City manager says despite pandemic, Georgetown will continue to see growth and must budget accordingly

According to Georgetown City Manager David Morgan, new development such as Wolf Crossing, Holt Cat and Academy Sports & Outdoors offsets other areas impacted by business closures regarding sales tax. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)
According to Georgetown City Manager David Morgan, new development such as Wolf Crossing, Holt Cat and Academy Sports & Outdoors offsets other areas impacted by business closures regarding sales tax. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)

According to Georgetown City Manager David Morgan, new development such as Wolf Crossing, Holt Cat and Academy Sports & Outdoors offsets other areas impacted by business closures regarding sales tax. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)

Discussions on the city of Georgetown’s budget are underway once again, but unlike previous years, COVID-19 must be factored into decision making.

A workshop on July 21 served as a chance for City Council members to weigh options and provide direction so staff can come back in August with a proposed budget reflecting the feedback, a news release said. The preliminary budget also incorporates feedback received from residents through an online survey conducted in June. Of the more than 650 residents who took the survey, the majority:

  • would not support changes to property taxes or user fees;

  • rated the value of city services and the city’s efforts to address the impacts of growth as “good;” and

  • would support increased funding to manage traffic and infrastructure/roads.


The overall focus of the fiscal year 2020-21 budget is to preserve and maintain city services in response both to growth and uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic, City Manager David Morgan said. It includes funding for 14.5 new positions, including staff for Fire Station No. 7; additional training for police; and initiating design for improvements to D.B. Wood Road, the last, large project from the 2015 bond. The budget proposal also includes cuts to base budgets in training, travel, and supplies as well as freezing six positions in the general fund for at least a partial year.

The preliminary budget does not include increases to the property tax rate, but it does reflect staff recommendations to increase sanitation rates to help pay for increased costs with Texas Disposal Systems, the reconstruction of the transfer station and improvements to the household hazardous waste program, the release said.

Additionally, the city is working with a contractor to study the costs to provide water service and may recommend rate increases as a result. Due to projected revenue losses as a result of COVID-19, the preliminary budget does not include merit raises for city employees—a first in five years—and likely will result in fewer parks and recreation programming. The general fund budget does include a preliminary estimate of $82,000 toward market increases that will affect about 240 city employees across all funds and an additional $656,000 for step raises and market increases for police and fire staff.

“We won’t know the true effects COVID-19 will have on our local economy and, as a result, the city budget, for several months,” Morgan said. “We do expect the uncertainty to last into the next fiscal year, and are budgeting conservatively, with that in mind.”


The following is a detailed breakdown of Georgetown’s general fund revenue. The general fund is the primary operating fund for the city.



Budget timeline


  • June 10-June 26: Budget engagement

  • July 21: City Council budget workshop

  • Aug. 11: First presentation of the full budget; City Council sets maximum tax rate and public hearing dates

  • Sept. 8: Public hearings and first reading of both the tax rate and the budget

  • To be determined: Second reading and final adoption of the tax rate and budget

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.


MOST RECENT

Williamson County saw a big drop in daily reported coronavirus cases Aug. 5. (Screenshot courtesy Williamson County)
Williamson County sees big drop in daily reported coronavirus cases Aug. 5

The county did report three additional coronavirus-related deaths.

Prima Dora sells unique gifts by local artists, and it opened in Georgetown on Aug. 4. (Courtesy Prima Dora)
Prima Dora shop, new coffeehouse now open, plus more Georgetown business news

Wish Well House is a wedding and event venue slated to open in 2021 at 511 S. Main St., Georgetown.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument stands on the south grounds of the Texas Capitol. A group of Democratic lawmakers have called for its removal, along with other statues and portraits honoring the Confederacy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators seek removal of Confederate monuments at Texas Capitol

The decision may ultimately lie with Gov. Greg Abbott and the rest of the State Preservation Board, which last year authorized the removal of a plaque in the Capitol that said slavery was not an underlying cause of the Confederate rebellion.

Unemployment claims by Georgetown residents continue to drop as the pandemic continues, according to Texas Workforce Commission data. (Designed by Chance Flowers/Community Impact Newspaper)
DATA: Georgetown unemployment claims dips back down as the coronavirus pandemic continues

Unemployment continues to volley in Georgetown. Take a look.

Here is the Williamson County COVID-19 case update for Aug. 4. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Williamson County confirms 98 new COVID-19 cases Aug. 4

The county reported no additional deaths.

The Commissioners Court also voted to set a maximum total tax rate of $0.458719 per $100 valuation, which is the current tax rate. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County commissioners accept $390.37 million recommended budget for FY 2020-21

The Commissioners Court also voted to set a maximum total tax rate of $0.458719 per $100 valuation, which is the current tax rate.

In the last year, Whataburger launched a new, modern restaurant design and began offering curbside and delivery services for the first time amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the release. (Courtesy Elizabeth James for Whataburger)
Whataburger to celebrate 70th anniversary, unveil food truck, expand into 3 states

Nine more new Whataburger locations are planned by year's end, and 35 new restaurants are proposed for 2021.

The U.S. Census Bureau will halt its counting operation a month earlier than expected. (Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau)
U.S. Census Bureau to halt counting operation a month earlier than expected

The self-response deadline has moved up to Sept. 30.

Developers said they expect Ascension Seton’s medical office building to be the first project to break ground at Wolf Lakes Village. (Courtesy Wolf Lakes Village)
Wolf Lakes Village now scheduled to break ground in March 2021

Developers said they expect Ascension Seton’s medical office building to be the first project to break ground at Wolf Lakes Village.

Georgetown ISD schools have released back-to-school plans for the 2020-21 school year. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Georgetown ISD schools release individual campus plans for return of 2020-21 school year

See how your school plans to open when in-person classes begin.