Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Results From Another Marathon Council Meeting

Still HOT - little relief in sight!  Here's a link to current conditions at the Live Oak 15th Tee Box.

The council met in regular session last night - another marathon meeting.  Here's the agendaHere's a link to the video.  The big news - The City Manager resigned Monday morning per the Mayor.  After looking at the agenda, I can't imagine why (a little sarcasm there).  Here's item twelve from the agenda:

  • 12.Executive Session. Enter into executive session to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of the City Manager as authorized by Texas Government Code Section 551.074 (Personnel Matters).
So, Council went into Executive Session at the very beginning of the meeting.   They came back into session about 7 p.m. and basically accepted Mr. Jones resignation and appointed Julie Oakley as "Acting City Manager".

4)  Chief Radford gave a report on wake issues on the lake and cameras at the parks.  No action was taken on either.

5)  Final audit presentation was done on the Police Station project - pretty clean, no issues.  Some questions by council and they will be answered in the near future.  

6)  The CEO of Pedernales Electric, Julie C. Parsley, gave a presentation on local operations in the Lakeway area.

7)  Dwight Haley gave a good presentation from the Wildlife Committee.  They have done a considerable amount of research and have gathered significant data.  That presentation including citizen participation and council discussion took until after 10 p.m. (I think).  Council basically kicked the can down the road until January, much discussion from everyone.  Council did accept a plan but watered down the resolution to not require anything solid.  We'll see where this goes.

8)  The Preliminary Plan revision was eventually approved.  No real issues.

9)  SUP was issued for Posh Permanent Makeup at 3313 RR 620 South.

10)  After discussion, the SUP was tabled for the Lake Travis ISD Development Center at 607 RR 620 North.  Although ZAPCO passed this unanimously, council had more questions and no one wanted to be the one to recommend approval.  Tabled 5-2.

11)  Sign ordinance changes were approved unanimously. 

13)  Citizen Comments:  Ms. Wilson from the Village of the Hills requested a no U turn sign at the main entrance to the Village of the Hills.  Good idea, they should pay for it....

After some changes and considerations, the Consent agenda was approved - 3 separate parts.  

Meeting ended at 11:43 p.m.
Porpoise Park
Here's a couple of pictures of Porpoise Park I took a couple of weeks ago for your enjoyment. 

That's all for now - I hope everyone is staying COOL.  Feel free to forward this email to your friends that might want to keep up with the goings on.

If you want to be added to my email list - send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Weather, Lakes, Council Preview and More!

Rough Hollow Marina and Grill
From Across the Cove
Mid August and the weather is "Normal" - Ugh!  I hope you enjoyed the "Cold Front" we had last week - dropped temperatures about 3-4 degrees for a couple of days - even had a shower, not enough to register on the rain gauge.  No rain in the forecast and the lake is slowly going down.  Today it's at 677.67, still way above normal and beautiful for this time of year.

Little bit of excitement on Green Terrace Cove in the Preserve on August 15th.  Evidently someone was unhappy and barricaded himself in a home over there.  Lakeway Police and the Travis County SWAT team were there (info from FaceBook) and took care of the situation.  No injuries and the whole situation was resolved peacefully in a short time.  Thanks to our officers for keeping us safe!

City Council will meet in regular session Monday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m.  Here is the agenda / packet for the meeting.  

Item 5 will be a presentation on the audit done on the project.  Doesn't look like there was any significant issues and maybe they can call this project done.

7)  There will be a presentation by the Wildlife Committee on their findings from the last year.

8)  Revision of the Preliminary Plan that moves a propane tank and lift station and amends some lot layouts.  Unanimous approval by ZAPCO.

9)  SUP to allow a beauty salon at 3323 RR 620 South - Unanimous approval by ZAPCO.

10)  SUP request from LT ISD to allow portable buildings at Lake Travis Educational Development Center at 607 RR 620 North.  This is being redone because of a notification issue.

11)  Ordinance Amendment on non-conforming signs and Billboards.  This was discussed at the "Special Meeting" and looks like they are firming up the rules so when the RR 620 project is done they will have more control over the signs.

12)  This one is interesting - although they met on the City Managers evaluation last week, this item says "deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of the City Manager".  Never saw that before.
Guess that's all for today - I'll report on the Council Meeting 1st part of the week.  

Thanks for all the support on the blog - if you have other items you would like a report on, drop me a note and I'll try to figure it out.  

If you want to be added (or removed) from my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll take care of it.  Please forward the email to your neighbors and friends - maybe they want the info!

Joe Bain

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

ZAPCO, Council Meeting + Budget and More!

Still HOT!  Doesn't look like much relief in sight.  Cold Front North of us - may drop the temperature a couple of degrees - hopefully a shower or 2 - lets hope!

Lake Travis is down another 6 inches, about an inch a day.  Still way above normal.  Temperatures and rainfall amounts (optimistic) are always available on my weather station.  102.4° as I write this - UGH!

****** ZAPCO ******

6)  Preliminary Plan revision for Lakeway Highlands Phase 3 - Simply relocated a propane tank and lift station and amended some lot layouts - passed unanimously.

7)  Lots of discussion on the road in Lakeway Estates and eventually some recommendations were made and they will make some adjustments and come back to the commission.

8)  Special Use Permit for a beauty salon 3313 RR 620 - passed unanimously.

9)  Lake Travis ISD had issues with a permit for portable buildings and was required to come back to the commission for corrections on the permitted project.  There was a lot of discussion about drainage issues and there is actually a law suit by a land owner on the drainage issue - this was dismissed by the court but has been appealed.  Permit was approved unanimously and issues will be handled by the court and compliance.

10)  Sign request for 101 Medical Parkway was discussed extensively and eventually passed 6-1.

11)  Sign variances requested for the hotel at the Medical Village were denied unanimously.

12) Monument sign variance was also denied unanimously.
***Both 11-12 were significant increases in size and no representative was present to answer questions or make a presentation.
13)  Ordinance changes approved unanimously - had mostly to do with signs and billboards that will be affected by the 620 improvement.

****** Special Council Meeting ******

The "Budget Meeting" turned into a Special Council marathon.  Here is that agenda / packetHere is a link to the video.

3)  This was a "First Reading" of significant changes to the city ordinance that contains rules, fees and fines having to do with animals in the city.  Presentation was made by Chief Radford.  Major Changes:
Dogs and cats are now required to be microchipped rather than be registered with the city.
Changes to animals considered public nuisance or vicious.
Defined acceptable care and living conditions and enclosure requirements.
Permit system for commercial facilities.
Acceptable restraint including leash and tether.
Updated all the fees
Updated ordinance to reflect legislative changes.

Discussions on this item lasted an hour and a half.  If you have an animal, I suggest you look at the new ordinance.  It is included in the packet link.  For example, Section4.02.004 a) 3 says its unlawful for any animal that damages, soils, defiles or defecates on any property including the owners property - interesting.

4)  Basically this moved the CBC Ordinance to a different section of the code - not a big deal.

5)  Council had a "First Reading" of changes to Chapter 24 of the building code ordinance.  These changes were massive.  Allegedly the state has passed a law that significantly restricts the city's ability to regulate "building" in their ordinances.  They have removed the city's ability to restrict things like - % of masonry, type of roof, type of siding - generally everything that makes our little city unique and keeps our property values up.

Council Member Vance commented that the vacant lot next to her could be a cinder block house - that is now correct.  It could also be a frame house with no brick or rock - anything that is permitted in the accepted international building code.  All TCO (temporary certificate of occupancy) / FCO's (final certificate of occupancy) will now be handled by BDS employees.

Several council members saw no need for the City Building Commission and wanted to talk about combining those remaining duties with ZAPCO or Board of Adjustment.  The city will be looking into that.

Some good things - they are trying to put a limit length of time a project can take.  

They are also considering adopting more "Dark Sky" regulations and are considering deleting the requirements for street lights. 

They also included an example list of what requires a permit.  

Discussion went on until about 5:30 p.m.  There were several items that were sent back for further investigation and updated language.  Council then took a break.

6)  About 5:50 p.m. the council meeting resumed and took up the budget.

The city brought in $245,000 more this year than last year because of increased new homes and values.  I didn't catch it, but I'm sure the sales tax income has increased also.  One of the topics of discussion was the cost to operate the new police station - this is about $160K per year.  New expenses from salary adjustments after the survey the city did.  (Pretty much done every 3-4 years)  No mention was made of the expense of $153,000 for an internal road study or the addition of a Communication Director at a salary in excess of $100,000 + benefits (my estimate).  

Although no vote was taken, it appeared that all the present council members felt like they needed to raise our taxes - maybe to the rollback limit.  There was some discussion of what to do next year if they couldn't go to a full 8% rollback rate next year.  (We have a cut out currently that may allow us to have an 8% rollback rate even though most cities are capped at 3.5%?.  

The discussion was - it's not that much!  City Manager Jones even said he was late on his electric bill last month and had to pay a $20 late fee - didn't bother him that much.  The problem is it is cumulative - next year the values will go up and the new rate will be built in.  The county is planning to go up their full 8% too, the school will not lower their rate even though values are up, the ESD's are staying maxed out - it all adds up.  I agree, if you have a family income of $200,000 plus, $20 is not that big a deal.  Remember council members, much of your population is made up of folks that are retired and on fixed incomes.  Also, we are getting closer to being built out - maybe we need to look at living more within our means..... Discussion ended about 7:45 p.m. and council then went into executive session to talk about lawsuits, city manager salary and something to do with some MUD property - they finally adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
That's all for today - more near the week end.  I've noticed Bee Cave and Lakeway Police have been busy keeping us safe.  Early this morning 3 individuals broke into a store in the Galleria and were chased through Bee Cave and Lakeway - finally stopped and taken into custody near RM 2222.  Thanks officers for keeping us safe!

If you would like to be added to my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done.  Don't forget to get a "Quick Shot" aerial photo of your home or property - $75 for at least 4 pictures.  Sky Pictures - joe@skypict.com

Be safe out there - school started today and the buses are out in force - watch out for our kids - they are the future!

Joe Bain

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Hot!, Council Special Session, Lake Level and More!

I'm late - started going over the agenda for the Special Session Monday the 12th and dropped the ball.

The weather is as it has been - HOT! 🔥- and no relief in sight.  The highest temperature I have recorded was 102.6 on Friday.  It's showing - Lake Travis is at 678.42, down about 6 inches from August 5th (Monday).  They are talking about maybe some rain next week end....

And, if you didn't know, we are under a heat advisory again today. Welcome to Central Texas Summer!

Council meets in Special Session Monday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.  Here is that agenda / packet.  I'm not going to comment on the agenda but I suggest you read the packet revisions to Chapter 4 and Chapter 24.  There are some far reaching changes slated for change at this meeting.  No tax information is included in the packet.

There is a Burn Ban in effect for Lakeway, for all those with a burn barrel out back, you will need to put off burning your trash....

Evidently someone is spoofing the Lakeway Police Department phone number and asking for information, money or gift cards.  The Lakeway Police does not do that - if you get that kind of call, just hang up.

Mark your calendars, the Public Safety Day is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m at the Lake Travis Elementary School located at 15303 Kollmeyer Drive.  It's a great experience, meet all your first responders and see all the equipment they use.

****School starts on August 14th - I suggest you stay inside and off of RR 620 - it is going to be a zoo.  Watch out for children and school buses, especially when loading and unloading the kiddos.

The "Big Band Bash" is Monday night (Aug. 12) and starts at 8;00 p.m. at the Activity Center.

Bee Cave puts out a Police Report - go figure....spelling is theirs, I cut and pasted it.

Weekly Statistics July 29 – Aug 4 - 2019


PUBLIC INTOXICATION: On 07/29/2019 at approximately 0407 hours, Bee Cave units were dispatched to the Sonesta Hotel in reference to an assist EMS call. Upon arrival, an unrelated subject was found to be intoxicated and was a danger to himself and others. The subject was transported to Travis County Central Booking without incident.

CRIMINAL TREPASS WARNING / SUSP VEHICLE: On July 30, 2019 Bee Cave units responded to a suspicious vehicle / person at the 12500 block of Bee Cave Parkway. Subject was issued criminal trespass warning.

SUICIDAL SUBJECT: On 07/30/19 Bee Cave Officers were dispatched to a suicidal subject in the Hill Country Galleria. Officers made contact with the subject who had fresh lacerations to her wrist and legs. The subject was transported to St. David South for further medical treatment.  

FELON IN POSSESSION OF FIREARM: On 07/31/2019, at approximately 1226 hours, Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 4000 block of RR 620 S. Upon further investigation Officers found the driver to be convicted on a felony and in possession of a firearm, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of an Unlawful Instrument Device. Officers arrested the driver and transported to Travis County jail.    

WARRANT: On 08/01/2019, Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 3500 RR 620. Upon further investigation Officers found that the driver had traffic warrants. The driver spoke with the court and paid the warrant.   

RECKLESS DRIVING EVADING DETENTION: On Friday, July 2nd, 2019 Officers self-initiated a traffic stop within the 12800 block of Galleria circle. The subject vehicle fled from officers.  Pursuit terminated on Bee Caves Road because the driver was identified and will be issued a warrant for Reckless Driving and Evading Detention.

CRIM. MISCH. - GRAFFITI: On Friday, 02 August 2019, Officers were dispatched to the Hill Country Galleria located at 12912 Hill Country Blvd Ste. F150 for Graffiti on the building found by the mall security. 

FORGERY/FRAUD: On Friday, 02 August 2019, Officers met with a complainant in the lobby of the Bee Cave Police Department who stated someone had attempted to use his social security number to open a Verizon account.  The case is under further investigation.

COLLISION – LEAVING THE SCENE:   On 08/02/2019, Officers were dispatched to a report of a Collision - Leaving the Scene that occurred at the 12500 block range of Highway 71 West. Officers made contact with the complainant by phone. The complainant stated that the other vehicle drove away before they could exchange insurance information. 

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED MB/UNLAWFULLY CARRYING A WEAPON: On 08/03/19 Bee Cave Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 16000 block of Hwy 71 for a vehicle that was speeding. Upon further investigation the driver was found to be driving while intoxicated. The driver was arrested and transported to TCCB.

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED MB: On 08/03/19 Bee Cave Officer were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle in the Exxon parking lot. Officers made contact with the driver who was found to be driving while intoxicated. 

POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNAILIA: On 08/04/19 Bee Cave Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 14400 block of Hwy 71 for a vehicle that was speeding. Upon further investigation the driver and passenger were issued Bee Cave Municipal citations for PODP.

FAMILY VIOLANCE/ UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT: On August 3, 2019 Bee Cave unit was dispatched for a report of Harassment and stalking in the 3400 block of S. RR 620. A report was taken.

VIOLATION OF PROTECTIVE ORDER:  On 08/04/2019, Bee Cave Units were dispatched to a civil issue at 12531 Hwy 71 at the Paseo Apartments. Units arrived and conducted an investigation resulting in warrants being generated for an arrest.

That's all for right now, more soon.

I'm running a special with Sky Pictures - get a "Quick Shot" of your home or business for $75.  This includes at least 4 aerial images.  For more info or for an appointment, send a not to joe@skypict.com and lets make it happen!

If you would like to be added to my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done.  Feel free to forward this email to your friends in the area.

Joe Bain

Monday, August 5, 2019

Water's OK now, Lake Level

If you were included in the "Boil Water Notice" yesterday, it's over per Earl Foster, General Manager of the Lakeway MUD.  


Lake Levels - Lake Travis is going down about a foot a week now.  Currently the lake is at 678.81, down a foot from last week.  Did you know that more water is lost through evaporation than is used by the surrounding communities?  Let that sink in!

That's all for now - have a GREAT day and drive DEFENSIVELY!

Joe Bain

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Boil Water Notice, Rain, Special Thanks!

Special Notice:

Lakeway MUD has issued a "boil water notice" for some of their area.  All addresses on Highlander, Vanguard, Flying Scot, Champion Dr., Calypso Dr., Blue Jay Dr., Lido, Lido Circle, EAgle, Eagle Cove, Dragon, Capri, Yacht Ct., Scamper Cove, Schooner Dr., Dasher Dr., Snipe Ct., Vixen Ct., Triton Ct., Scorpion Dr., Flamingo Cove, Teal, World of Tennis.  
403-424, 202-212, 701-711, 301-316 Malabar. 
603-623 Flamingo
2704-4102 Lakeway Blvd.

Water for baths, showers, laundry, etc. is ok.

Testing will be done and more information will be released in 24 hours or so.
We did get some rain overnight - 0.01 inch at my house.  The  cloudy day is helping too!  Not much on radar so I guess we need to be happy!  Sprinkled on me going home after church.
Special Thank You to the woman in front of me at Whataburger last night that paid for my dinner!  What a surprise when I pulled up to the window to get my food.  Made my whole evening and I really appreciated it.  I hope you have a blessed day too!  I'll pay it forward!

Joe Bain

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Hot!, Driver License Rules, Taxes and MORE!

Panorama Shot From Lot in Briarcliff - Actually 3
Shots Stitched Together - Click to See Larger View
Nature is Beautiful!
Still HOT!  Another 100° day yesterday - the weatherman is promising some relief this weekend, maybe a shower.  We can always hope.  Lake Travis is starting its downward trend.  Dropping about a foot a week right now.  A good soaking rain would really help.  This morning it was at 678.98 - full pool is 681.  It really is a beautiful lake though!  While I was waiting for the realtor, I found this little guy working hard!

Driver's License expiring?  If you can't renew online there are some new things you should be aware of.  The rules have changed.  They require a passport or certified birth certificate, your social security card and your old license.  Really?  Yup.  Look at your license - is there a gold star on the top right?  Texas is becoming Federal Real ID compliant (link).  What does that mean?  After October 1, 2020 you will no longer be able to use your TDL for ID to get on a plane unless it has the gold star on it.  Still good to use for driving...

So, no big deal right?  Well, it means everyone will be going to DPS Drivers License offices to get their license renewed to comply with the new rules.  I went to Marble Falls Thursday, no wait, small place, right?  Took me two and a half hours - nearly forever.  So, be ready for a wait.  No one was really happy and most didn't have all the requisite documents and many left because of the wait.  I'm told Thursday is the worst day - one of the workers goes to Llano to work on that day.  Effectively there was only one person working (breaks, lunch, etc.) and it takes 15-30 minutes per applicant.

Still a lot going on at the Activity Center.  Here's a link to the current list.
So, what do you think about tax increases?  Council will be looking at budgets and tax rates soon - they have already had a couple of budget sessions. 
Lakeway's current tax rate is $0.1645 per $100 evaluation. 

Travis County has already made their intentions known.  Voted themselves a $30K+ raise (Commissioner Daugherty voted NO) and Judge Eckhardt has stated her intent to raise the county tax rate the maximum 8%.  The current County Tax rate is .3542 per $100 evaluation.

The Lake Travis ISD tax rate is $1.4075 per $100 evaluation.
The Travis County ESD #6 is $0.10 per $100 evaluation.
Lakeway MUD is $0.1158
Travis County Healthcare District is $0.105221

It all adds up - the total tax rate for my home is $2.247221 - yours may be different because of different MUD rates.  for instance, Flintrock Falls is $2.563321.

All up for grabs.  The maximum entities can raise the rate is 8% without a vote - this is the last year for 8%.  The State Legislature have passed a new "Rollback Rate" that will be effective next year of 3.5%.  It's my understanding that Lakeway is in a "carve out" that does not limit them - I have asked for clarification on that.  So, right now all the taxing entities are considering going to the rollback rate because of the new restrictions next year.  Of course, it gets even more complex because some entities have a maximum tax rate - ESD's and Schools for instance.

That is further exasperated by the fact that our property values generally increase year over year.  Mine went up about 5% - so take the 5% increase in value times the increased tax rate and open your check book.  

That's why the City for many years has tried to use the "Effective Tax Rate" for city taxes.  Our current (not certified) rate is $0.1582.  The rollback rate is $0.1684.  The City income has increased about $245,000 because of the increase of the new property since last year.  No conclusions - just data for you to think about!
Mayor Cox held the State of Lakeway Town Hall Thursday evening - here's a link to the video.  I counted about 26 in attendance.

The City is having a Luau party at the Swim Center Sunday - here's a link to more info - no roasted pig....

Looks like the Parks and Rec meeting is cancelled Tuesday, and CBC and the Wildlife Advisory Committee meeting are cancelled Thursday.

ZAPCO will meet in regular session Wednesday at 9:15 a.m.  Here is their agenda  Looks like several signs and a couple of Special Use Permits.

The Public Engagement Advisory Committee also meets on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall.  Here's their agenda.
Springhill July 10, 2019
Hotels?  The new hotel near the hospital, Springhill Suites is nearing completion.  They are going to ZAPCO to get sign permits.  The La Quinta, although it looks far along on the outside - seems to have stalled.  If you look through the windows, the inside is just framed - no walls or finishing done.  There's got to be a story there.

That's all for right now - keep you fingers crossed and maybe we'll get a shower.  If you have a question, email me and I'll try to answer it.  If you would like to be added to my email list - send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get you added.

Enjoy the weekend!

Joe Bain