Travis County Tax Office employees arrested, Hutto ISD names new assistant superintendent and more: 7 stories you may have missed this weekend

Multiple Travis County Tax Office employees arrested for alleged fraudulent activities
According to a statement from Travis County Tax Assessor Collector Bruce Elfant, investigators from the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived the afternoon of May 18 at both the main office and satellite office to serve search warrants and arrest employees.

The investigation began as a result of an internal audit conducted by the Travis County Auditor, Elfant said.

“Since this is an ongoing investigation, I am not able to discuss any further details. However, please know I am appalled and extremely disappointed that members of my staff have been implicated in fraudulent activities that have violated the trust of Travis County residents,” Elfant said.

Round Rock ISD approves pay raises for 2018-19 academic year
The Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees voted May 17 to approve a 2 percent salary increase for district employees in the 2018-19 academic year.

The starting salary for teachers, librarians and registered nurses will increase to $46,000 and years 1-6 will be adjusted to improve pay progression. Eligible employees will receive a $1,010 general pay increase.

The starting salary for counselors and licensed professionals will increase to $50,700 with a $1,225 general pay increase.

All other pay grades will increase by 1 percent with a 2 percent increase of the pay range midpoint. Equity adjustments will also be made for educator pathway differentials.

The total estimated cost of the salary increases is $6,224,006 with an estimated $5,850,566 impact to the district’s general fund.

Pflugerville Community Development Corporation hires Business Recruitment Director
The Pflugerville Community Development Corporation (PCDC) announced the appointment of Jerry Briones as Business Recruitment Director at its May 17 board of directors meeting.

Briones is now responsible for overseeing PCDC's recruiting efforts, as well as aiding in local business retention and expansion.

Hutto ISD brings on new Assistant Superintendent for Operations

Hutto ISD on May 16 announced Henry Gideon as the district's new Assistant Superintendent for Operations.

Gideon's duties at Hutto ISD will include facilities and maintenance oversight, real property and land use planning, strategic planning and more.

The new assistant superintendent most recently worked as Chief Operations Officer at Boerne ISD. Previous to his role at Boerne ISD, Gideon spent 24 years at Bastrop ISD in a variety of roles.

Pflugerville ISD trustees discuss a potential 2018 bond
At the May 17 Pflugerville ISD Board of Trustees meeting, board members heard the first update from Huckabee Architects, the firm chosen to evaluate all of the district’s facilities, equipment and infrastructure in coordination with the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee.

On April 17, PfISD announced the formation of a CFAC made up of representatives from the community, including parents, teachers, church leaders and other district residents who were selected through staff and board member nominations. The committee will meet periodically to review and prioritize various facilities update plans before making a final recommendation to the board at its July 19 meeting.

After gathering information and input about what schools and facilities need improvements, a cost estimate will be calculated that will determine if the board will consider a bond election this November and what the bond would be valued at.

Flix Brewhouse named as second tenant at Co-Op District
Flix Brewhouse was announced as the Co-Op District’s entertainment anchor at the May 17 Hutto City Council meeting.

The movie theater chain offers craft beer brewed in-house as well as dining options for moviegoers.

Flix Brewhouse Senior Vice President Real Estate and Brand Development Matt Silvers did not specify how many theaters and seats the Hutto Flix Brewhouse location will offer, but estimated that 6,000 to 7,000 customers will visit the site every week.

The Flix Brewhouse location will be the first movie theater in Hutto. The closest theater to Hutto is currently the Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center— more than 5 miles away from downtown Hutto. The Howard Theatre in Taylor and the Cinemark Movies 8 in Round Rock are both more than 8 miles outside of town.

Hutto City Council votes to approve council member compensation
Hutto City Council passed a resolution May 17 to compensate council members and the mayor after a recommendation from the city manager and city attorney.

As outlined in a memo from Hutto City Manager Odis Jones to the council, members will now be compensated for their time served on the council at a rate of $1,200 per month for council members and $1,500 per month for the mayor.

The city of Hutto will now pay $104,400 in compensation for Hutto City Council service. Council members and the mayor have not been compensated in the past.

By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.