts and 3,566 new sewer connections in FY22, compared to 2,700 in FY20. Growth isn’t slowing down, and neither are we. 
  • We started construction on the North Lake Plant Expansion in 2022, which we estimate will be done this summer. The $12M project will increase the plant’s capacity by 8.8 million gallons a day – or by about 16%.  
  • We broke ground on the South Lake Water Treatment Plant in May 2022. This $175M plant will add 44 million gallons to our treatment capacity: Doubling our current capacity. Phase I done by Spring 2025; Phase 2 by Summer 2026. 
  • And we’re working on water towers at Parkside and Hoover 
  • Hoover: 2M gallons, work started in September 2022 and should be finished in winter 2024, $5.5M 
  • Parkside: 1.5M gallon, work started in September and should be done by summer 2024, $4.9M 
water planning summary

 

Water Planning

We will continue working with Brazos River Authority and Round Rock on regional water solutions to find future resources:

    • 3rd interconnect with Round Rock is under design
    • BRA Additional Water Resources Proposal opened in March 2022, currently under contract negotiations with Recharge
    • Coordinating with City of Georgetown Integrated Water Resources Plan with BRA’s IWRP

We also will continue to work with our neighboring communities:

    • Divest in the water area in surrounding cities (CCN) where able: 350 square mile service area
    • Jarrell Schwertner (approved by PUC)
    • Jarrell, Liberty Hill, Florence, Leander all express resource challenges

We will be starting and finishing several studies related to the resiliency and planning of our water system.

      • Integrated Water Resources Plan is finished. It identifies long-range water supply planning, staffing, and resiliency programs that need to be in place to ensure water demands are met in the City’s water service area to meet current and future growth.
      • Water/Wastewater Master Plan: Also complete
      • ASR: We are currently in our final phase of our ASR study. This will include drilling two pilot wells to test the water quality and allow us to better understand the composition of the Aquifer. If conditions are favorable, the goal would be to store reclaimed water for future use, further diversifying our supply and resiliency.
      • Water Reuse Master Plan: As part of our Integrated Water Resources Plan, we identified that we needed to augment our potable supply with reuse water to help extend our resources. The Water Reuse Master Plan will help determine the highest and best use for reclaimed water infrastructure needed. This could be used for irrigation (parks, golf courses, commercial irrigation), industrial processes, and/or potable water augmentation. This plan will help the City to be strategic with its current resources and ensure we are using them as efficiently as possible.
      • Code updates: We are currently undergoing several code updates to align our irrigation requirements with updated enforcement standards, including requiring irrigation meters for commercial, multifamily, industrial, and other institutional uses. Other code updates include codifying the 2022 Water and Wastewater Master Plan, design standards, and metering requirements
      • Design of the North Lake Water Treatment Plant generator back up is nearly done
      • In 2022, we really upped our enforcement of our wrong day and waste ordinances
          • 1,771 total cases opened in FY21; 1,200 in FY2020 
          • 3,611 in FY2022 
          • Will continue this summer 
      • Marketing and communications: Increased resources and efforts to remind and educate you and inform you about our rebates ($300,000 per fiscal year; we distributed that entire amount in FY22!) 
          • Some of that goes toward rain barrels – if you missed our painted rain barrel project in October, some of the designs are on the screen. Really great and innovative partnership and looking forward to bringing it back.
      • Expansion of water conservation rebate programs: We are looking for ways to expand our conservation rebate program. Currently we are evaluating increasing the rebate amounts. These will be contingent on IRS reporting requirements. We are also planning on partnering with a developer to incentivize low impact demand landscaping, so conservation is considered from the start of a project.
Water/wastewater rates

Water/Wastewater rates

Our consultant looked at all our growth and costs and determined we need additional revenue due to:

    • Increased operation and maintenance costs associated with inflation (several costs are up as much as 30 percent)
    • Interest rates
    • Resiliency improvements (we talked about earlier)
    • Existing plant rehabilitation and debt service for accelerated projects (talked about this earlier, too)
    • Growth (again, more than 5,000 new accounts in a year when used to be closer to 3,000)
    • As adopted, average residential customers using 6,000 gallons of water a month will see their monthly water and wastewater bill increase by $8 this year (from a total of $70.45 to $78.45 starting Oct. 1, 2022).
    • The same customer would see their monthly water and wastewater bill increase by $44.80 through the final year (from a total of $70.45 this year to $115.25 in 2027).
    • Proposed rates would increase by 11.5 percent for all customers each of the next four years
    • Also changed how apartment units are charged: $1M revenue
    • Will review annually to see if those increases are still needed at those levels.
    • Also are in the process of updating our water and wastewater impact fees, to help ensure growth pays for growth. This was presented at workshop in December and approved by City Council in January and February 2023. The water utility board and impact fee committee recommended a water impact fee of $11,000 and a wastewater impact fee of $6,129. It is anticipated that these will go into effect later this year.
Electric utility

Electric

The focus of our Electric Utility is to provide safe and reliable service at competitive rates.

    • The electric fund ended Fiscal Year 2022 with a reserve of $38.2 million, which compares to an ending reserve of $30.5M in FY2021 and $5.9 million in FY 2019. The ending fund balance for FY 2022 is healthy, and the utility meets all City budgetary and fiscal reserve requirements.
    • The Electric Utility was once again awarded the coveted RP3 Diamond Status presented by the American Public Power Association. An RP3 (Reliable Public Power Provider) designation is a sign of a utility’s dedication to operating an efficient, safe, and reliable distribution system. This designation lasts for three years.
    • Continued investments in people, technology, and infrastructure to maintain system reliability and resiliency.
Investing in transportation: from regular maintenance to major expansions

Transportation and traffic management is always an important topic for our residents. We’re excited to share all we did last year and have in the works this year to help plan, manage, and address those issues.

Road bonds

  • All funded 2008 bond projects are finished*
    • All that remains is Berry Creek Drive, which is not currently a high priority given the growth we’re seeing
  • 2015 Bond
    • DB Wood and Southwestern Boulevard are still under design.
      • Some drainage and utility conflicts to work out on DB Wood Road
      • Acquiring ROW on Southwestern Boulevard.
    • Sidewalks (Priority 1): Downtown, Old Town, intersections, State Highway 29
  • 2021 mobility bond: Voters approved $120M in transportation investments; design work started this year, hope to break ground this year; Council wants all of the road projects started in five years.
    • Multiple design contracts are signed for these 2021 Mobility Bond Projects:
      • Shell Road
      • DB Wood Road
      • Southeast Inner Loop
      • Rockride
      • Austin Avenue Bridges
      • Various other sidewalk, bike lane, and intersection improvements.
    • Design is complete for these Williamson County projects on which the City is a partner:
      • Westinghouse (FM1460 to SH130): Started construction last spring and is expected to complete in late this year.
      • Southwest Bypass (Wolf Ranch Parkway to SH29): Groundbreaking last August and will take about a year to complete (late 2023).
      • Corridor C (SE 1 Extension over SH130 from Patriot Way to SH29): Design is complete; bidding is on hold due to rising construction costs while WilCo secures additional funding
  • County is about to bid CR 245 this fall. There will be a new bridge built over Cowan Creek and the road will be closed to thru traffic from Reagan to Williams for about 6 months – to save about 6 months of construction time. The project will take all of 2023 to complete.

street maintenance and TXDOT I-35 projects

Street maintenance: Sealant and repaving/pavement recycling:

    • About $3M spent in 2022
    • Just over 50 lane miles of maintenance on several streets and neighborhoods in 2022, including Lakeway Drive area, northwest Downtown, Sun City, and Churchill Farms
    • Funded each year by quarter-cent sales tax dedicated for street maintenance, which was renewed for another four years in November 2022.
    • We’ll also continue investments in traffic signals, intersection improvement, and pedestrian safety.

TxDOT I-35 projects:

    • Williams Drive: Diverging Diamond, est. completion late 2023
    • Leander Road: Diverging Diamond, est. start late 2023
    • Westinghouse: Continuous flow intersection, est. start 2024
    • SH-29: Single point urban interchange, est. start 2025
    • We also are working on a plan to take over TxDOT traffic signals, because our population has reached that threshold.

Transportation plans

Input opportunities

  • Future Mobility Plan (+ sidewalk master plan); formerly Overall Transportation Plan
  • Austin Avenue Corridor Plan
  • Austin Avenue pedestrian bridge design

Other plans and projects we’re working on for you to be aware of:

  • Pavement Condition Index
  • Austin Avenue bridge rehabilitation
  • Williams Drive Access Management plan
Planning and development: active projects, development process, Unified Development Code

Planning and development

We have heard you, via water conservation, a communications survey, and other ways: You are concerned about Georgetown’s growth. You want more information about new developments and how to become involved in the process.

  • Major residential developments

We approved several, major residential projects recently, including:

Under Development with new homes

    • Parkside on the River: Master-planned, single-family development off Leander Road (east of Garey Park near the intersection of RM 2243 and Parkside Parkway)
    • Parmer Ranch: New, master-planned development at the intersection of Williams Drive and Ronald Reagan Boulevard
    • The Canyons at HCH Ranch: Large-lot, single-family community off FM 3405

Zoning Approved for Mixed Use Development

      • Williams at Rivery: 14 acre site to include opportunity for urban residential multi-family with commercial and open space integrated into the development
      • 1460 and Westinghouse Road: 57 acre property mixed-use development, with a combination of single-family residential homes, commercial and retail, and multi-family housing

Overview of the development process

 

Overview of the development process

The development process has different stages. Each stage has a priority. This slide reflects the process from decision making on use and intensity of the property to the development of property going vertical and ready for occupancy.

As you can see, the most opportunity for public feedback is in the zoning stage.

Unified Development Code: audit and rewrite in progress

Unified Development Code

The first thing to know about the development process is there a rule book that guides how development takes place. This rule book is called the Unified Development Code, but you may hear it referred to as the UDC.

The City’s Development Code determines how land can be used throughout the city – including what can be built, where it can be built, and how much can (and cannot) be built.

This development code outlines process for notification, decision making authority, and development standards for a variety of types of projects you see throughout the City.

The 2030 Plan called for a UDC diagnostic review to implement several recommendations related to buffers, residential lot sizes, open space, density, connectivity, highway corridors, historic resources, transfers of development rights, and criteria for special districts such as municipal utility districts. We recently started the rewrite process, which we expect will last through 2024.

Your awareness and input is critical to shaping how future development will look, how development requests are evaluated, and how the community will be able to participate in future development requests.

We are asking you, the residents of Georgetown, to help identify elements of the built community that you feel best represent the community of Georgetown and its character.

Please stay tuned to Georgetown.org for physical and virtual outreach events soon, and please email planning@georgetown.org to request a planner come to visit with your group to share education on the City’s Development Code.

Get involved

Get involved: Form a neighborhood association

  • A neighborhood association is a voluntary organization of neighbors (property owners, residents, and possibly representatives from businesses, churches, and schools) who work together to improve and maintain the quality of life in their neighborhood.
  • Your neighborhood association can register to be notified of land use changes within 300 feet of the boundaries of your established neighborhood association.
  • The City meets quarterly with neighborhood leaders. If you would like your neighborhood association leaders to be added to that list, please email pio@georgetown.org.
Investing in you: from public safety to parks and downtown

Investing in you

From our public safety initiatives to our second-to-none parks, arts, events, and downtown, we continue to invest in ways that make your lives in Georgetown easier and richer.

Public safety: police and fire

Public Safety

Police Department

  • Police calls: Increased 58% from FY2011, to more than 27,600 in 2021
    • Despite the increase in calls for service, Part 1 crimes have remained relatively flat, while the population has increased an estimated 74% since 2011. Georgetown is still a very safe place.
  • Lock it down Georgetown
  • Named Cory Tchida our police chief
  • Increased police patrol staffing
  • K9 program
  • Continue CommUNITY initiative
  • Animal Shelter retained no-kill status for 8th year in a row

Fire Department

  • Number of Fire/EMS calls:
    • 245% increase from 2011 (5,714 to 13,939)
    • 30% increase from 2020 to 2022: ~10K in 2020, compared to ~14K in 2022
  • GFD was awarded the American Heart Association Mission Lifeline Gold Plus Designation for our pre-hospital cardiac and stroke program
  • New fire codes related to animal protection
  • Overstaffing for fire
  • Public Safety compensation: Public safety staffing shortages have been realized nationwide and locally. To address this, City Council approved a competitive compensation program that will attract and retain high-caliber paramedics and firefighters. The compensation program is re-evaluated each year to ensure market competitiveness.

Parks: parks updates in 2022 and projects in 2023

Parks

2022:

    • South Main Arts District: Ribbon cutting Oct. 20
    • Heritage Community Gardens opened
    • University Park
    • Rec on the Go, bringing fun and games to neighborhood parks

Completion in 2023:

    • Two Step Inn festival: April 15-16 in San Gabriel Park
    • San Gabriel Park Phase III: Construction to start in May, estimated 12 months
    • San Gabriel Trail at Wolf Crossing from University Avenue to IH-35: Ribbon cutting this winter
    • Recreation Center Feasibility Study: Consultant to be selected early this year, with results expected in early summer
    • Design on:
      • Crystal Knoll
      • Westhaven Linear
      • La Conterra

Economic Development and downtown

Economic Development

  • New Director: Cameron Goodman
  • Six major projects totaling $165M + 2,000 jobs announced in FY2022 | Four received incentive agreements
    • Ubiquity
      • Everyone very excited about this one, the new internet provider in town
    • North Georgetown TIRZ
    • CelLink
    • ONX Homes
    • GAMA
    • GAF Energy
  • This year: More than a dozen active development agreements
  • Costco: Has broken ground; no timeline, but required to be built by 2024
  • Economic Development Strategic Plan update

We are updating Georgetown’s Economic Development Strategic Plan this year. A strategic plan is critical for the city’s economic development efforts to ensure Georgetown is working with sharp focus to bring high-quality jobs and investment to our community.

This plan is typically updated every 3 – 5 years, with it most recently being updated in 2018. As you can imagine, the world has changed significantly in that time due to changes caused by COVID-19 and shifts in the global economy. The timing of this study will consider these impacts and help to ensure Georgetown is competing for the types of jobs and businesses that will continue to make it a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

Downtown: New record of nearly $20M in downtown reinvestment

  • Downtown façade program: $28K in grants awarded to businesses and property owners
  • Six new businesses & one expansion
    • Hydrate (expansion)
    • Rentsch Brewery Outpost
    • Niche House of Intimates
    • Union Merchant
    • Lulu’s Pie Shoppe
    • Texas Made Supply Co.
    • Silver Moon Curios
  • New Director for Downtown and Tourism: Kim McAuliffe
  • 2022 marked 40 years of our Main Street program, celebrated and recorded as a documentary

Downtown Parking Garage: Moving forward with plans to build a parking garage at Block 27 (formerly known as Tamiro Plaza), 501 Austin Ave.; still finalizing design.

Economic development and Downtown Georgetown

Downtown master plan

It’s not by chance that downtown Georgetown is a destination for residents and visitors alike. Through concentrated efforts and careful planning, the heart of Georgetown continues to improve and thrive, growing each year as the bustling city center it was intended to be.

The Downtown Master Plan provides a framework for development and redevelopment in the Downtown Overlay District in Georgetown, which is the 40-block area around the Courthouse Square. The Downtown Master Plan was initially adopted in 2003 and was previously updated in 2014. The City Council approved initiating the update of the Downtown Master Plan during mid-year 2022. The project will involve opportunities for input from key stakeholders and the public and will also entail coordination with a number of other projects, including Austin Avenue pedestrian bridges, Austin Avenue Corridor Study, and the Unified Development Code Update.

The Downtown Master Plan serves as a guiding document for downtown and is in the process of being updated. This update will take place over the next 14 months and will serve our community for many years to come.

Arts and events

Arts and events

  • Arts: A lot of events and opportunities
    • Sculpture tours
    • Murals
    • Grants
    • Spring Art Stroll in April and Autumn Art Stroll in October
    • (already mentioned in parks) South Main Arts Festival in new SOMA District
    • New partnerships: With water conservation (painted rain barrels) and with the County (175th mural)
  • Events
    • Welcomed back the Red Poppy festival last year; set to have another spectacular event this April
    • Lighting of the Square
    • 12th annual Swirl in March
    • 3rd annual Beer Crawl this summer
    • Working on greater City partnerships for: Fiesta Georgetown and Juneteenth

Customer Service

Customer service: investments in 2022 and 2023

In 2022:

    • Graduated 25 from our first Civic Leadership Academy and have 44 registered this year.
    • Expanded limited paratransit services to include curb-to-curb rides for Georgetown residents age 65 and older
    • Updated phone systems
    • Opened up a Little Lemon in the Library
    • Launched FlashVote to collect public feedback. Two surveys so far (reporting issues to the city and communications: More than 1,000 responses!)
      • Look for more (~1 per month) this year – if you aren’t signed up already, fix that!

In 2023:

      • Launch Text Power
      • Redesign the website
      • 175th celebrations
      • Still working on 311-like system
      • Library Strategic Plan update

Taxes and bills

2022 sales tax

Sales Tax

  • Sales tax revenue totaled $50.4M in 2022
    • An 18.6% increase over 2021 and a multi-year consistent, trend
    • Sales tax has grown in Georgetown by more than 48% in the last three years.
    • Sales tax revenue downtown alone was nearly $900,000: A 22% increase over FY21.

Cost of service: property tax rate

Cost of service: Property tax rate

Council and staff remain committed to keeping our costs of service as low as possible, while continuing to plan and manage growth and provide an excellent level of customer service and making sure you get good value for your money.

This first slide shows property taxes in our region: Our rate is second lowest only to Round Rock

Cost of service: monthly bills

Cost of service: Property tax rate

This next slide covers monthly costs of service, including property taxes, electric, water, wastewater, trash, drainage, and user fees: We’re second lowest here, too, only to Cedar Park.

These comparison charts remained relatively the same, even with the adopted water/wastewater rate changes.

We have and will continue to ask your input as we move forward, on initiatives, plans, projects, and more.

State of the City event: Feb. 15, 2023

State of the City | 2024 | Feb. 1 at 7pm

Open House | 6-7:30 p.m. at City Hall

Georgetown residents were invited to City Hall, 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St., to learn more about and provide feedback on a variety of City projects and plans.

  • Williams Drive Enhancement to increase the efficiency and safety of the corridor.
  • Austin Avenue Corridor Study to identify transportation needs and a vision for several subareas
  • along the corridor.
  • Unified Development Code Diagnostic and Rewrite to implement several recommendations related to buffers, residential lot sizes, open space, density, connectivity, highway corridors, historic resources, transfers of development rights, and criteria for special districts such as municipal utility districts.
  • Downtown Master Plan to provide a framework for development and redevelopment in the Downtown Overlay District in Georgetown, which is the 40-block area around the Courthouse Square.

These projects are just getting started, and you can read brief summaries, tentative timelines, and more information here.

Residents also learned more about and met City staff from the following departments as well:

View the 2022 State of the City presentation and videos

View the 2021 State of the City information

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