Additional park acreage, new voting machines top April meetings in Williamson County

The Williamson County Courthouse is a prominent center to Georgetown's historic character.

The Williamson County Courthouse is a prominent center to Georgetown's historic character.

Williamson County commissioners approved additional park acres and new voting machines during their April meetings.

Read more on these five top stories.

1. Commissioners approve additional 350 acres for River Ranch County Park

The Williamson County commissioners approved the expansion of River Ranch County Park by 350 acres during its April 16 meeting.

“[The county has] been given the opportunity of a lifetime to add 350 acres to what is already a beautiful park,”  Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long said.

The additional acreage will make River Ranch almost twice the size of the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park and is equivalent to adding Austin’s Zilker Park to what is already being constructed.

Read more here.

2. County department heads request 174 new positions for fiscal year 2019-20 budget

Heads of several Williamson County departments met with county commissioners April 17 to make their cases for budget requests ahead of the fiscal year 2019-20 budget season.

County Judge Bill Gravell said county departments had requested 174 new personnel but that he would be surprised if the county’s budget office recommended 40 positions following request reviews. Gravell added that the cost to fund all the positions would be upwards of $15 million.

Read more here.

3. Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority to extend Toll 183A

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is moving ahead with expanding its Toll 183A from Hero Way in Leander to north of Hwy. 29 in Liberty Hill.

Mobility Authority Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein updated the Williamson County Commissioners Court on the status of current and future projects as well as the agency’s annual financial report during an April 23 meeting.

Read more here.

4. County moves forward with purchasing new voting machines

The Williamson County Commissioners Court approved the purchasing of new voting machines and equipment during its April 30 meeting.

The new machines would cost $4.41 million, just short of the $4.5 million budgeted for the purchase in the fiscal year 2018-19 budget.

The county intends to have the new machines in by June to begin the setup and installation process. The machines will be ready for use by the November election to give voters time to get comfortable with the process ahead of the 2020 election, Davis said.

Read more here.

5. Commissioners set rate for county Health Care Provider Participation Program

The Williamson County commissioners set the rate for the Williamson County Health Care Provider Participation Program on April 30.

The rate was set at 1.59%.

Through House Bill 3954 in the 86th Texas Legislature, Williamson County was authorized to create a municipal health care provider participation program and establish a local provider participation fund. In this, all area hospitals within Williamson County agree to make mandatory payments to the county at that rate during fiscal year 2018-19.

The money is then matched by federal money and is used to fund participation in the Uniform Hospital Rate Increase Program, a federal program that provides dollars to offset the uncompensated care costs associated with treating indigent patients. The match money is only receivable through a governing entity, which is why the hospitals come together and work with the county to be in the program.

Read more here.
By 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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