Saturday, February 16, 2019

Weather, Election News, Ethic Complaint, Council and More!

Another week, another weather swing!  90° Friday and woke up to 42° this morning.  Had to replace the weather sensor last week and it is up and running.  It's always fun getting up on the roof....

See the conditions online - here is a link.

Lakeway's Park Survey is online.  If you haven't done it yet, go online and take the city's survey - here's a link.  It's important to be heard on what's important to you in our community.  The survey is open until February 25, 2019.

Friday was the last day to sign up for the upcoming city election for Mayor and three Council Members.  It looks like we have plenty to choose from.  This election actually will elect a quorum of the council.  Choose wisely!

Click on name to go to their application.

For Mayor:
Incumbent Sandy Cox  Resident 18 Years, 5 Months
Tom Kilgore  Resident 2 Years, 8 Months

Council Member:
Lisa Butler  Resident 11 Years
Doug Howell  Resident 5 Years 7 Months
Sanjeev Kumar  Resident 12 Years 6 Months
Marvin Meade  Resident 25 Years, 6 Months
Julie Reichert  Resident 2 Years, 9 Months
Sean Sutton  Resident 8 Years, 7 Months
Gretchen Vance  Resident 7 Years, 7 Months

I caution all of the candidates to be careful to follow the rules.  lately it seems that some of our distinguished citizens would rather file complaints with the Texas Ethics Commission than politely tell the candidate of the issue.  That was not the Lakeway way until just recently.

Election day is May 4th, early voting starts April 22 and ends April 30.
Revision #1

The LTISD School Board election sign up also closed on Friday.  It will be an uncontested election - the incumbents all signed up with no others filing as of Friday at 5 PM.  Those candidates are:

Place 3 Jessica Putonti
Place 4 John Aoueille

Place 5 Kim Flasch 

Mayor Charles Edwards' ethic complaint by Ms. McMillan (aka Tiffany Bryce or Soccer Mom) was dismissed by the Ethics Commission.  This complaint was filed on a letter written in 2003 by then Mayor Edwards about the overpopulation of deer to the TPWD.

The complaint was dismissed because of the Statute of Limitations.  It did not address the inaccuracies stated in the complaint and the report by the Lake Travis View.  

Ms. McMillan alleges that Mayor Edwards wrote that the City "installed three miles of fence".  The letter to TPWD stated that "three miles of fence" had been installed - and actually was by the Village of the Hills - no reference that Lakeway built it.  A slight oversight that neither the complainant nor the reporter for the View caught.  

There was also the issue that the Ethics Code did not contain any reference to Hinderance or Resources in it at the time and was not implemented.  Once again, it was explained that it was an "Ex Post Facto" issue - I say once again because it was an issue in previous complaints filed by her.

The followup article in the View although somewhat dismissive still did not tell the whole story.  The degradation of good folks reputation has to stop.  

It will be interesting where this goes.  Mistakes like this and publication of false statements have consequences.

Council meets in regular session Tuesday, February 19, 2019.  Here is a link to the agendaHere is a link to the meeting packet.

It looks like another long meeting.  

It appears item 6 is declaring a vacancy on Council.  Council Member Bertram has missed 3 meeting and will leave council.  I find the timing interesting on this with the election in May.

Council Member Bridge Bertram did a great job as Lakeway City Council Member and I appreciate her hard work.  Thank you for your service to the community!

Items 7-9 are pretty standard Special Use Permits and a Plan revision.

Item 11 changes a C-1 Ordinance allowing greater that 100,000 Sq. feet for residential purposes.  C-1 was restricted to 100,000 feet to prohibit big box stores in Lakeway.  Senior living and some residential were not part of that intention and now will be excluded.

14 and 15 pertain to BDS regulations. 

The rest is pretty standard stuff unless someone has issues with something.  Should be over before midnight....

I was asked about a picture of the entire Hospital District so here's what I came up with.  Double click to see a larger view or go to Sky Pictures to see it full size.  

I was honored to have lunch with Commissioner Daugherty last week.   We had a good conversation about the county's plans, CAMPO, traffic and the political issues we are all facing.  Commissioner Daugherty has always been very helpful in our part of the county.

As always, thank everyone for the continued support!  If you need photos or a website check out these pages - Sky Pictures and JB Hosting .  If you would like to be added (or removed) from the email list send a note to and I'll get it done.

Thanks again!
Joe Bain
Sky Pictures
JB Hosting

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Weather?, Editorial, Council, ZAPCO and MORE!

What about the weather?  High of 79 on Tuesday, high yesterday was 37.  That's a 40° spread, ugh.  The rain they promised didn't come but the sleet and graupel? did appear.  What in the world is graupel?  Soft small pellets of ice created when supercooled water droplets coat a snowflake - why had I never heard of this????  Not to fear, it will warm up Sunday ahead of yet another front early next week.  Highs in the 50's and 60's.  Maybe some rain?

Editorial:  We are back in yet another election cycle.  When we moved here in 1988 (and before that for years) folks volunteered and worked in the city and learned about city government.  Then if they had the inclination, they ran for council and then mayor - it takes a while to learn about government and the differences between how that works and how things work in the private sector.  

It's a new world now.  In 2014 we changed the charter to allow for 3 year terms and that was working pretty well except our attorney left out the part that it requires a majority vote (50%+1) instead of a plurality.  Since then, on advice of the Secretary of State, we went back to 2 year terms and a plurality vote.  Why am I bringing all this up again?  Because what is happening in this cycle is just what we were trying to prevent in the election by going to 3 year terms.  There are a total of 4 seats up for grabs in this election - the Mayor and 3 council seats.  What is the issue?  Depending on the outcome, the entire majority of the council can/will change.
As of Friday, the City Secretary reported that 6 packets had been picked up.  Sandy Cox, Dwight Haley, Thomas Kilgore, Caren Kilgore, Wendi Severence and Gretchen Vance.  Ms. Vance has already filed for council.  None of the interested parties except for Ms. Cox and Mr. Haley have any experience with city government unless you count the two lawsuits Mr. Kilgore has filed.  It should be interesting!
Council held a work session on Monday evening - here is that agenda.  They had a presentation from Justin Bragiel from the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association.  He gave council an overview with some detail on what the collected funds could be spent on.  Hasn't changed much, any expenditures need to support the local hotels - the term heads on beds is appropriate.  Money can be used for advertising and some transportation.  A convention / conference center could be built and funded.  A few other things came up, the problem is most folks don't want additional tourists coming into our city.  Here is a link to the video.

A update presentation was given by Bill Hayes on the proposed development for the MUD property off Lohmans.  This layout consisted of some commercial and some residential.  It is lower density than was previously proposed, but also includes NO road from Lohmans to the Oaks.  The proposed road will be a 2 lane that would go to the end of the MUD property - it would not cross the Stratus property.  Right of way would be provided if the city wants to partner and make this a 4 lane.  Costly!  It is estimated a $2M+ just for the piece to cross the Stratus property (bridge required).  The rest to Lohmans I estimate to cost between $3-5M.  There is also space allotted for a larger park.  There is also space for a couple of parking garages if the city wishes to build them.
ZAPCO met in regular session Wednesday - here is that agenda.  Item 5 was postponed, item 6 was denied.  It was a request to reduce the parking requirements for a property on Clara Van across from the Lexus Dealer.  Items 7, 8, and 9 were approved.  Item 10 to revise the Preliminary Plan of Lakeway Medical Village was approved.

ZAPCO has a special meeting planned for February 13.

Lakeway is changing for sure!  There were two issues at the High School this last week.  One was a student that was unhappy with a grade and attacked the English teacher - the other was a gun threat that after investigation was proven unfounded by the authorities.  Not changing for the better unfortunately.

Of course, the Super Bowl was a real cliff hanger, much like a soccer game - lowest scoring ever.  It was like watching paint dry - even the commercials were mediocre.  I miss the Budweiser Clydesdales. 

Honey Creek Subdivision
Progress is moving forward on thre Honey Creek Subdivision on the East side of 620.  They seem to also be making progress on the Springhill Suites in Lakeway Medical Village.  Click on picture for larger view.

There are more new pictures on SkyPicturesHere is a link to the Recent Pictures section.  It includes many other new shots including Police Facility progress.

Don't forget that Lakeway Vet Clinic is open 24 hours for emergency's.  They have been outstanding with our Bulldog Bella who is doing remarkably well!  Thanks to Dr. Doyle and his staff for taking care of Lakeway pets and animals! 

That's all for the moment, more as I remember or I hear about it.  Thanks to all that continue to express their  appreciation for the blog!  

Please visit my Sky Pictures site for aerial photo's and JB Hosting if you have a need for a web presence.  

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

Joe Bain

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Yuk Weather, Council and More!

Howdy!  Been a while, took a little vacation from the blog.  Can you believe the weather?  Cold, warm, and this wet mist and fog.  I understand it's going to be mid 70's today and in the 80's before the next cold front.  Ugh!  As always, the weather station is available - Here's a link and of course there is a permanent link at the top right of the blog page - I don't think mobiles can see that.

Hard to take pictures in this weather, but I've had a couple of gigs that have been fun.  Here's a picture I took of the Lakeway Airpark in January before the weather became a mess.  Changed a lot since it was purchased and turned it into a non-profit in 1995.  Still going strong!

The last Council meeting was another marathon, went to about 11:30 PM.  Here's a link to that agenda and packet.  Here's the high spots:

The City's finances are doing well, money in the bank and a flat tax rate - what more could you ask for?  There are flashing signs ordered for Lakeway Blvd. - to let folks know if they are speeding.  Chief Radford reported that speeds don't appear to be an issue - more a distracted driver issue.  People need to get off their phones and drive.

The Police Station project is on time and on budget.  Should be pretty much finished this month - then the work of making sure the dispatch center is up and ready to go for the move.  Maybe they'll be in sometime in March?

A new Associate Municipal Judge was appointed and sworn in, welcome Judge Michele Locke!

Council amended the ordinance concerning the Juvenile Case Manager Fund to make it work with the current staff and plan.

Council approved creation subject to voter approval of a new Travis County Emergency Services District No. 16.  This will go to the voters and is an "overlay" district that takes in a small part of Rough Hollow.  If approved, it would allow an additional $0.10 of tax per $100 for those involved.  Per the current EMS district they need the money to service their area.

Item 10 allowed Lakeway Plaza Partners to combine their properties for the purpose of impervious cover uses.  Good plan.  Currently the rumor is an office building between the pond and behind Thai Spice.  This was previously know as the Reed Tract.

70 acres of property the city owns was re-zoned from AG (agriculture) to PI (Park).  This is for the "Sports Park" that will serve our youth and will be built by the county at a cost of about $21M.  Another 30 acres was re-zoned from AG to C1 (Commercial) for the property along Highlands Blvd.

A general election was called for May 4 to elect a Mayor and 3 Council Members.  Mr. Kilgore again spoke to change the terms back to 3 years and go to a "place" system for council.  There was discussion but no change made.  Will we be sued again?  We'll see.  Two folks have pulled a package so far - Mayor Sandy Cox for re-election to Mayor and Dwight Haley for Council.  

A survey was approved for Parks an Rec. and a donation was accepted from the LCC (Lakeway Civic Corporation)  for Swim Center Improvements and Heritage Committee mini movies.

Citizen's participation went on for quite a while with those upset about the termination of a swim coach.  The coach was terminated by 3 employers in the area.  I'm sure we'll see more on this soon.

Council then retired into executive session to talk wit the attorney about court cases.  Two involving a lawsuit with Cherry Knoll L.L.C that has been going on for years.  It was thrown out twice by Federal Court in Austin and is now being appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

The lawsuit(s) against the City by Tom Kilgore were evidently also discussed along with legal issues about the election issues.

Nothing was voted on or discussed when they came out so we'll have to wait and see.
Nest week there will be a special session of council to discuss the Hotel Occupancy Tax (education and discussion) and an update on the plans for the MUD property off Lohmans.  Here's the agenda.

Went to a BSW Hospital Advisory Meeting January 24.  Great discussion on ways to improve the already great service our hospital provides.  Good discussion and some new ideas!  I appreciate their willingness to continue improving!

Well, today's the Super Bowl!  The Saints should be playing and aren't because of a lousy call but I can't wait for the commercials.  Be careful and have fun!

Don't forget, I do Web Hosting if you need a web page or just special email addresses.  Check out JB Hosting or send me an email with questions.

I also do aerial photos - roof inspections, Real Estate, Construction and more - see Sky Pictures or email me!

Thanks for the continued support - as always, if you have questions email me and I'll try to answer them!

As always, if you want to be added to my email list, send a note to and I'll make it happen.  Have a GREAT day and enjoy our wonderful city.

Joe Bain


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Meetings, Meetings and More!

Well, another week has passed and the weather continues to amaze me.  Cold, wet, warm and sunny, all in one week.  We are now in the cold - wet arena, I'm tired of it.  However, I get tired of the 103 degree temps in Summer pretty quickly too.  Weather Station link.

We got .4 inch of rain last night and the temperatures hovered about 50 degrees.  I hear it's going to get a little cooler today.  

Busy week for committee meetings.  First was on Tuesday, the reconstituted Park and Recreation met at 6:30.  Here was that agenda.  

Wednesday should be called Committee Wednesday - it started with ZAPCO, here was that agenda and packet.  Lakeway Town Centre
was granted a revised preliminary plan.  This is a combination of the development where CVS and Flores is, and the development where Wendy's is and properties West of both.  The plan was combined to pool the impervious cover to allow future use of some of the property.  Revision was granted unanimously.

A Re-Plat was granted to 15502 S. Flamingo Drive to create two 1 acre commercial lots.  Approved.

A Short Term Rental SUP was granted to 4 Casa Verde, item 7.  

Item 8 was postponed, it was a request for a SUP for a permit to operate a food vending business at World of Tennis.

Item 9 was a request from Travis County to re-zone the 70 acres West of Bee Creek Rd. from AG to P1 (Park) for the development of the Public Sports Complex.  Approved unanimously.

Item 10 re-zoned 30 acres on the South side of the previous property to Commercial.

Item 11 was a sign request from the project that is just North of Flintrock Road at 620 - they are moving dirt there.  They were looking for significantly larger signs for leasing and the building than is allowed.

Signs for the building and monument were approved, leasing signs were not approved.

Item 12 appointed Carolyn Nichols as a Comprehensive Plan Committee member to replace Dave Taylor.  Approved unanimously.
The Board of Adjustment met at 3 PM.  

Item 2 was a height variance for the Serene Hills Independent Living at 5099 Bee Creek Rd.  The board granted 40 feet because of the challenges of the property elevations.

Item 3 was a variance requesting increased square footage for the project.  Currently ordinance restricts commercial space to 100,000 sq. feet.  This ordinance was implemented to keep "big box" stores out of Lakeway after Walmart wanted to build a store on 620.  Since that time several projects for Senior Living projects have been granted allowances for their projects to exceed 100,000 sq feet.  This item required a super majority (6 out of 7) and was voted down - 5 in favor and 2 against.  The requester came back and lowered the requirement from 200K to 190K.  The Board again went into executive session - I don't know for sure, but I assume the attorney told them if they denied this since others were allowed the city would be at risk of lawsuit.  The committee returned and again voted to deny this request, 5-2.

Item 4 was a request from a homeowner to overturn a City Building Commission ruling that denied a requested height for an addition because of view blocking.  The Board punted and sent it back to CBC for further discussion.
Next the Engagement Committee met at 6:30 - here was their agenda.  I'll try to find out what happened this week.
Thursday the Wildlife Advisory Committee met.  Here was their agenda.  This was a work session and the committee was given a presentation on allowable options.  There will be another work session to finish the presentations.
Busy week for meetings!  From the court docket, it looks like Kilgore 2 went to court Wednesday.  I guess we will hear the results when the judge rules.

The Sundancer re-opened Thursday after the flood.  Glad to see it's back, go by and patronize our friends - it's down near the end of Stewart Rd. - they have great food and drinks!

Glad you're reading the blog!  Let me know if you have questions or suggestions.  If you want to be added (or removed) from the email list, send a note to and I'll take care of it.

Joe Bain

Friday, January 4, 2019

Weather, ZAPCO, Regional Recycle Center Date and Pictures!

It's Friday and time for an update on the weather.  A total of 2.5 inches at the 15th Tee on Live Oak Golf course.  The temperatures weren't too great either.  New Years Day, high 43, low 37, Jan. 2nd., high 38, low 34.  It's looking better today and for the weekend.

ZAPCO coming up on Wednesday, here's the agenda.  Not a real big day for them - item 5 is a revision to the Preliminary Plan for Lakeway Towne Centre.  This is the area East of the Police Station and is currently permitted for a storage / office building.  I believe it will be going to just office - hoping for a restaurant!  Beautiful lot with clear water lake.

Item 6 is a re-plat on Flamingo Dr.  No issues.

Items 7 & 8 are SUP's for STR's (Short Term Rentals) - both in condominiums.  I see no issue with them so far and no complaints.

The rest of the items are pertaining to the land that the Sports Complex will be built on - zoning changes and one piece of the adjoining land will be re-zoned from AG to C-1 Commercial.

There is also a request for a sign variance on Flintrock Trace.
Start the New Year by dropping off your unwanted paint, cleaners, and other household hazardous waste materials at the Lake Travis Regional Re-Use and Recycling Center from 9 a.m.-noon Jan. 23.

Lots going on at the Activity Center - here's a link to that page.

New pictures are up - here's a lint to the recent photo's.  Enjoy!  Updated pictures of the Police Project, Jason's Deli is moving right along and updates to the new Medical Office Building at the Hospital.

Working on JB Hosting - if you need a website or domain hosted, give me a call.  Hosting starts at $47.95 - get you a domain for a GREAT mail id.  That's how I do "" and my email addresses.

Thanks for all the emails and questions - I try to answer all I can.  If you want to be added to my email list, send a note to and I'll get you added.

Happy New Year!

Joe Bain

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Weather and Traffic + A Solution?

Happy New Year!  I hope you all have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and New Year Holiday!  I wish you an enjoyable and prosperous New Year.  Now we have to start writing 2019 on our checks....

Well, we've had interesting weather for the last week / month of the year.  the last large rain event brought us about 2.8 inches.  .2 inches yesterday.  We had a total of 6.05 inches for the month of December.  Temperatures are interesting too.  For December we had a high of 87.3 and a low of 30.4.  

Rain and cold for the next few days.  35 degrees at Live Oak's 15th tee.  About .91 inch of rain so far since midnight.  Don't forget, here is a link to my weather station.  It's available 24/7.  And as a New Year's present, the Texas Longhorns won the Sugar Bowl with a score of 28-21.  Great way to start the New Year!

Lot's of talk about traffic issues.  There are really two issues we are facing.  Internal and external traffic.  Internally it would have been nice to have a road from Lohmans to the Oaks.  It can still happen, but will most likely require city money.  Lakeway historically has not spent money on new roads, they have negotiated with developers to provide new infrastructure.  That was the case with the MUD property until negotiations were cut off when the original project there was denied and negotiations were stopped by ZAPCO.

Now that project is moving forward with another direction.  Instead of a 4 lane blvd. crossing the property, the developer is suggesting a 2 lane access to his development with ROW furnished if the city would like to make it wider.  I'm unsure of the plan for the second road crossing the property near the library.  This will be a significant expense for the city - my guess is at least $5M, probably more.  This also does not take into account that the road will end at the Stratus property - the developers agreement with them requires the road be built only when they start development.  This part requires a bridge - about $2M+.  

That being said, this would have some impact on the external issues.  That impact would be the local traffic that could access the Oaks internally - It would relieve that traffic that is now forced to go via 620.

There are two external issues facing the city.  One of course is 620 and the other is Hwy 71.  620 is up for improvement and the design and planning process is ongoing.  This will require a $5M contribution from Lakeway and Bee Cave.  The total cost of the project is between $70-$90M and will make 620 6 lanes from Hwy 71 to Oak Knoll with a median.  Most of this project is being funded by TxDOT and CAMPO.

The real issue is the amount of traffic!  620 was designed for about 20,000 cars a day and now is handling about 50-60K cars a day.  This number is increasing continuously.  Hwy 71 is in about the same predicament.  Although I don't have data, my guess is it was designed for 30-40K cars per day and is handling 50-70K cars per day.  

These external issues are mostly caused by lack of planning by Travis County.  Their plan was to not increase the roads so people would not move into the Hill Country.  That didn't work.

So, what the solution.  I have one, but it's not real popular with Travis County.  The solution is connecting the "Loop".  You know, we have "Loop 1", you can go North on it and then turn around and go South on the same route.  We also have "Loop 360" that is really a blvd.  

I'm talking about a REAL loop.  This would connect at 45 on the North side of town where it ends near Lakeline Mall.  It would eventually go Southwest and cross the "Preserve" that is just East of Lakeway and continue to eventually connect to 45 again.  Some of the South part has already been built.

When I was on the CAMPO Board, I actually had this on the illustrative plan a few years ago.  Here is a link to an article by the Four Points News.  The environmentalists don't like this and fought to have it removed.  They succeeded but it would still be a good plan.  We need to work hard to get the plan reinstated.  Damage to the environment would be minimal with an elevated road across the "Preserve" and it would take much of the load off 620, Hwy 71 and 360.

There's NO other plan.  The improvements to 620 and 360 will help but will be overwhelmed within years.  We need a new route.  The longer we wait, the harder and more expensive it will be.  The environmentalists have no concern for the people injured and killed in the traffic fiasco we are all living.  

Give this some thought - what do you think?  Do we need a long term solution or just a temporary patch.  

Thanks for the support!  Let's work together for a solution.  I'll have more about what's coming up in Lakeway later in the week.

If you have a pet, be sure to consider Lakeway Vet on 620, they are GREAT folks and really care.  They are part of our community and work hard to make our animals happy and healthy - open 24 hours a day.  There's a link at the top right if your using a PC.

I've completed my eye surgery with Dr. Rhodes and Lake Travis Eye and Laser center.  What a wonderful experience.  Both Dr. Rhodes and staff were outstanding.  This was probably the best professional experience I have ever had.  If you need an Ophthalmologist, please consider Dr. Rhodes and Lake Travis Eye and Laser Center.  They're the best!

In case your interested in getting a website or even a domain for an email address, I do low priced hosting.  For a simple site it costs less than $50 a year and I have space available on my servers.  Send me a note or call.  512-970-1041

That's all for today.  More as the weather progresses - hopefully no ice.  Have a GREAT New Year!  If you want to be added to my blog, send a note to and I'll get you added.  Questions are welcome, and I'll try to get the right info.

Joe Bain
Sky Pictures 
JB Hosting

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

CBC, Wildlife Advisory, Police Project, Traffic and Much More!

Our weather is interesting isn't it?  Cold, warm, wet, dry and now a little fog.  Be careful out there, slow down and live.  A significant portion of the traffic issues we have could be greatly improved with a little patience and common sense.

CBC met in regular session on Thursday.  Here is that agenda.  All items were approved without fanfare.  Item 5, view blocking at 816 Mariner was approved with one dissenting vote (found NOT view blocking).

The Wildlife Advisory Committee met on Thursday also.  There are some ideas to help deer, signs, deer reflectors?, reduction of speed limits and there was a discussion on feeding the deer.  

The problem is we have too many deer in Lakeway.  Another spotlight survey was presented to the committee - it shows and estimate of 1350 deer in Lakeway.  The survey only looks at areas that are not good habitat.  That tells me there are more than they estimate.  There are too many deer for the environment to support.  The herd increases by about 30-35% per year.  It's not if but when someone will be severely injured or killed because of an auto accident or even possibly an attack.  

I personally counted 24 deer in front yards as I drove on Vanguard from Zephyr to New Lido.  There were 10 in my back yard.  This is not natural and is not healthy for the deer population.   We need to find a method to  manage the herd.

Looking North
Looking East
The Police Station Project is moving right along.  On time and on budget.  Looks pretty good doesn't it?  Should open Feb-Mar.   Double click the images to see a larger picture. 

City Council had a work session yesterday on traffic and what the city can do about it.  Interesting discussion.  Discussed the upcoming 620 project and time schedule.  There will be more public meetings on this as the design and schedule firm up.

Significant discussion on a "right only" lane Southbound 620 at Lohmans.  Many comments that this was there and went away when the new lane was added.  This is incorrect - people were using the shoulder as a right turn only, this was not a lane - when the new lane went in, there was no room for that same shoulder because of right of way restrictions.

Discussion of PID's (Public Improvement Districts) and TIRZ's (Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone).  These are two different methods of financing infrastructure - basically council is now looking at ways to finance a $10M road to cross the MUD property to obtain access to the Oaks.  It's a shame negotiations were cut off with the developer - he was willing to pay for the road.

Both of these options are problematic.  One forms a taxing district (PID) that the residents of that district pay an assessment on an annual basis to pay for these improvements.  The commercial and residential entities of that district (MUD property development) would pay whatever bond was issued to build a road that the rest of the city residents use for free.

A TIRZ gets revenue on the improvements of the property according to the portion of the tax rate contributed by the city.  This is problematic because of our LOW tax rate.  It also is only available after the improvements are done.  It would be more advantageous if another taxing entity was included, the county for instance, which is what the developer was working on.

Also driving the level of complexity is the land has multiple land owners.  Stratus (developer of the Oaks) owns a piece and is required to build a road across their property when and if they decide to develop it.  As a taxpayer, I don't want to spend $2M to build a road for a developer, increasing their property values and profits.  Their are other owners too, all ow which would benefit from a new road and access.  It's complex!

CAMPO's Executive Director, Ashby Johnson, gave a report on their work.  The growth rate in our area (7 counties) is about 2.8% per year.  this will put the area to about 4M by 2045.  Lots of talk, no roads, maybe bridges or ferry's?, mass transit (buses) to help area traffic.  The area arterial study is ongoing.  I think the best idea is a road across the preserve east of Lakeway, but the environmentalists won't allow that.  All current thoughts would significantly change Lakeway.

All these discussions were at a very high level with issues that will be very hard to find a consensus on.  TxDOT has been very helpful on our issues - remember, they serve the whole state and there is a lot to it.

If you want to see the long version, here is a link.
City Council met in regular session after the work session.  I'll hit the high spots of that meeting - it went past 11PM.  Here is  a link to the meeting agenda and packet.

The City seems to be in good financial shape per the Financial Report given by Julie Oakley.

Per the new BDS Director, there will be multiple avenues to give notice of any doings in the Department - including email lists, signs and notice.  Starts in January.

Chief Radford talked about speeding and basically said it's not so much the speed but the distractions.  They are looking at putting up signs on Lakeway Blvd. that show your speed.

One of the big items on the council agenda was a presentation on adding an "overlay" ESD in addition to the current existing ESD.  The law caps the tax rate for the existing ESD so they are wanting to establish an overlay that would allow an additional $.10 per $100 value.  That is a significant increase.  It would affect parts of Rough Hollow and voters would have a chance to approve or disprove it.

The solicitor ordinance is being amended to remove restrictions for political and religious solicitation.  Put a sign on your door....

The new sign ordinance was adopted with a minor change grandfathering flagpoles.

Swim Center pool improvements were approved.

At about 10:40 PM council reconsidered payment to the mayor for legal expenses.  Two of the council members wanted to rescind the resolution to pay the mayors expense - the motion failed.  Laurie Higginbotham, Louis Mastrangelo and Steve Smith voted to rescind, Bridge Bertram, Ron Massa and Keith Trecker voted against.

If you want to watch the LONG version, here is a link to the video.

Thanks for reading the blog.  I have added pictures of the police project on the Sky Pictures website - here's a link.  Watch as it goes through pictures from start until today.

That's all for now - if you want to be added to my email list send a note to and I'll get you added.

Thanks for the support!  Questions are usually answered!

Joe Bain