Williamson County Commissioners Court looks to reduce risk with flood protection plan

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The Williamson County Commissioners Court approved the adoption of the county’s flood protection plan to better prepare the county in an emergency on Feb. 5.

The plan will look to improve flood mitigation and is in collaboration with cities and districts within the county, Senior Director of Emergency Services Chris Connealy said. The plan looks to develop strategies on how to improve first-responder readiness, identify potential projects and tools to enhance preparedness, and reduce risks and hazards to residents, Connealy said.

“It’s one thing to have a plan, but what are you going to do with that plan?” Connealy said.

Williamson County is prone to flash floods, especially in the spring and summer. In October, significant rain and flooding caused the city of Austin to declare a boil-water notice affecting nearly 80,000 Williamson County residents.

During that time, Williamson County conducted several water rescues, including a wedding party of more than 60 people in Liberty Hill.

Connealy said the plan will allow for a conversation to begin between stakeholders on how to better prepare for future floods.

“Flooding is our primary disaster issue in Williamson County; No. 1 challenge for us by far,” Connealy said. “And with the weather getting more and more challenging to deal with, we need to focus on that because we have a huge responsibility to the public.”

The court will receive annual updates as part of the five-year plan.

In other business:

  • The court agreed to create a subcommittee to review recommended changes to the Williamson County Subdivision Regulations. The subcommittee will be headed by county engineer Terron Evertson and have at least seven other members, including Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long and Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey. Other appointments will be recommended to the court by June 2.
  • The court held its first budget workshop Feb. 5 for the fiscal year 2019-20 budget. The court discussed the current state of the county’s salary study, which is working on emergency services personnel, among other employees. The court also discussed technology, personnel, facility maintenance and capital improvements to consider in the next budget. The court plans to vote on a budget by Aug. 28.
  • The Commissioners Court approved to begin live streaming its weekly regular meetings. The court currently records its meetings and puts the video online after adjournment. Commissioner Court meetings are held Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. in the Williamson County Courthouse, 710 Main St., Georgetown.

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Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.
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