Looking back on 2011 and forward to 2012: Round Rock

Top decisions in 2011

  • Calling for the hotel tax and Type B sales tax election — The Round Rock City Council called for a November election in 2011 to settle two major issues—the financing of an indoor sports complex and the expanded use of the city's economic development fund. The second item was previously voted down in 2010, but voters changed their tune in 2011 as both measures passed. The city can now move forward with a long-awaited sports arena as well as tap a pot of money that dwarfs that of nearby competitors in order to bring in new businesses. "There was so much that had to happen to get to this point now," Mayor Alan McGraw said of the sports complex.
  • Continuing a "conservative" budget approach — City Manager Steve Norwood cited "continuing a conservative budget" as one of the top decisions the City Council made in 2011. The city's budget rose from $134.7 million in 2010 to $137.4 million in 2011.
  • Red-light cameras — While maybe not the most far-reaching decision, it was certainly among the most controversial as one of the few disputed votes the council had in 2011. Passed 5-2—with Craig Morgan and Joe Clifford dissenting—the cameras were implemented Dec. 14. In other cities, most notably Houston, cameras have been taken down after negative reactions from residents.

Top issues for 2012

  • Transportation — For years, the city has contracted with Capital Area Rural Transportation System to provide on-demand bus services, primarily for the elderly and disabled. However, with its contract with CARTS expiring—it has been extended into May 2012—the city is trying to move quickly to set up a replacement on-demand service. Two fixed-route services aimed primarily at employees commuting to and from work have been indefinitely postponed.
  • Dealing with drought — For months, the city has been attempting to deal with the ramifications of the drought on the city's water supply. As dry conditions continue into 2012, the city is not only looking to protect its water in the short term, but will also have to continue to examine its long-term options.
  • The effects of the November elections — With the elections behind them, City Council members will have to both shepherd the sports complex forward and start deciding what to do with all of the sales tax money that has previously been dedicated only toward transportation. The city estimates it will have access to about $95 million in sales tax funds over the next five years, about $79 million of which will be used for transportation-related expenses. The remaining $15 million–$17 million could be used to attract companies to the city.

How council members are paid

  • The mayor receives $1,000 per month and council members receive $750 per month. Both the mayor and council members receive a $200 automobile allowance.

Meetings

  • Round Rock City Council meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.
  • Temporary City Council chambers — Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St., Round Rock
  • Watch at www.roundrocktexas.gov/replay

Council member (term expiration)

Council members can also be reached by calling City Hall at 218-5401.

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