Due to coronavirus effects, Georgetown City Council to decide if proposed mobility bond should be on 2020 or 2021 ballot

From left, City Manager David Morgan, Mayor Dale Ross and City Secretary Robyn Densmore teleconference with the other council members and city staff March 24. (Screenshot courtesy city of Georgetown)
From left, City Manager David Morgan, Mayor Dale Ross and City Secretary Robyn Densmore teleconference with the other council members and city staff March 24. (Screenshot courtesy city of Georgetown)

From left, City Manager David Morgan, Mayor Dale Ross and City Secretary Robyn Densmore teleconference with the other council members and city staff March 24. (Screenshot courtesy city of Georgetown)

Georgetown staff have outlined a proposed bond program process, including purpose, a tentative schedule, a citizen bond committee structure, a public engagement and education plan, and anticipated cost to coordinate the bond program.

By 2022 the city will have substantially completed all construction for 2008 and 2015 road bond projects, staff said. Based on this fact, in mid-February City Council directed staff to study options for bringing a mobility bond proposal to voters in November 2020 for transportation projects.


On March 24 staff brought the outline to council but also sought direction on delaying the bond until a 2021 election due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Council decided to readdress the bond proposal in May and postpone making a decision about whether it should be taken to voters in 2020 or 2021.

City Manager David Morgan said staff does need about nine months to run the full public process.



The bond’s purpose is to advance Georgetown’s connectivity and safety by upgrading streets, bridges, bike networks and sidewalks, and delivering projects consistent with community expectations to manage accelerated growth, Bridget Hinze Weber, assistant to the city manager, said in a presentation to city council. Specific goals include:




  • increase capacity of roadway network with high traffic volume;

  • improve intersections and build sidewalks throughout Georgetown to create new connections within and among neighborhoods; and

  • coordinate with other planned transportation work to accelerate delivery to Georgetown residents.



The citizen bond committee would consist of 16 members appointed by the mayor and council; the mayor would appoint two co-chairs, and the council would appoint two members each, Weber said. The committee would review and vet criteria for projects, prioritize and rank staff-proposed streets and sidewalks improvement projects, review financial feasibility of proposed program, provide opportunities for community input, serve as community educators for the bond program and develop and submit a report to the council of a final project list for proposed bond program.

The public would be asked to provide input on four categories of importance and the preferred methods to improve those categories, which include:



  • improve safety

  • manage congestion

  • improve connections to neighborhoods

  • improve quality of streets



The city also wants to gauge support of a potential tax rate increase through a bond package, survey the public sentiment of including other types of projects in the bond and offer an e-newsletter platform for bond program communications, Weber said.

Residents would be asked for feedback via open houses and online surveys.



Once the projects, bond amount and ballot items are approved by council, the city would conduct a campaign to educate and inform residents about the bond program and projects, Weber said.

Estimated anticipatory costs




  • $50,000—consultant fee to develop detailed cost estimates and exhibits for each project including design, construction, ongoing operations and maintenance costs, and escalation factors for cost inflation over time frame it will take to administer the bond program;

  • $3,000—committee support (food, printed materials)

  • $10,000—public engagement costs

  • $30,000—county fee for election management



Bond program schedule



1. Public engagement activities to receive feedback about the primary focus areas and sentiment for bond debt



2. Council approves appointment of citizen bond committee members



3. Citizen bond committee to start meeting



4. Provide public feedback to citizen committee



5. Ranking/prioritization and initial recommendation development



6. Second round of public engagement activities to receive feedback about the proposed bond projects



7. Final recommendation developed



8. Citizen committee presents project recommendations and report to council



9. Council adoption of finalized project list



10. Council calls bond election by deadline set by the Texas secretary of state



11. Outreach and education to public, agency partners and stakeholders until election day

By Sally Grace Holtgrieve
Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019.


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