Funding eligibility, clarifying state and county orders key topics in Lakeway mayor's latest weekly address

Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox delivered her weekly address to residents May 14. (Screenshot courtesy city of Lakeway)
Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox delivered her weekly address to residents May 14. (Screenshot courtesy city of Lakeway)

Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox delivered her weekly address to residents May 14. (Screenshot courtesy city of Lakeway)

During her weekly address on the city of Lakeway's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Sandy Cox discussed a range of topics, from clarifying orders from the state and county to funding the city might be eligible for.

"The governor's orders trump the [Travis County] judge's orders and the mayor's [of Austin] orders," Cox said during her May 14 address. "We are adhering to the governor's orders, and we're also adhering to the judge's orders where they don't conflict with the governor's orders."

Lakeway's orders generally adhere to both the county and the state for the most part, she said, and added the city of Lakeway cannot mandate wearing masks or staying home but is encouraging those behaviors.

Cox also discussed social responsibility with regard to transmitting COVID-19 to more vulnerable populations and invoked an example from her own circumstance.

"In my case, my mother is going through cancer right now ... so I'm going to wear a mask around her, and I want everyone else to wear a mask around her," she said. "So I really want to appeal to your social responsibility. It's not just about us. It's about others around us."


State-mandated testing for residents and staff at nursing facilities implemented by fire departments was another topic of discussion, and Cox said Lake Travis Fire Rescue is working to put procedures in place for that mandate, but answers are not fully formed yet regarding time frames.

Another change Cox talked about is the city and county coronavirus relief fund of $11.2 billion for the state of Texas.

Smaller cities the size of Lakeway must get their relief money through Travis County's roughly $60 million coronavirus fund, Cox said, and added officials are now working with the county to establish a process to understand what Lakeway might be eligible for.

On another topic, the Lake Travis region has benefited from extraordinary generosity from the community, Cox said and thanked all who have contributed to supporting those less fortunate in the area.

Cox also brought up an agenda item coming up during the 6:30 p.m. Lakeway City Council meeting May 18 dealing with possible avenues of assistance through the city's hotel tax fund.

"We made an ask of legislators to make a modification to the laws that regulate hotel tax, and we have yet to hear back at this point," Cox said.

During the end of her address, Cox answered several questions, including about city budgetary concerns and a project to install safety medians along RM 620 that is funded by the Texas Department of Transportation and is on track to finish on time.

Increased rainy day funds within the general fund have been a big help to the city budget so far, Cox said, but it is still too soon to say exactly what the financial impact of COVID-19 crisis will be to the city.

"Stay tuned; we can't answer the question fully yet, but for this fiscal year we feel like we have a plan to make sure that we don't have any issues through the end of September, and then we'll start the planning for the summer," Cox said.

Regarding when businesses can open or open to greater capacity, Cox said city officials are looking into it and added the city's Memorial Day celebration will still happen online.

There is no solid information on the city's Fourth of July event at this time, Cox said.

"We have to make sure we don't create an event where everyone congregates, and then the next thing you know we've passed COVID along to a large part of our population," Cox said.

The mayor closed the discussion by stating there are 42 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the Lakeway area, including five in the 78669 ZIP code, 16 in 78734 and 21 in 78738, but she said that amounts to 12 active cases due to the timelines for reporting.

To see the mayor's May 14 address, click here.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018. From there he became a dual-market editor for Community Impact's New Braunfels and San Marcos-Buda-Kyle editions. Brian is now a senior editor for the company's flagship papers, the Round Rock and Pflugerville-Hutto editions.


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