Friday, June 15, 2018

Lakeway Blue, Rain in Forecast, Council Coming Up and More!

Driving to the house the other evening, I noticed we still had many folks displaying blue lights to support the police.  If you're new to Lakeway, a couple of years ago we worked with Lowe's in Bee Cave and gave away a bunch of blue led lights for yard lights and porches.  I'm really proud of our community for the support they have shown the police, the lights are still on all over the city.  If there's interest, I'll see if we can make arrangements for a reduced price for your home.  Let me know if there's interest and I'll see if I can get them stocked again.

It looks like our luck might change this weekend and we could get a little rain!  Keep an eye on my weather station if it really happens.  May is usually our wettest month, didn't happen this year and June has been really dry too.  Spoke too soon, .73 inch this afternoon!

Don't forget the watering restrictions, here's a link to the Lakeway MUD's schedule.  If you are in one of the other MUD's, please check their web pages.

The Lake is continuing it's Summer drop.  Today Lake Travis was at 663.10 ft.  A week ago it was 664.31 ft.  We are 6.69 ft. below average at this time.  The inflow from rivers yesterday was 109 acre feet, the release from the dam was 2436 acre feet.  There is significant evaporation from the lake also - actually more that is used by area residents (believe it or not!)  Maybe if we can get some good rain this will slow down!

City Building Commission (CBC) met Thursday morning in regular session.  Here is that agenda.  This commission meets regularly to look at variance and waivers and different items that don't necessarily meet our ordinances to decide if they should be allowed.

4) This was a variance request to encroach into a building setback.  After some discussion it appeared the applicant wanted the variance so he could install a detached shed for tools.  Detached structures are not allowed in Lakeway, they must be attached and conform to building materials on the home. The commission decided to table this until the applicant and BDS could explain the ordinance and come up with a plan.

5) There was no view blocking at this address.

6)  Waiver was granted with some modifications - it was determined that the issue was really a trellis for vines.

7)  The lot at 103 Royal Oak Ln. was determined to be a golf course lot.  There is a 25' setback on golf course lots, and if they are not determined to be golf course lots, the setback is less.  In this case, the applicant will need a variance to build into the setback and will apply at a later date.

8)  Applicant wanted to build a concrete turn-around area.  It was determined that if permitted, requirements for foundation plantings would be impeded.  Applicant was instructed to redesign and resubmit.
------------------------

The Flag Day ceremony was held by the Lohmann's Ford Chapter of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution)  at the Heritage Center on Thursday morning.  We have a very patriotic community and the turn out was great. The Boy Scouts Troop 52 presented the colors and the guest speaker was General Rick Zehrer, USAF (retired).  Nancy and I were honored to be presented with a Certificate of Award for the correct display of our flag (lighted) along with Alice & Jim Nelson, Edith and Kerry Henry and Greg & Mary Wallace (not present).

Monday, June 18 is the next regular meeting of the City Council.  Here is that agenda.  Looks like a pretty full agenda.  Council will be busy appointing members to several commissions and committees including the Public Engagement Committee, Comprehensive Plan Committee, Board of Ethics and Board of Adjustment.  

13)  A zoning request will be considered for 15096 and 15099 Strader Circle to change from R-1 to R-6.   Since the surrounding property is already R-6 I expect that will pass.

14)  A final plat will be considered for 9.1 acres NW of Flintrock Rd. and west of RR 620.  Recommended by ZAPCO.

15)  The Sign Ordinance will be addressed to amend it to comply with the Supreme Court Ruling.  Recommended by ZAPCO.

16-17)  Council will consider a contract addendum for solid waste service.  Looks like our rate will increase slightly from $21 monthly to $21.40.  Of course that is all subject to a council vote.
------------------------

I  received word earlier today that a suicidal subject ( 40 year old male) shot himself and died at the Emmaus Catholic Parish parking lot.  The police were unable to stop the subject from shooting himself.  There is no danger to the public.  
=================
I didn't receive a police report today - if one shows up, I'll send it out - hopefully it's a one time thing.....

Thanks for reading the blog - I always try to give you the facts about Lakeway and what's going on.  If you would like to be added to my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll take care of it!

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us












Friday, June 8, 2018

ZAPCO, Lakeway Movie Series, Flag Day Ceremony, Police and More!

Another big week in Lakeway. Hot temperatures and no rain.  

 Let's start with ZAPCO on Wednesday, June 6 - here's a link to the agenda.

5) Dave Taylor and Don Kotrady were appointed to the Comprehensive Plan Committee.  Now that ZAPCO and Council have appointed their representatives, the four of them will appoint the citizen members.  This important committee will work to hire and direct a consultant to update our Comprehensive Plan.

6) Jason's Deli was given the go ahead at the Oaks.  This is a complex situation.  When the PUD was developed and approved there was a limitation of 16,000 sq. ft. of "fast food" establishments in the project.  My recollection was this was implemented to force the developer to rent space to more upscale restaurants in this project.  There was some talk about drive through's only at the 620 side and that seems to have happened.  There are questions about what a "fast food" restaurant really is.  Jason's is complex because it will have a drive through.  This was a good restriction that was not enforced, ZAPCO and staff need to work out a solution.  Here are the current definitions from code:


  • Restaurant. An eating establishment at which food is sold exclusively for consumption at tables on the premises, and where the gross receipts derived from the sale of alcoholic beverages from on premises sales shall not exceed seventy-five (75%) percent of the restaurant's gross receipts.
  • Restaurant, fast food. An eating establishment specializing in foods prepared and served quickly and designed to permit customers to remain in their automobiles. Customer service from a counter and seating on premises may also be provided. 


7) A variance was approved to allow the new Lake Travis Elementary #7 to use artificial turf on some of their fields.

8) Belmont Village was also granted a variance for artificial turf in part of their new project on 620. 

9) Another variance was requested by Planning Concepts - a group that is desiring to develop about 20 acres in the City's ETJ.  The maximum impervious cover in the ETJ is 35%.  They asked for two variances actually, one for relief on the 35% and another on the way the calculations are done.  They wanted area in the 100 year flood plain to be used in the calculation and 60% impervious cover.  ZAPCO granted the 60% but denied using the flood plain area.  This is for a recreational area off Bee Creek Road with some lake frontage.  They will be building a hotel and RV hookups along with other gathering areas. 

10) A zoning request from R-1 to R-6 for 3.466 acres at 15096 and 15099 Strader Circle.  Surrounding property was already R-6 so it was approved.

11) A Final Plat was approved for 2.6 acres NW of Flintrock Rd. and West of RR 620.  This is a development that is zoned C-1 (Office / Retail).



11)  Last on the list was probably the most far reaching item.  Because of a ruling by the US Supreme Court our sign ordinance needed to be revised to comply with the courts decision. If the changes are approved by Council, commercial properties will have restrictions on the number of signs allowed - not much change.  Residential is where things will change.  

Residential properties will be allowed 1 sign anytime (up to 2'X2'), this takes care of booster signs and security signs and will allow real estate for sale signs.  Residents will also be permitted to have the current Real Estate boxes.  Additional signs will be permitted during election season - council will determine how many.  Here's a link to the staff report the explains it further.
=============
Opinion:  There were many important items on the ZAPCO agenda.  This is a normal part of city business.  Council Members Ron Massa, Keith Trecker and Steve Smith attended along with Mayor Cox.  None of the candidates that ran for council were present except Chris Forton - that's telling to me.  Looks like he's really interested in learning about the city and the way it works!

====================

Flag Day is coming up!  Thursday June 14 at Heritage Park (corner of Lohmann's Crossing and Hurst Creek starting at 10 a.m.  Come on down and join us to celebrate our Flag and Country!  Probably should dress cool - it's an outside event!

Some additions to the events available at the Activity Center - here's a link to the list.

The Lakeway movie series is starting up.  Here's a link to where, when and what's showing!

Much ado has been made over the Engagement Committee, it turns out this was done in August of 2007 by council and Mayor Steve Swan.  Here's a link to the Ordinance (2007-08-27-02) and the presentation made to council.  I can't find any other information - anyone else remember what happened?

From the Chief:
Lakeway Police Department Officers conducted 220 traffic stops; responded to 28 suspicious circumstances calls, 16 assist other agency calls, 18 alarm calls, 14 animal calls, 13 public assist calls, 10 reckless driving calls; and handled 103 other types of calls for service for a total of 422.

Lakeway Police Officers actions resulted in seven charges and four arrests for the time frame.  One arrest for Assault by Contact, one out of jurisdiction warrant arrest, one Possession of Controlled Substance arrest, and four arrests for traffic warrants.

Lakeway Police Department participated in a weekend safety initiative over the Memorial Day Weekend with Bee Caves PD, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Parks and Wildlife, and the Department of Public Safety.  The combined totals for the holiday weekend Task Force for all agencies involved were:

Traffic Stops
763
Agency Call for Service Answered
629
Traffic Citations
305
Criminal Arrests (Misdemeanor)
32
Traffic Warnings
596
Criminal Arrests (Felony)
2
Crash Investigations
12
DWI Arrests
18
Agency Assists
35


The best news about the traffic task force was there were no traffic-related fatalities in western Travis County over the three day weekend!

Lakeway Police Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 1200 block of Lohman’s Crossing for an expired Motor Vehicle Registration.  The subsequent investigation resulted in the arrest of one subject for four outstanding traffic warrants out of the City of Lakeway.  The subject was arrested, transported to Central Booking, and his vehicle towed without further incident.    

Lakeway Police Officers, at the request of the Austin Police Department, conducted a warrant service at a residence on Serene Hills Drive.  A subsequent investigation resulted in the arrest of one suspect for Violation of a Protective Order.  The suspect was transported to Central Booking without incident.

Lakeway Police Officers responded to a residence on Joseph Drive in reference to a theft.  The victim stated he had between $1000 and $2000 in cash stolen from a cabinet inside his closet.  The victim suspects a known person may have committed the offense, CID is investigating.  

Lakeway Police Officers responded to a prior Burglary of a Vehicle.  The investigation revealed that three unsecured work vans belonging to a local business had tools, water bottles, drills, and pressure washers stolen out of them overnight.  Total loss was estimated at over $2300.00.

Lakeway Police Officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle stopped at a flashing yellow light.  The subsequent investigation resulted in the arrest of one subject for two outstanding warrants out of Bell County, one arrest for Possession of a Controlled Substance ( 10,1 grams of Methamphetamine ), and the seizure of ten counterfeit $100 bills. 

Detectives were assigned to investigate a report of harassment. According to the victim she received approximately 150 (or more) text messages from an ex-employee in a span of two (2) days.  The text messages become increasingly aggressive and the suspect threatened to take legal action against the victim. After review of the evidence, an arrest warrant for Harassment has been signed for the suspect with a bond $15,000 (Harassment, Misd.).

Detectives were assigned to investigate an assault that occurred at CVS Pharmacy, 2306 RR 620 S. The complainant (employee) states that the suspect at the drive-thru window threw a clipboard at her, striking her in the face, causing her pain.

Detectives obtained video footage from CVS of the suspect, suspect’s vehicle, witness statements, and were able to identify him. The complainant requested a criminal charge be filed and the suspect has been charged with Assault (Misd.).

Detectives were assigned to investigate a report of harassment at a residence on Serene Hills Drive. The complainant (victim) reports her ex-boyfriend (suspect) is sending her repeated text messages to her cell phone, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. The suspect has also threatened to ‘kill any guy’ that she decides to date and has called her employer to cause her problems.
Detectives are collecting evidence to support harassment allegation and the case remains active and ongoing.

Detectives were assigned to investigate a theft from a location on Troon. The complainant (homeowner) reported a Beretta 22LR handgun was missing from his master room closet and he suspects his housekeeper or someone that was assisting the housekeeper. Detectives will follow up with the housekeeper for questioning. This investigation is active and ongoing.

Crime Scene Tech was requested to process the scene of an attempted theft at a construction site located on Medical Parkway. The alarm company that was monitoring the site reported unknown individuals were moving equipment around the property. The unknown individuals fled the scene, leaving behind a white flatbed truck that contained pallets of subflooring. This investigation is active and ongoing and may be connected to other construction thefts in the area.

Detectives and Crime Scene personnel were called to assist patrol officers in the 2300 block of RR620 South in reference to a Death Investigation. According to the initial caller, he found a subject slumped over in a vehicle in the parking lot. Detectives processed the scene and contact the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office who also responded. Detectives learned through their investigation the deceased subject was homeless and regularly slept in his vehicle in the Lake Travis area. Detectives also learned the subject suffered from medical conditions and possibly had a substance abuse issue. However, there were no signs or evidence of foul play. The case remains active, pending an autopsy report. UPDATE: The autopsy report was received and reported the cause of death to be “toxic effects of codeine” and manner of death to be “natural.” There is no evidence of a criminal offense and the case is closed.

ROT is in Austin!
The Republic of Texas Motorcycle rally that attracts tens of thousands of participants each year is in Austin this weekend. As usual, there will be many bikers who will be riding out here to western Travis County, so please look twice before changing lanes or pulling out into intersections.

NEW K-9 joins LPD!
Lakeway citizen and recent citizens police academy graduate Melanie DeMayo made a very generous financial donation to the Lakeway Police Foundation for the sole purpose of acquiring a new police dog. June 1st the Lakeway Police Department was able to purchase our newest police dog. Our four-legged officer is a 20-month-old, male, German Shepherd born in Poland. “Rino” is in his first week of training at Pacesetter Kennels. “Rino” will be trained in drug detection and tracking skills. His training will last for 5-6 weeks and then he will come to his new handler, LPD Officer Gilbert Hernandez, for additional training and acclimation. Officer Hernadez is a retired Travis County deputy and master K-9 handler/trainer who recently joined LPD. We expect our newest K-9 team to be on patrol in August, joining Officer Sheldon Banta and his K-9 partner Cory.

A big ‘thank you’ to Melanie DeMayo for her generous donation, and to the Lakeway Police Foundation, President Bob Stubbs and all of the board members for this wonderful resource.
==============
That's all for now - more as I find out.  If you want to be added to my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us - tell your friends!

Joe Bain






           
















Saturday, June 2, 2018

Lake, Work Session, Quarter Century Club and Police Report!

Did I miss Spring?  May is historically the wettest month, this year we fell short by a bunch!  Plus the temperatures are way above normal.  Lake Travis was at 664.71 and has dropped nearly a foot in the last 7 days and is about 5 feet below normal.  Evaporation is playing a big role in this drop.  Lets hope we get some rain to slow this a little.  Maybe a front coming through this weekend?

There was a work session on Thursday evening to discuss commission and committees and their appointments.  As far as I can tell, they did appoint 6 people to the engagement committee.  Council Member Hennagin was the only one not to make an appointment.  It turns out the city formed a similar committee in 2007 to work on civic engagement - even funded it.  Not much data on what that committee produced.

The work session lasted about 3 hours and council discussed all the committees / commissions, and codified the way members were appointed.  Here is a link to the video.  They also formed a "Wildlife Committee" and reinstated the Parks and Rec committee.

Lots more going on at the Activity Center!  Here's a link to all the info about what's coming up.

Friday the annual Quarter Century Club luncheon was held at the Activity Center.  It was GREAT getting together with the folks that built this great city.  Folks there that have lived in Lakeway for nearly 50 years.  A big thanks to Peggy Point and the Heritage Commission for continuing to support this effort.  Thanks to the city for seeing the value in recognizing the folks that worked hard to make sure the city was the best it could be.  Nancy and I made our 30 year anniversary this year.  Great place to live!

Don't forget...The Community Garage Sale in Lakeway is this Saturday at 105 Cross Creek in Lakeway TX  78734.  Lots of beautiful treasures waiting to be discovered!  8am-12noon Saturday, June 2nd.

From the Chief:
Lakeway Police Department Officers conducted 347 traffic stops; responded to 27 suspicious circumstances calls, 20 assist other agency calls, 15 reckless driving calls, 16 alarm calls, 12 public assist calls, 11 animal calls; and handled 99 other types of calls for service for a total of 557.

Lakeway Police Department participated in a holiday weekend safety initiative with Bee Caves PD, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Department of Public Safety. According to our dispatch supervisor, between Bee Cave PD and Lakeway PD officers activity, our dispatch center staff handled 588 traffic stops and 177 calls for service. During past holiday weekend initiatives (mid-day Friday – Monday) we averaged 199 traffic stops and 159 calls for service.  This past weekend / holiday period had much higher than expected activity. The dispatch staff and the officers, from both agencies, did an outstanding job.

Lakeway Police Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 1100 block of RR620 South for displaying expired registration.  The subsequent investigation revealed the driver had an outstanding warrant out of Travis County JP2 .  The driver was taken into custody.

Lakeway Police Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 2100 block of Lohman’s Crossing for speeding.  The subsequent investigation resulted in the non-custodial arrest for Minor in Possession of Tobacco.

Lakeway Police Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 1900 block of RR620 North for speeding.  The subsequent investigation, which included a K-9 search, resulted in a non-custodial arrest for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. 

Lakeway Police Officers responded to a Check Welfare call with a subject passed out at the gas pumps at 903 RR620 South.  The subsequent investigation resulted in the arrest of a suspect for Driving While Intoxicated Class B.

Lakeway Police Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 2200 block of Lohman’s Crossing for an improper turn.  The subsequent investigation resulted in a non-custodial arrest for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  

Lakeway Police Officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for driving without lights at night in the 900 block of RR620 South.  The subsequent investigation resulted in an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated and a second charge of Criminal Mischief for damage to the arresting officers’ patrol unit.  During the transport, the subject smashed the plexi-glass partition breaking it.  

Lakeway Police Officers responded to the report of a reckless driver in the 900 block of RR620 South.  A traffic stop was conducted and the subsequent investigation resulted in an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated.  

Detectives were assigned to investigate a report of a Theft that occurred in the 600 block of Anfield Circle. According to the victim, cash was stolen from his residence during a recent move. Detectives are following up on the few available leads in the case as it remains active. 

Detectives were assigned to investigate a report of Forgery from a local resident. According to the victim, she discovered multiple unauthorized check withdrawals from her checking account. Detectives are working with the victim’s bank in efforts to determine where / who passed the checks. 


Detectives were assigned to investigate a report of Identity Theft.  According to the victim, she discovered an unauthorized credit account opened in her late husband’s name. Detectives are working with the victim’s bank in efforts to identify a possible suspect. 
====================
Looks like it was a real busy week for the police.  Thankfully we made it through the Memorial Day week / weekend safely.  Thanks Officers!

That's all for this week - it was a short one but busy at the city.  I'm looking forward to the "Cold Front" expected tomorrow evening - maybe drop the temperature 3 or 4 degrees.

As always, if you want to be added to my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll take care of it.

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us















Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Special Report - Writ of Mandamus Denied

Today the Third Court of Appeals denied the Petition by Tiffany McMillan for a Writ of Mandamus to force a run off election in the mayors race.

From the Court:

MEMORANDUM  OPINION

Tiffany McMillan has filed an emergency petition for writ of mandamus. Having reviewed the petition, responses, and record, we deny the petition.

Another round is done. 

Hopefully this will be the end of the May election season in Lakeway!
-------------------------
That's all for today.  

I hope everyone is enjoying the nice warm weather.   The lake's down another 6 inches from Friday.  

If you would like to be added to my email list send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get you added (or removed).

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us





Friday, May 25, 2018

Lake Levels, Council, Election Lawsuits, Memorial Day Service and Police Report!

Another week is done - first blog as a non-elected official.  It's been a frustrating week - internet, tv and phone were out starting last Thursday until Tuesday this week.  I think we went through withdrawal!  I did find out you can get 15 channels over the air in Lakeway, most with HD - go figure.

We did get about .6 inch of rain during the last week but we need more.  The lake is dropping about a foot a week, a lot of evaporation with the hot temperatures and LCRA is sending some water downstream.  Current level is 665.73 and last week it was 666.55.  Full pool is 681 so we are about 16 feet down.  This is about 4 feet below average for this time of year - not too bad.
------------------------
Council met in regular session Monday evening.  Here is that agenda.  The Oath of Office was administered to Council Members Steve Smith and Keith Trecker bu Judge Madison.  Jim Powell was replaced on the dias by Steve Smith.  I have worked with Mr. Powell for both of his terms and have found him to be an outstanding representative.  He is the epitome of a public servant, he worked diligently to make sure the city was well represented - thank you so much for your work!

Judge Madison then swore in Mayor Elect Sandy cox - she is now Mayor Sandy Cox and took her position at the dias.  

The Police Station is on time and on budget - it's starting to look like a building.

A SUP was granted to Lake Travis Middle School to place 3 portable buildings to house students until the new middle school by the bus barn is completed.

Item 7 Short Term Rentals was tabled until corrections could be made.

Flint Rock Trace was vacated per a request from the Overlook at Lakeway.

Mayor Cox requested a work session to discus city committees and commissions.  Here is that agenda. 

Item 10 appointed Ron Massa and Keith Trecker to the Comprehensive Plan Committee.  If ZAPCO will appoint their two members, those four plus the city manager will appoint the five citizen members.

Item 11 was an update from Devin Monk on the Engagement Committee but he was delayed and was unable to attend.  This will be discussed at the work shop next Thursday.

Item 13 was also tabled because of the upcoming work shop.

Item 14 was a discussion in Executive Session about the Bojorquez Law Firm and election issues.  Council voted to accept his resignation as City Attorney.  A RFQ will be sent out shortly for that position.
--------------------------
My guess is the big interest is the election lawsuits.  The TRO that was filed last week has been "nonsuited" (A broad term for any of several ways to terminate a legal action without an actual determination of the controversy on the merits. For instance, a judgment of nonsuit may be granted against a plaintiff who either fails to pursue, or abandons, the action.)  It's done.

In its place is a Writ of Mandamus filed by Ms. McMillan against the city and Mayor Cox.  Here is that petition.  The city has retained legal council and will fight this petition.  I am not a lawyer but here is a synopsis:

McMillan wants to force the city to hold a runoff election for the mayors race.  Council tried to address the issues in a special meeting held on April 23, 2018 - here is a link to that meeting.  Secretary of State provided the city with what they considered a good path forward, this included PAUSING the section of the 2014 Charter changes to delay the implementation of 3 year terms on both the Council and Mayors race until changes could be made to implement "places" in the council race.  This is what caused all the term changes.  Although no one was really happy, the council voted unanimously to go with this plan because it would put the city in the most favorable position with the courts since the SOS recommended it.

It's now before the court again.  I expect we will get some ruling in the next week or so.

Today Lakeway held it's annual Memorial Day Service at the Emmaus Catholic Church.  This is a wonderful opportunity to thank the soldiers that made our country what it is today.  We would not have the freedoms and life we enjoy if the brave men and women would not have stepped up and sacrificed for our liberties.  Thank you to all of our veterans!


Bryan Degner

Placing of the Wreath
The Guest Speaker was Bryan Degner, Director of Education, National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg, TX.  His comments and speech were very moving and were appreciated by all in attendance.  


Color Guard - Lakeway Police
The Wreath was placed by Nancy Forage, Vice Regent, Lohmann's Ford Chapter NSDAR and Mike Olsen of the Lakeway Police Department - out thanks go out to the Lakeway Police, Lohmans Ford NSDAR, Sing Alongs, Standing Military Committee and the Emmaus Church for making this possible.  Thanks also to Major General Rod Kelly, (R) for his and the Standing Military Committee's efforts to make this event very special!

From the Chief:
LPD Officers conducted 239 traffic stops, responded to 11 alarm calls, responded to 27 animal calls, responded to 10 collisions, answered 19 suspicious circumstances calls, completed 1 mental health calls, and handled 147 other types of calls for service for a total of 454.

Routine traffic stops resulted in the following charges; Open Container X 1, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia X 3.

Officers responded to the lobby of the police department in reference to a theft report. A subject advised that they had taken their vehicle to a local dealership for repairs. When they picked up their vehicle, they noticed several items missing from the vehicle. This case has been forwarded to CID for investigation.

Officers responded to a Lakeway Dr. hotel in reference to a disturbance. Upon arrival officers learned that a verbal argument had taken place in the room leased by a couple. Both parties were interviewed and it was determined that no offense had occurred. Both subjects had been drinking and the hotel management wished them to leave. A friend was contacted and came to the scene, taking custody of both persons. No charges were filed in this case. 

Sgt. Brown provided an Identity Theft Prevention for Elderly Individuals presentation at the Laura Bush Community Library during an event hosted by the Austin Senior Resource Alliance. The goal of the community outreach event was to help senior citizens prevent and/or identify threats of identity theft and other financial based crimes. 

Our detectives have been providing orientation training to Det. Roman Pena who was recently assigned to the unit. Det. Pena will complete a transitional style “field training program”, which will provide him with instruction and evaluation of basic investigative technique and processes. 


During this Memorial Day weekend we will have our full staffing levels in effect. We are participating with area law enforcement along with DPS in a task force focused on traffic safety. Please be mindful of the extra patrols. Remember to slow down when approaching a police unit that is out on a stop and when possible vacate the travel lane to allow them safer space. Be safe, be well and enjoy this holiday weekend! 

That's all I've got right now, more coming soon.  If you want to be added (or removed) from my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done.  

Thanks for all the continued support - it is appreciated!

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Election Info, 620 Accident, Cherry Knoll Dismissed, Council and More!

It's been an interesting week.  Let me recap a few items.  

Shortly after voting started in the May election, it was brought to our attention that there was an issue with our charter and the state constitution and the way we were holding elections.  

In 2014 we made a change to the charter to have 3 year terms for elected officials.  This was primarily because with 2 year terms the council quorum could change every other year.  One year 3 council members had to run and the next year 3 more had to run along with the mayor.  There was also discussion at the time that it took a new council member a while to learn the ins and outs of the office and they were running for election right after they figured out the system.

Council was told this would initiate a "resign to run" rule that says if you want to run for higher office (mayor) you had to resign your current position and that would initiate an election to fill your position in 120 days.

That charter change was passed by the voters in Lakeway in 2014.  Fast forward to 2018.  It was brought to our attention that there were two other items that were missed by our legal counsel at the time.  Those two items were (a) the city needed to adopt a "place" system so candidates would sign up to run for a specific "place" on the council and (b) it would require a majority vote at election time instead of a plurality.  Our legal counsel made an error and we will move forward to fix the problem.

Once this was brought to our attention, legal counsel started working with the Secretary of State (SOS) on how to move forward with an election that had already started.  The mayors election was not a big issue, if there was a runoff, the top two candidates would run against each other.  The big issue was with the council race where there were 6 candidates for two positions and there was no case law on how to hold a runoff election.  This is further compounded by the fact that both election (mayor and council) had to use the same rules.

The path the (SOS) recommended was to "PAUSE" the implementation of the 3 year terms that started in 2014.  This entailed a complex solution that restated the terms of office from 2014.  Everyone that had won a 3 year term now went to 2 years and if they were in the third year at this time they were considered "hold over" until another election.

The city held a special council meeting on April 23, 2018 and all candidates were invited and (I believe) attended.  The path forward was explained - the mayor would serve 1 year, one council member (highest votes) would serve 2 years and one council member would serve one year.  Two other council members were considered "hold overs" and a special election would be held in November to fill those seats.  The election would be held under two year term rules and would require a plurality vote.  No runoffs would be required and the "resign to run" rule would not be in effect. 

Many candidates spoke, and at the end of the meeting everyone including all mayoral candidates and council candidates (with one exception) seemed to understand the situation and felt this path was a viable option to move forward. 

Now fast forward to this week.  The election was held, the preliminary vote showed that Sandy Cox won with 42% of the vote, Steve Smith had the most votes in the council race and Keith Trecker was next.  

On Monday, Ms. McMillan and an attorney didn't like the outcome of the election and filed a petition for a TRO to stop the seating of Mayor Elect Cox on the 21st.  Here is that petition.  There were many issues with the petition including Ms. Cox was named (individual that has no control over election rules) and the city council (not a jural entity) was named.  They could have named the city and/ all council members individually but did not do that. If an election is to be contested there is a process for that contest - this petition was trying to circumvent that process.  Our attorney filed a brief to the court although the "city" was not named in the petition.  Here is that brief

The judge evidently chose not to issue the TRO.  A hearing was not held.  This is all moot at this point and the city moves forward.

State law says the city must "canvass" the vote within 11 days of the election.  Travis County (election folks) don't make the final total available to us until that 11th day (May 16) and we held a special meeting to "canvass" the vote on the 16th.  Generally this is not a big deal - in fact only 2 council members constitutes a quorum for this.  However, we also needed to finalize the term lengths and talk about a law suit (not the election one) in executive session. 

The council meeting was held and the vote "canvased".  All this means is the council votes to make Travis County's tally official.

Mayor Elect Cox signed the necessary paperwork and took her oath of office before a notary and turned in that paperwork after the meeting Wednesday.  I signed a certificate of election Thursday as is required by law.  Ms. Cox and Council Members will be sworn in and take office Monday at the council meeting as is the normal process.

Candidates have 10 days from the date of canvass to contest the election in the courts.  The city has not been served and there is no official pending contest.  That could always change but the city went forward with a process recommended by the SOS and counsel.  Any contest will have to overcome that and provide an alternate "legal" path forward.

The city will go forward with business as usual.  There is no corruption or nefarious actions in the city.  Those that say that and are spreading those comments should reconsider and if they feel strongly there is an issue should do their own research and bring it to the police, city manager, myself, go tho the district attorney with a complaint or hire an attorney and file suit. Continuing unfounded claims is not productive and is not helpful to the democratic process.
--------------------------


As reported earlier in the week there was an accident that involved a fire truck and 5 other vehicles at 620 and Comanche Trails (turn off for Oasis).  There were no fatalities and I'm told all have been release from the hospital except the fireman that was driving the truck.  Please keep all these folks in your prayers for a speedy recovery.  We were very lucky that this was not far more serious.

We received notice this week that the Cherry Knoll lawsuit has once again been completely dismissed.  We purchased land from the plaintiffs to complete the Flint Rock Road project, paid appraised price and everyone was happy.  They (and we) signed a contract agreeing that all were happy with the outcome and no one would sue.  I don't think they will refile - no one knows for sure.  here are the orders.  Order on Motions - Final Judgement

Council will meet in regular session Monday the 21st.  Here is that agenda.   The new Mayor and Council Members will be sworn in and the rest of the agenda is pretty self explanatory.  Here is a link to the packet with more info.

The Impact had an article on the Sports Parks in Travis County that includes infor on the Bee Creek Sports Complex.  Here is a link to that article.

Staff met with TxDOT this week and discussed the upcoming 620 project (yea).  They will most likely start working with a committee of stakeholders this fall.

Public Works replaced yield signs with stop signs at the intersection of Copperleaf and Plum to make the intersection safer.  Now if we can just get folks to stop and look!

From the Chief:
LPD Officers conducted 197 traffic stops, responded to 13 alarm calls, responded to 17 animal calls, responded to 12 collisions, answered 18 suspicious circumstances calls, completed 1 mental health calls, and handled 134 other types of calls for service for a total of 392.

Routine traffic stops resulted in the following charges; Driving while Intoxicated X 2, Evading Arrest/Detention X 1, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia X 3.

Officers responded to a RR 620 S. business in reference to a disturbance. The manager advised that a customer had repeatedly returned to the business and was harassing employees over an account. The management asked that the subject be issued a trespass warning for the business. No charges were filed in this case.

Detectives were assigned to investigate a report of a Theft that occurred in the 200 block of Sendera Bonita. According to the victim, he had several rare coins mailed to his residence, but indicated he never received them. The coins were later observed posted for sale by another individual. Detectives were able to positively identify that seller as the postal carrier who had been responsible for delivering the coins to the victim’s residence. Detectives worked closely with the United States Postal Inspector’s Office and collected enough evidence to obtain an arrest warrant (Theft, Felony) for the suspect.

Communications Supervisor Olsen and Sgt. Brown represented the Lakeway Police Department at the ASIS International Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon held at the Domain. The event was attended by staff members from all Central Texas area law enforcement agencies as well as area private security corporate representatives.


Detectives were assigned to investigate a report of an Assault that occurred in the 1100 block of RR620 North. According to the victim, she was assaulted by a known associate in the parking lot of a business. Detectives conducted multiple interviews and obtained video footage of the incident. However, Detectives were unable to convince the victim to cooperate/prosecute and the case was closed.
===================
This will be my last blog as Mayor, I hope you have enjoyed the information.  I intend at this point to continue to report - of course it will depend on continued access to information.  I don't expect that to be an issue - almost everything I get is available on the web site or for the asking.

I have enjoyed leading the city for the last 3 years.  I am disappointed that a vocal minority is working hard to discredit hard working elected officials and staff.  

Remember this - we have a very open government, a low tax rate and significant reasons to live in this special place.  Elected officials are there to make decisions in the best interest of the city and it's citizens.  You should elect those that are not single interest candidates and have the best interest of the city at heart.  

I believe that has happened in the last election.  Most importantly, we need to get out and vote!  Less than one fourth of the registered voters voted in this election.  

Thank you for all the support in the past 9 years as an elected official of our wonderful city.  I look forward to staying involved and helping to keep our city the wonderful place I moved to 30 years ago!

If you would like to be added (or removed) from my email list, send me a note and I'll make it happen.  

Have a great Saturday and I'll see you around the city!

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us







Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Election TRO Attempt, Fire Truck Accident on 620 and Response to Johnson Letter

Big week in Lakeway!  

Monday we received a petition from the attorney for candidate McMillan filed with Travis County District Court electronically at 6:59 p.m.  Here is that petition.


  • Council, per the Secretary of State and legal counsel, paused the charter section that caused 3 year terms because of issues with conflicts with the Texas State Constitution.  There were basically 2 issues we were not made aware of during the 2014 Charter changes. 
  • 1.  3 year terms require a majority vote instead of plurality.  That means that if a candidate does not receive 50% + 1 it would force a runoff.
  • 2.  Because of the majority issue, council seats should have been done as "places" - that means the 6 candidates would have to have chosen which seat they wanted to run for.  This would have made any runoff work - the top two vote getters for each "place" would have been in the runoff.  As it is, there was no way or case law showing how to do a runoff.
  • Council "paused" the charter and went back to 2 year terms.  That also threw out the resign to run issue that Council Member Hennagin faced when she chose to run for mayor.  It also negated the requirement to hold an election to replace her within 120 days and the confusion of having a runoff election and the election to replace Ms. Hennagin on the same date.

Yesterday we expected the judge to make a ruling on the TRO.  That did not happen and the judge requested briefs from the attorneys.  Here is the brief from the city's attorney

Because Ms. Cox was filed on and is not yet a city official, she was forced at her expense to hire an attorney to represent her.

Briefs were filed and an opinion was expected today with a possible hearing after 2:30 p.m.  

Council went ahead with the scheduled hearing and as required by law canvassed the vote - this means we received the final report from the county and certified the vote count.  That canvass showed Ms. Cox winning the mayors seat with 42% of the vote.  Steve Smith and Keith Trecker received the most votes in the council race.

The court was silent this afternoon on any orders prohibiting any of the actions taken.  There was no action taken on requiring a runoff as requested by McMillan.

After the meeting I was informed that Ms. Cox had done paperwork and taken the oath of office for mayor.  

I know this is a lot to take in, I expect more information from the court tomorrow and will post it when I get it.  If Ms. McMillan is successful in her bid for a runoff election it will cost about $45,000 tax dollars.  We will see where this goes soon.  
==================
620 was shut down around 2:30 p.m. because of an accident on 620 at Comanche Trails (turn off for Oasis).  A Southbound fire truck crossed into the oncoming lanes, hit 5 cars and turned over.  There were 10 individuals transported to hospitals, all but one have been released - no fatalities - we are blessed!  We wish all the best for the firefighters and civilians that were injured and wish a fast recovery for all!
==================
Finally, you might have received a letter from Gil Johnson about the build method on the police station.  He passed the letter out at the Men's Breakfast Club a few weeks ago and asked for corrections or issues if anyone could help.  I took that letter and had staff write a red line response - here is that response with matrix included at the end.  It showed significant errors in his letter and his assumptions.  Although given correct data, he sent out his letter without any consideration for those corrections.

Today we finished a response to that letter.  Here is that response.  I am disappointed although Mr. Johnson started out saying he did not suggest any inappropriate conduct, that he then went on to state that City Manager Steve Jones and I were loose and mismanaged taxpayer funds.  Mr. Johnson's quote: "I submit that this is loose and unacceptable mismanagement of $23,000,000 of taxpayer funds."

There is NO mismanagement of these funds and all the city has done has tried to protect taxpayers dollars.  Please read the red line and response.  

As always, tell your friends about the blog.  If you would like to be added or removed from the email list send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done.  If you have questions, email me!

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us