General manager of Georgetown Utility Systems will retire

Jim Briggs, longtime general manager for Georgetown Utility Systems, announced his retirement May 2, according to a news release.

Briggs, who began working for the city in 1986 as a public works engineer, will step down at the end of September, the release said.

“Jim is a pillar of Georgetown and in the utility profession,” City Manager David Morgan said in the release. “His tremendous contributions to the city organization and our community are greatly appreciated.”

Jim Briggs[/caption]

In 1989, Briggs was promoted to the director of public utilities, and in 2000, he was promoted again to assistant city manager for utility operations, the release said. In 2010, he was named the general manager of utilities, it said.

When Briggs began his career, Georgetown had a population of about 13,000 people, where 6,000 were water customers and 7,000 were electric customers, the release said. In his tenure, the city experienced significant growth. In 2019, Georgetown now has a population of 70,000 people with more than 45,000 water customers and 25,000 electric customers, the release said.

“I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow professionally in such a great community and a great career in Georgetown,” Briggs said in the release. “I honestly didn’t think I’d be here more than a couple years when I started.”

Briggs has also been at the forefront of the Georgetown energy issue, where the city found its fiscal year 2017-18 electric fund budget short $6.84 million after it was unable to sell excess energy as it had predicted.

Projected energy costs for Georgetown between 2016 and 2018 were $26 million lower than what the city needed to meet its contractual obligations and provide electric service.

This led the city to begin searching for two outside consultants to oversee its energy portfolio and another to review the city’s management of energy purchases.

The city entered a 20-year, 144-megawatt-hour capacity deal with EDF Renewable Energy’s Spinning Spur 3 wind farm that began operating in 2015 and a 25-year, 150-mWh agreement with the Buckthorn solar plant, now owned by Clearway Energy, which began operating in 2018.

Georgetown also has smaller contracts with a wind farm operated by American Electric Power that will expire in 2028 and a natural gas producer owned by Mercuria that will end in 2022.

Georgetown has an existing contract with Garland Power and Light to manage energy sales mostly involving the Mercuria contract, Briggs said.

City officials said at the time the decision to buy more energy than Georgetown needs in the present day was part of a strategy to plan for future growth and take advantage of increasing prices predicted in the state’s wholesale energy market managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, but that had not been proven true over the last several years.
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.


The front of a pediatricians office.
Georgetown Pediatrics hosts grand opening June 26

The event will include family-fun activities as well as chances to meet the pediatricians and tour the clinic.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special legislative session will begin July 8. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces special legislative session to start July 8

Agenda items will be announced before the session begins, according to a release from the governor's office.

Williamson County courthouse
More than $2M of federal dollars to help Williamson County projects

County staff has identified a total of 10 high-priority projects countywide to be funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Program.

The front of the Georgetown ISD building.
Georgetown ISD announces new principal at Carver Elementary School

Tosha Vanmetre has worked in various positions in Georgetown and Manor ISDs.

Rachael Jonrowe currently represents District 6 on Georgetown City Council. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)
Georgetown City Council Member Rachael Jonrowe to resign

The District 6 representative cited multiple reasons in a June 7 video posted to Facebook.

H-E-B has two stores in Georgetown, including one off I-35. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
H-E-B celebrates 55 years in Georgetown

Georgetown's two H-E-B stores will celebrate the major milestone June 26.

Coronavirus vaccines
Half of Williamson County’s population now vaccinated

Williamson County has crossed an important threshold in the quest to reach effective herd immunity.

A medium sized black and white dog.
Two overcapacity Georgetown animal shelters are offering free adoptions through June 20

The shelters have teamed up to help with an overflow of adoptable dogs and cats.

Volunteers of Austin Vaccine Angels gathered after becoming fully vaccinated. (Courtesy Jodi Holzband)
Grassroots groups aimed at vaccine outreach look toward the future

For the past five months, grassroots volunteer groups have been working to connect thousands of Central Texans to COVID-19 vaccines.

The two intersection improvement projects cost $875,350 and took seven months to complete. (Courtesy Williamson County)
Williamson County celebrates completion of projects along Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Georgetown

Williamson County held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of two key intersection improvement projects.

Washington Prime Group Inc. owns six area shopping centers, including The Arboretum. (Courtesy The Arboretum)
Owner of Austin-area shopping centers files for bankruptcy; entertainment complex coming to Cedar Park and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

The Bloomhouse—an 1,100-square-foot home in the hills of West Austin—was built in the 1970s by University of Texas architecture students for fellow student Dalton Bloom. It was featured in the Austin Weird Homes Tour of 2020. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Weird Homes Tour ends; Z’Tejas to close Arboretum restaurant and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.