The Williamson County Commissioners Court met April 5 to act on a variety of items, including proclaiming April National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month; issuing an outdoor burn ban; and approving additional polling locations for the upcoming May 7 election.

Commissioners also took approved contracts related to the future expansion of the Juvenile Justice Center and ongoing repairs to the Southwest Regional Park splash pad.

Child abuse awareness and prevention

In an effort to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, Williamson County commissioners voted to proclaim April as National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month, an action the court takes every year.

As part of the proclamation, commissioners recognized the Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization that provides a variety of services for children who have experienced physical or sexual abuse, or witnessed domestic abuse or violent crime.

In 2021, the WCCAC reviewed 4,891 reports of alleged child abuse and conduced 816 forensic interviews, according to the proclamation, which was read by Precinct 1 Commissioner Terry Cook.

The WCCAC recently broke ground on a 15,000-square-foot expansion to its facility and is in the middle of a capital campaign to raise money to furnish, equip and staff the new facility.

“It’s really horrible that we are even having to have this discussion about children ... that we’re supposed to be here to protect,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said. “Our world has gotten crazy that we are having to expand your building, but we are, and I appreciate everything that y’all do on a daily basis.”

Burn ban

Williamson County commissioners unanimously instated an official burn ban prohibiting outdoor burning in all unincorporated areas of Williamson County as well as smoking in county parks, preserves and trails.

The burn ban will be in place for 90 days, but can be lifted by County Judge Bill Gravell if wildfire conditions improve. This action by commissioners court supersedes and replaces the disaster declaration commissioners court extended April 1.

A person who knowingly or intentionally violates the order commits a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.

Juvenile Justice Center expansion

The court unanimously approved a $393,400 design and construction administration contract with BLGY, Inc. for an addition to the Juvenile Justice Center at 200 Wilco Way, Georgetown.

According to the agreement, design work for the expansion will be completed within two years. The 69,000-square-foot expansion—which is expected to cost $28 million to build—will house education space, specialized housing, visitation and recreation facilities, according to county documents.

Gravell noted that BLGY, Inc. is also working on the expansion at the WCCAC.

May 7 election polling locations

Commissioners added two early voting locations and one election day location to its previously approved list of May 7 polling places.

Elections Administrator Chris Davis said the two new early voting locations will be part-time and offer voting only on April 29-30 and May 2-3.

Registered voters in the county are able to vote at any election location.

The new locations are listed below.

  • Florence City Hall, 851 RM 970, Florence: early voting only, April 29-30 and May 2-3

  • Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter St., Taylor: early voting only, April 29-30 and May 2-3

  • Pat Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N. Brushy St., Leander: election day, May 7

Southwest Regional Park splash pad

As part of the consent agenda, a group of items voted on together, commissioners approved allocating an additional $23,200 toward repairs to the splash pad at the Southwest Regional Park, located at 3005 CR 175, Leander.

According to county documents, contractors on-site discovered the stonework and boulders in the waterfall area were unstable, with visual signs of cracks and movement.

During their March 22 meeting, commissioners previously approved a $15,652.50 contract with Perez Construction LLC to repair damage caused to the splash pad by the removal of a slide. The need for the additional repairs, which the county says are urgent in order to protect public safety, were discovered as contractors worked.