Williamson County leaders look forward to challenges of 2017

The 2016u201317 Williamson County Commissioners Court, from left to right: Cynthia Long, County Judge Dan Gattis, Valerie Covey, Larry Madsen and Terry Cook.

The 2016u201317 Williamson County Commissioners Court, from left to right: Cynthia Long, County Judge Dan Gattis, Valerie Covey, Larry Madsen and Terry Cook.

A question for  Dan Gattis, County Judge

With all of the growth Williamson County is experiencing, what are you excited about and challenged by?
I think the economics and the diversity we are beginning to get in [Williamson County] are good. We need to [continue to] keep a variety in home prices across the county—right now that is working well for us.


Big decisions made in 2016




  • Mobility plan: In October the commissioners passed a long-range county transportation plan that has been in the works for more than a year. The plan was a big step forward for anticipating the future growth of the county, Judge Dan Gattis said. The plan works to determine how to coordinate connectivity and mobility throughout the region and will address controlled access facilities, arterial roads and future land use.

  • Expo Center: An expansion and renovation of the Williamson County Expo Center was completed in September. The project was funded using $3.5 million in funds diverted from the May 2013 parks and recreation bond fund. The more than 60,000-square-foot facility features seating capacity for 3,000 people, RV sites and a climate-controlled indoor expo hall totaling 15,000 square feet. Gattis said he hopes the expo center will continue to grow and have a good economic influence.

  • Bond: In May 2015 the court issued $65 million in bond money, being used to construct, improve and renovate facilities and purchase land and equip buildings.


Top issues for 2017




  • Growth: The continued county growth will continue dictating much of the commissioners’ decisions, Gattis said. The court plans to focus on transportation and mobility issues and budget money to purchase right of way and complete engineering surveys of land.

  • Water: Water also remains a top priority for the commissioners heading into 2017. Gattis said determining a plan for the future, especially with the growth in the county, is important. According to the National Weather Service, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport received 54.71 inches of rain within the last year. The increased precipitation caused people to worry less about water resource planning, Gattis said, but the importance of the issue should not be diminished.

  • Security: According to a memo issued by Gov. Greg Abbott’s office in 2015, licensed concealed handgun carriers cannot be prevented from entering multipurpose government buildings as part of a new law that went into effect last year. CHL carriers cannot be denied entry unless an entire building is dedicated to court proceedings or government meetings.