City & County updates

Round Rock City Council

Round Rock City Council Round Rock City Council, from left: George White, mayor pro tem and Place 2; Craig Morgan, Place 1; Frank Leffingwell, Place 3; Mayor Alan McGraw; Writ Baese, Place 5; Kris Whitfield, Place 6; Will Peckham, Place 4[/caption]

The council meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of the month at Round Rock City Hall, 221 E. Main St., Round Rock. 512-218-5400.

Terms and compensation
The mayor and council members serve three-year terms with no term limits. The mayor is paid $1,000 per month; council members are paid $750 per month. All receive a $200-per-month vehicle allowance.

Video coverage
Meetings are televised live on Time Warner Cable on Channel 10 and U-verse channel 99 as well as live-streamed at

Big decisions made in 2015

Downtown road work
Construction on a major revamp of downtown roadways began in April. As part of the roadwork, Main Street was realigned, and construction crews are working on widening Mays Street. The goal of the project is to make the downtown area more pedestrian-friendly as well as help the flow of traffic.

McNeil Park sale
The city of Round Rock agreed to sell McNeil Park to Mike Farr, owner of Nutty Brown Cafe & Amphitheatre, for $1.1 million so Farr could relocate the music venue to Round Rock.

Facilities master plan adoption
In August the city adopted its facilities master plan intended to guide the city’s use of infrastructure through build-out. The plan recommends expansion of the Luther Peterson complex in north Round Rock, relocating some parks and recreation offices, and constructing new buildings in downtown.

Top issues for 2016

City leaders and staff say transportation is always a priority for the city, and 2016 is no different. Residents will see significant progress on major projects, such as the University Boulevard widening and the Creek Bend Boulevard extension.

Tourism and parks
New facilities are coming online or will soon break ground, greatly expanding opportunities for the city’s tourism
program. A new multiuse sports complex will start construction at Old Settlers Park, and major expansion of the trail system will also start in 2016.

Construction costs
A booming Central Texas economy means costs are rising for the many capital projects the city has in its planning pipeline. Staff and city leaders say putting together a budget that balances the community’s wants versus its needs will be especially challenging.

Pflugerville City Council

Pflugerville City Council Pflugerville City Council, Mayor Jeff Coleman; Wayne Cooper, mayor pro tem and Place 1; Brad Marshall, Place 2; Omar Peña, place 3; Starlet Sattler, Place 4; and Mike Heath, Place 5, meets at 100 E. Main St., Ste. 500, Pflugerville.[/caption]

The council meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at City Council Chambers,  100 E. Main St., Ste. 500, Pflugerville. 512-990-6101.

Terms and compensation
The mayor and council members serve three-year terms with a limit of three terms and without compensation.

Video coverage
Meetings are televised live on Suddenlink cable on channels 17 and 117 and AT&T U-verse on Channel 99 as well as live streamed at

Big decisions made in 2015

Sports complex land purchase
After determining there was not a city-owned site appropriate to house the future city athletic complex, Pflugerville City Council approved the purchase of approximately 237 acres in east Pflugerville this summer for the complex. The planned sports complex could include up to 24 fields and would give the city’s growing sports leagues additional practice and game space.

Bond election
On Nov. 4, Pflugerville voters rejected a $10.7 million bond proposition for a new city animal shelter and approved a $9.5 million bond for improvements to Weiss Lane in east Pflugerville. The passage of the Weiss Lane bond will result in an average annual property tax bill increase of about $28 for the life of the 30-year bond.

Top issues for 2016

Pflugerville is the latest of several area cities to commission a transit development plan through Capital Metro and expects to receive the completed plan with Capital Metro recommendations by April. If the city adopts the plan, development of a transit system would begin within one year.

Animal shelter plan
After the animal shelter bond proposition failed to pass in November, city staff began working on a rehabilitation plan for the current city shelter. The first phase of the city’s plan is
estimated to cost about $2 million and includes the addition of a medical room, an outdoor kennel area and other amenities.

Hutto City Council

Hutto City Council Hutto City Council, from left: Tom Hines, Place 2; Veronica Quintanilla-Perez, Place 3; Max Yeste, Place 6; Mayor Debbie Holland; Michael J. Smith, mayor pro tem and Place 4; Anne Cano, Place 1; Lucio Valdez, Place 5[/caption]

The council meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Thursday of the month at City Council Chambers at 401 W. Front St., Hutto. 512-759-4033.

Terms and compensation
The mayor and council members serve three-year terms with no term limits and without compensation.

Video coverage
Meetings are televised live on Time Warner Cable on Channel 10 as well as live-streamed at

Big decisions made in 2015

2040 Comprehensive Plan
The city’s first comprehensive plan was completed in 2015 and will serve as a guiding document for the city through 2040. The plan addresses infrastructure, mobility, sustainability and other issues facing Hutto. Before adopting the 2040 plan, Hutto used a growth guidance plan as a primary guiding document.

Economic development
Several franchise businesses came to Hutto in 2015, including Starbucks, Jack Brown Cleaners, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Hampton Inn & Suites, marking the largest number of franchises to open in the city in one year, according to city staff. The city also achieved a film-friendly designation, which city staffers hope will draw more attention and investment from the film industry.

Top issues for 2016

Hutto staffers will implement the city’s new pavement-management system developed in 2015 and also anticipate the completion of several large capital improvement projects, including FM 685 reconstruction and the city’s second wastewater treatment plant. City officials are also expected to make a decision on public transit recommendations presented by Capital Metro.

Recreation and tourism
A series of events are planned for The Gin at the Co-Op District venue, and the city anticipates further development of the Co-Op property. In 2016 city officials expect to approve the design of a city dog park as well as a community swimming pool study. The planned reconstruction of Fritz Park is expected to offer residents additional recreational opportunities.

Travis County Commissioners Court

TRAVIS COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT Travis County Commissioners Court, from left: Margaret Gómez, Precinct 4; Gerald Daugherty, Precinct 3; Judge Sarah Eckhardt; Brigid Shea, Precinct 2; Ron Davis, Precinct 1[/caption]

The court meets Tuesdays at 9 a.m.
Travis County Administrative Building
700 Lavaca St., Austin

Terms and compensation
Court members serve four-year terms. The judge’s pay for fiscal year 2015-16 is $118,373, Davis and Gomez are paid $101,417, Shea is paid $98,463 and Daugherty is paid $93,000.

Video coverage
Meetings are televised live on Time Warner Cable Channel 17, Grande Communications Channel 17 and AT&T U-verse Channel 99. Meetings are also posted online.

Williamson County Commissioners Court

Williamson County Commissioners Court Williamson County Commissioners Court, from left: Cynthia Long, Precinct 2; Ron Morrison, Precinct 4; Lisa Birkman, Precinct 1; Judge Dan Gattis; Valerie Covey, Precinct 3[/caption]

The court meets Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. Williamson County Courthouse, 710 S. Main St., Georgetown. 512-943-1550.

Terms and compensation
The county judge and four county commissioners serve four-year terms. Each commissioner receives $94,037.10 per year. The county judge is budgeted $115,485.10 but has opted not to receive increases for several years, so he is only paid a portion of his salary.

Video coverage
Recordings of meetings can be found at

Big decisions made in 2015

Certificate of obligation bonds
The commissioners issued $65 million in bonds in May, which have been used for constructing, improving and renovating facilities as well as purchasing land and equipping county buildings. The county dedicated funds to expand offices within the Georgetown Annex. Funds were also used for a training facility for the Sheriff’s Office, training space for hazardous materials and emergency medical services, office space for EMS, and the radio shop for vehicle and hand-held radios as well as vehicle and facilities storage.

The county broke ground on a project to widen FM 1620 between Round Rock and Georgetown as part of the $275 million in road bonds approved by county voters in 2013. Design work is underway for the widening of CR 110 from Hwy. 79 to north of Chandler Road in Taylor and for CR 111 from FM 1460 to SH 130 in Georgetown. Those projects are meant to improve safety and mobility in the area.

Top issues for 2016

County Judge Dan Gattis said a top issue for 2016 will be to focus on water needs in the county. The commissioners heard a presentation requesting $50,000 for a water study in November, and Gattis said he and Commissioner Valerie Covey have moved forward on a study to determine how much water the county has.

According to a memo from the governor’s office issued in October, licensed concealed handgun carriers cannot be prevented from entering multipurpose government buildings as part of a new law that went into effect Sept. 1. Unless an entire building is dedicated to court proceedings or government meetings, the memo states a state agency or political subdivision cannot deny CHL carriers entry to a government building. Gattis said the Williamson County courthouse will have to find a temporary solution to put in place in January while working on a long-term solution.


Construction at Q2 Stadium is on schedule to be completed by late March or early April. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin FC will play at newly named Q2 Stadium starting this summer

Austin FC announced the naming partnership with Austin-based tech company Q2 Holdings Inc. at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 25.

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
'We still have a long way to go': Central Texas physician answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions for Community Impact Newspaper related to the coronavirus vaccine, its efficacy and costs, and other related matters.

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter. (Courtesy Adobe Stock Images)
President Joe Biden's inauguration spurs reactions from elected officials around Texas

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter.

In addition to vaccine hubs, there are also smaller community vaccine providers throughout Texas, such as pharmacies, that may also have the vaccine available. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
EXPLAINED: When, where and how Texans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine

As Texas is still in the early stages of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many Texans are still unsure about where, when and how they can get inoculated.

Feeding Texas hosted a Jan. 19 webinar to discuss legislative highlights for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Screenshot courtesy Feeding Texas)
Food insecurity in Texas' 87th Legislature: Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas to propose legislation addressing hunger

Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas hosted a webinar Jan. 19 to discuss increasing funding and accessibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the 87th legislative session.

COVID-19 vaccines
DATA: Texas has vaccinated about 9% of estimated Phase 1 recipients

Over 1.1 million individuals from the Phase 1 population, which is estimated to include 13.5 million individuals total, have received at least one dose.

Bob Popinski, policy director of Raise Your Hand Texas, shared the organization's top education priorities for the ongoing legislative session. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
‘What does virtual learning and remote learning look like moving forward?': Raise Your Hand Texas policy director talks legislative priorities

Bob Popinski is the director of policy for Raise Your Hand Texas, an Austin-based organization committed to improving public education. He spoke with Community Impact Newspaper in late December about the 87th legislative session, which began Jan. 12.

H-E-B is preparing to accept coronavirus vaccine appointments through an online portal. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
H-E-B launches vaccine portal; Whipped Bakery opens in Leander and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar shared a new revenue estimate for the 2022-23 biennium Jan. 11. (Courtesy Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)
Comptroller projects drop in state revenue, potential for economic uptick for next biennium

Despite the slight reduction in expected revenue for the state's 2022-23 budget, recovery could be on the horizon.

See how COVID-19 is impacting Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds more than 900 new cases Jan. 9-11

See how COVID-19 is impacting Williamson County.

After every decennial census, states and local jurisdictions must go through a process known as redistricting: redrawing the boundaries for representation. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
More congressional seats, equal populations: What redistricting means for Texas in 2021

Community Impact Newspaper spoke with Jeff Archer, executive director of the Texas Legislative Council, in January about the redistricting process that will be carried out by the Texas Legislature this year.