Special election call tabled and preserving city history: 5 takeaways from Monday’s Lakeway City Council meeting

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1. Council tables decision on June 16 special election, hoping to avert voter confusion
Concerns over possible voter confusion and election fairness led a majority of Lakeway City Council members to put off for one week approving a call for a special election June 16 to fill a vacancy left by mayoral candidate Jean Hennagin. Per the state’s constitution, Hennagin resigned her council seat to run in the May 5 mayoral race. Two council seats are also vacant.

The state constitution dictates a special election must be called within 120 days of a council member’s resignation date. In Hennagin’s case that was Feb. 16.

Complicating matters are possible city runoff elections already set for June 16.  Hennegin expressed concern mayoral candidates could also run for the third open council place.

The city’s attorney was instructed ask the state Attorney General’s Office for an exemption to the 120-day rule in hopes the special election would be held sometime in July. Council is due to meet next Monday April 23 in a special session to set an official date for the special election in the event Hennagin is chosen as mayor.

2. Lakeway Medical Village developer secures conditional allocation of impervious cover in return for promised amenity improvements

Water fountains and walking trails are among the amenities expected to be finished within a year at Lakeway’s medical village project after council’s conditional blessing on Monday.

Council members were looking for assurances developer Aqua Land Lakeway Medical, LLC would follow through with a verbal commitment to the Medical Village’s condominium association. The agreement is for Aqua to contribute $315,000 to improve common areas before it builds two new offices on the multi-use site. Aqua will have to show city staff a signed agreement between the two parties before final building certificates ares issued.

“I’m looking for solid information. We’ve already been taken once [when different executives ran Aqua]. I just need to feel firm,” Mayor Joe Bain said at the meeting. 

After some discussion, council gave the go-ahead to allocate 163,000 square feet of impervious cover to the two building sites which will result in the village being built out eight years after plans were first presented, according to city staff.

One possible tenant in talks for space in Building 3 could be the Ladies of Charity Lake Travis Thrift Shop which would have volunteers coming from the nearby high school and an adjacent independent living center, according to a spokesperson for the nonprofit who addressed council.

3. TexARTS receives nearly $50,000 from Lakeway’s hotel occupancy tax
City Council approved a request Monday from nonprofit TexARTS for $24,500 to cover half of the cost of an advertising campaign for five professional productions with around 53 performances. The scheduled dates at Lakeway’s Kam and James Morris Theatre, 2300 Lohmans Spur, Lakeway, range from July into March 2019.

At the same meeting, TexARTS also received $50,000 from council to pay for costumes, set design, artists’ salaries and music. When royalties and travel are added in, it costs between $165,000 and $185,000 to produce TexARTS’ 2018-19 season, a letter presented to council showed.

The nonprofit also receives grants from other entities such as the Texas Commission on the Arts/National Endowment for the Arts, according to TexARTs staff.

4. Lakeway mutual aid agreement with Bee Cave Police gets the go-ahead
Council okayed a one-year interlocal agreement with Bee Cave for shared police resources for calls where assistance is needed “for the purposes of efficient and effective police services.”

5. Mini grant sought to digitally preserve Lakeway’s history
The city of Lakeway will apply for $1,000 to digitize historical books, photos and maps in the Lakeway Heritage Center. The grant will come from the Portal to Texas History program at the University of North Texas. Some of the scanned items will appear on the city’s website.

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Rob Maxwell
Rob Maxwell joined the world of print journalism and Community Impact in Sept. 2017 as editor of the Lake Travis - Westlake edition. He previously enjoyed a successful and rewarding career in radio and television news. In his spare time, Rob can be found scoping out area climbing walls and hiking trails. He lives in Cedar Park with his wife and daughters and looks forward to receiving his LCP edition of Community Impact Newspaper every month.
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