Friday, July 19, 2019

Turtles, Taxes, Events, Budget Session, Council and More

Welcome to July in Lakeway!  The weather folks were wondering when we would get the 100° temps, well they're here.  The good news is the forecast is for lower temperatures next week and possibly a little rain?  We've had a great Spring and Summer so far, let's hope it continues.

Laying Eggs
Dug Up, Ugh!
Have you seen any turtles around?  I've had two bury their eggs in our back yard in the last few days.  This one worked hard and laid her eggs yesterday.  Unfortunately, before I could protect them, a skunk came by last night and dug them up and had a feast on the eggs.  I'm going to get some hardware cloth so next time I can protect them and see what happens. 

Don't forget the Blood Drive tomorrow, Saturday, at the Activity Center,  July 20 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Activity Center.  To make a reservation, visit and search group code A197.  You can also send an email to 

It's time again for the Lakeway Heritage Trail Tours.  This is a free tour that can give you some insights into our heritage!  Here's a link to the information.

There's a lot going on at the Activity Center.  Here's a link to the latest information.

There was a budget work session Monday, here was their agenda.  There is also a video - here's that link.

The Dive in Movie tonight is "Incredibles 2".  Here's a link to more info.

Tonight is Bingo at the Activity Center put on by the Lakeway Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association.  20% of the proceeds go to the Lakeway Police Foundation supporting our police.  Doors open at 6:30 and games begin at 7.  

Some take away's:  
Health Insurance may not go up as much as it has for the last few years although they have a continuing loss ratio of 114%. 

 They so far have a balanced budget - unfortunately it is at the "rollback rate" and does not include many of the additions contemplated.

Lakeway has consistently kept our taxes at the "Effective Rate" to keep a fair tax burden on their citizens.  

Maybe I should explain some terms.  "RollBack Rate" is the amount taxes can go up without an election.  Currently it is 8% above the current rate.  The "Effective Tax Rate" is the tax rate that an entity would charge to keep your taxes the same even though your appraisal goes up.  The "Rollback Rate" has been capped by the state legislature to go into effect next year in some cases.  Here is a link to a primer on the tax rates - maybe it would be a good place for some of our elected officials to learn about what they are voting on.  That being said, it is very complex and the final tax figures have not been provided to the city from the county.

The Capital Reserve Fund is at about 35.5% - that is a little more than need to maintain the 30% the city wants.  This is a good thing, it keeps our bond rates low if needed.

There was a significant discussion about Parks and Rec. especially the Activity Center and Pool.  The request from council to maintain a 50% payback rate is causing many rates to go up for clubs and meetings and is straining those entities.  There was also a discussion on what new facilities could be utilized and funded.

There was also a discussion on costs to continue and improve the fire safety of the community.  This includes the fuel management plan in the greenbelts and other fire prevention plans in the city.

There were no meeting packets available for this meeting so it is hard to follow some of the discussion of numbers.  Maybe that could be included in the future.

The attendance at this meeting was in my opinion dismal.  This is where they determine how to spend our tax dollars!  I hope many were watching on video!
Council met in regular session at 6:30 - here was their agendaHere is a link to the video.

All members were present except Mr. Kumar who did a video conference.  Hopefully our elected officials will be able to schedule their time to attend meetings.  Although it is legal, it is disruptive and I think better communications are established in person.   I guess I'm just old school...

It appears the spikes have all been removed from city fences so we can take that off our list.....

Janet Wright gave a presentation on the Art's Committee vision and goals.  Council also voted to accept a donation from John and Judy Hogge of a Robert Holmes Bronze Sculpture - The Game.  

After some discussion, council agreed to allow the Mayor and City Manager to continue with negotiations for a Transportation Study.  There seems to be a rush on this to allow the study to move forward so the work identified can be included in a transportation bond next May.  They are going to need to do a bond for the $5M promised for the 620 project, a separate bond could be issued for any internal transportation projects - hopefully they will not combine them and they could be done later if necessary.

Next was  a resolution creating a Transportation Steering Committee - wouldn't it have been better to form that committee to work on getting information to the consultant doing the transportation study and negotiating prices? 

Significant time was spent on an ordinance update on the Fee Schedules.  Lots of changes in the way permit fees are figured and collected.  For more info go to the agenda link and click on that item number for the full schedule and changes.

Now is a GREAT time to get pictures of your home or property before the grass turns brown.  Email me at for a quote or more info!

Have a GREAT weekend and stay cool.  If you would like to be added to my email list, send a note to and I'll get it done!

Enjoy our GREAT community!

Joe Bain

Friday, July 12, 2019

Weather, County, Taxes, Commissions and More!

The weather just gets more interesting all the time!  Supposed to be a calm week until we got about 1.25 inch of rain Monday evening.  GREAT start to the week - never complain about rain in July!  Then another surprise on Wednesday.  There was a line of storms that formed an "outflow boundary" that brought us some high winds that evening.  My weather station showed .13 inch of rain, but I think that was just caused from the wind shaking the gauge, I didn't have any rain in my backup gauge.  We have had some North? winds since.  That's brought a little dryer air.  We'll see what the next surprise weather nature brings us!

Interesting article this week about county business.  As you probably know, the State passed a cap on property tax increases for cities, counties and schools in the last session.  In light of this, county commissioners are proposing a pay increase for themselves of $32,309 - a 27% pay increase!  The county judge will get $31,371.  The only dissenting vote was Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, the lone conservative on the commission.  Thanks for looking out for the voters Gerald!  Unfortunately, I've heard he's not running for re-election.

It's not a done deal yet, although I don't hold out much hope.  Judge Eckhardt is also recommending raising property taxes the MAXIMUM amount of 7.99% (just under the 8% rollback rate that would require a vote).  That maximum rate goes to 3.5% next year.

The city has worked to keep property taxes low for it's residents - currently $0.1645 per $100 assessed value.  This is down from about $0.23 per $100.  The process to this point has been to lower the rate to maintain approximately the same bill for homeowners as their assessed values go up.  We'll have to see if that continues with the new regime.  I noticed one of our council members negotiated us into a little over a 3% increase on our Solid Waste bill already.

The city is contemplating hiring a firm to do an internal road study to help with the internal traffic in Lakeway.  This study would cost about $163K.  That's a lot of money for a plan to spend a lot more money.

ZAPCO met for a Work Session on Wednesday about the Comprehensive Plan.  Here's the agenda and here's a link to the video.  The consultant did a presentation on where they are and kind of came up with three possible scenarios.  They are also working towards tying the scenarios to tax rates and incomes, I'm not sure that has a place in the Comprehensive Plan.  What do you think?  

City Building Commission (CBC) met in regular session Thursday - here is their agenda.

4)  View Blocking was ruled not an issue
5)  Height pole was down so this item was tabled until the next meeting.
6)  Synthetic grass was approved in lieu of sod with the provision that significant vegetation would be planted to block view from street.
7)  Work Session on procedures - it was determined that agendas will now state a time for on site visits and public meetings and will be recorded.

The rest of the items had no issues.

The Lake Travis View coverage of the July 4th Parade was somewhat disappointing.  No pictures of the Grand Marshall, Captain Ken Cockrell (Fantastic Grand Marshall), no picture of the Grand Prize winner (Lake Travis Sister Wives - GREAT), nothing on the Veterans which was my pick, no picture of any of the elected officials.  Here's a link to the complete list of winners - CONGRATULATIONS!

Here's a link to the "Lakeway Legends" chair routine.  It was great too.

Did you know there was a FBI raid in Lakeway (maybe 2)?  One was an arrest of a man on child pornography.  It is a shame we can't get the police report any more - at least we knew what to expect in our community.  

The Lakeway Church had a Ground Breaking Celebration for a new Sanctuary a couple of weeks ago - Here's a short film clip of the event.  They expect the new building to be dedicated in the Fall of 2020.

The Wildlife Committee met in regular session Thursday evening.  They approved a couple of banners to warn folks of the deer when driving and voted 4-2 to maintain the current population.  Now they need a method to do that that doesn't cost a fortune.  Expect this to go to council by the end of the year.

In case you want to water your yard, the Lakeway MUD watering hours are 7 p.m. until 10 a.m. - no watering 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Addresses ending in odd numbers water Wednesday and Saturday and even numbers water Thursday and Sunday.  Commercial waters Tuesday and Friday.

The Lakeway Community Blood Drive is Saturday, July 20 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Activity Center.  To make a reservation, visit and search group code A197.  You can also send an email to 

If your interested in the 620 project, here is a link to the project page for information and updates.

Now is a great time to think about pictures of your house or property.  The rain has made the landscaping turn greener than ever.  Send me a note if you want some aerial shots - still $75 for 4-6 great pictures.  Check out my website at , be sure to look at recent pictures too

That's all for right now,  If the weather starts to look crazy, I'll do a special report.  Feel free to email me - I answer nearly all of them.  If you would like to be added (or removed) from my email list, send a note to and I'll get you added.

Thanks again for all the support over the years!

Joe Bain

Monday, July 8, 2019

Weather Update - That's All!

What a difference a few hours make!  Here's the storms just North West of Lakeway - about the time the severe weather warning came out.  30 minutes later, it rained, a lot!

We ended up with about 1.22 inches of rain, a little wind and quite a bit of lightning and thunder.  Seems to have knocked out the power on 620, so that is probably a real mess.  

Here it is after it slowed down a little.  You can see this camera on my weather station page along with the current conditions.

Click on the pictures to make them larger.  That's all for now - just a weather update!

Joe Bain

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Weather, Parade, Meetings and More!

What a great July 4th Parade!  The weather was the best I have seen in 20 years!  It was warm, but not as hot as usual.  We even
Photo from City Website
got .07 inch of rain on Wednesday.  Get ready, it looks like it's going to be hot next week - maybe the first 100° day of the year.  Not much chance of rain next week.  Summer is here in Central Texas!

Here's a link to all the winners and highlights of the parade.  

ZAPCO meets next week on Wednesday - here's the agenda.  Looks like the only thing on the agenda is a Work Session on the comprehensive plan and future land use map.  There will be a presentation by Design Workshop.

The Big Band Bash happens on Monday, July 8th from 8-10 p.m. at the Activity Center.  It's a free event and if you haven't been, take some time and check it out.  Enjoy big band music from the 17-piece Republic of Texas Big band.

Wednesday the Heritage Committee meets at 10:00 a.m. at the Lakeway Heritage Center, 936 Lohmans Crossing.  Here's their agenda.

Also Wednesday the Public Engagement Advisory Committee meets at 4:00 p.m. at the City Hall - here is their agenda.

Thursday morning, July 11th, the City Building Commission will meet in regular session - here is their agenda.

Thursday evening, the Wildlife Committee meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the City Hall.  No agenda info yet on this meeting.  

And finally, Friday night Movies in the Park from 8:45-10:45 p.m.  This weeks feature:  Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.  Another free event!

Are we going in the right direction?  On Lakeway Drive Saturday we had a garage sale complete with signs and merchandise in the driveway.  Per the city website,  "Are garage sales allowed in Lakeway?
Yes, garage sales are allowed in Lakeway.  However, directional signs or advertising signs are not permitted anywhere and all merchandise must be inside the garage or the home."

I'm also seeing "Open House" signs all days of the week now, many in the right of way and even in the center median.

More pictures soon - check out the recent pictures tab on Sky Pictures website - a couple of humming birds and the Golf Course Project video is there too.  If you need pictures of your home or property, email me and we'll get it done!

I hope everyone has a great week - pray for a little rain (just to cool it off and water the yard).  If you would like to be added (or removed) from the email list - send a note to and I'll get it done.

If you see a veteran, pause for a minute and thank him / her for their service.  They are the reason that we have the freedom we enjoy every day.

One final note.  If you have a pet or are thinking of getting one, consider Lakeway Vet for their care.  Dr. Doyle and his staff truly care for your pets, have reasonable prices and are just really good people.  Please check them out!

Joe Bain

Thursday, July 4, 2019

4th of July and Presentation by Captain Ken Cockrell

Just a quick post to wish everyone a wonderful and safe July 4th.  What a celebration!  This was the first time in many years I was able to watch the festivities and it was fantastically enjoyable.

Thanks to all  the volunteers that make it possible!

Captain Ken Cockrell was a wonderful speaker with a GREAT sense of humor.

Please mark your calendar for his presentation tomorrow, Friday July 5!

Captain Ken Cockrell presents Flying the Space Shuttle!
Friday, July 5 from 2 to 4 p.m., Lake Travis Community Library. Bring your children and grandchildren.

Here's a picture of one of my friends watching the parade!

Thanks for subscribing to the blog, if you want to be added to my email list send a note to and I'll get you added!

Joe Bain

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Weather, Council (2), July 4th and More!

Greetings!  It's Sunday and time for an update.  First the weather.  Isn't the rain wonderful?  Another .91 inch so far today, and a few showers in the last couple of weeks - more in the forecast.  For those that haven't lived here long, this is a blessing!  Temps have been cooler and the lake is full - landscaping is looking good so far this year!  As always, local weather is available with this link.

Lots of work going on with the Live Oak Golf Course!  Here is a link to a short video showing the progress.

Council met in regular session June 17th.  Here is that agenda.  

Serene Hills Drive now has reflectors so people can stay on the road at night....
Spikes are now off the fence at the Police Facility thanks to a donation.
Police Facility is 98% done, working on warranty issues and an audit is substantially complete with a report promised.

Police Officers are getting help with their diet from HEB and the Lakeway Police foundation.  They are furnishing a healthy meal a day for our officers - this is a great donation by HEB and the Police Foundation, thank you!

The remodel / update of the animal shelter facilities has been completed.  Thank you to the Lions Club ($17K), Jonathon White Construction ($4K labor donation) and the Lakeway Police Foundation ($1745) for making this possible!

8)  BDS Director Charlotte Hodges reported that the overhaul of the city ordinances is moving forward and will continue.

9)  TxDOT and CAMPO made a report on the 620 improvement update.  There were a many questions and this is a complex project.  Some of the biggest issues (other than funding) are right of way issues.  That pesky bike lane is one issue along with businesses that are built right up to the right of way.

10)  Mike LaRocca, Engagement Committee Chair, gave a report on accomplishments and plans for the future.  Looks like they are making an impact!  Thanks Mikey.

11)  Final re-plat of Lakeway Highlands Phase 1, Sec. 8C was tabled until the Special Meeting scheduled for June 24.  There is concern about other issues on this property that have nothing to do with the replat.  

12)  Special Use Permit was granted to allow medical office use on 3503 Wild Cherry.

After council had an executive session the council adjourned.
Council met in Special Session, here is a link to that agenda.
Council reconsidered tabled Final Re-Plat from the regular meeting on the 17th.  Passed unanimously.

Item 4 started with a report from the City Manager that included the Capital Improvement Plan.  It was followed by reports from the Committee Chairs of Committees and Commissions with their visions and requests for funding in the budget.

Item 5 was to discuss the Hotel Tax Funds.  This money is set aside from tax collected from hotels in the City and has significant restrictions on how it is spent.  It seems to be burning a hole in a couple of folks pockets.  I agree we need a plan, but lets look into the future to find something to enhance our citizens life in Lakeway.  There is no burning reason to spend the money.  Comments were made that there have been few funding requests.  The City has reached out to all the area hotels, they tend to have National platforms and don't want to mess with the complexities of receiving HOT money.  

Three requests have been turned in in the last few months.  The Lakeway Resort and Spa requested money for an advertising campaign and received funds unanimously.  TexArts has requested monies for several years and has a method to show use of area hotels, at least they have some data - only Councilmember Vance voted against that distribution.  The Film Festival also requested and received funds - they have no history and it was passed unanimously.  I hope it works out.  
There is another Work Session Monday, July 1st at City Hall starting at 6:00 p.m.  Here is that agenda.

The Activity Center has a lot going on this Summer!  Here's a link to a list of things to check out!

BaylorScott&White has a new newsletter out - here's a link, check it out!

July 4th, Independence Day is upon us!  The Theme this year is "Fly Me To the Moon" and the Grand Marshall is Capt. Kenneth Cockrell, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

The Parade starts at 8:30 from Live Oak Golf Course at 510 Lakeway Dr. and ends at the Activity Center.  Lakeway Dr. wwill close around 8:00 a.m. for the parade.  At 10:30 the Pageant will be in the Activity Center and you will hear from Capt. Cockrell and the winners of the parade will also be announced.

The Swim Center is offering special pricing of $3 / person all day with in and out privileges.

Be careful out there - remember, Fireworks are illegal in Lakeway - this means you!

Enjoy the bit of rain, and enjoy the 4th celebrations.  If you would like to be added to my email list, send a note to and I'll get you added.

This is a good time of year to get photo's of your house or property, check out Sky Pictures, I'll get it done for you!

Joe Bain

Friday, June 14, 2019

Weather, BS&W Award, Movie's, Town Hall and More!

R. Hoffman

Interesting weather this week / month!  About 3.42 inches of rain so far in June, lots of wind on the 6th with lightning and tree limbs down around the city.  High temperature of 100° and a low of 62° during the month.  The low humidity has been nice for the last couple of days but get ready - hot and humid is back in the forecast!  Stay hydrated and don't get too hot!

Congratulations to Baylor Scott and White here in Lakeway - they were just awarded the American Heart Association Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Award - this is the highest recognition for a facility.  Another great service provided to our community!

Tonight's "Movie's in the Park" feature is "Ralph Breaks the Internet" rated PG.  Starts at 8:45 with FREE popcorn - that's a heck of a deal if you've gone to the movies lately!  Here's a link to the full schedule.

Another "Town Hall" this week for the MUD property development.  Here is a link to that meeting.  Unfortunately the audio is still low, turn up your volume and you can hear most of it.

They're going to talk about RM 620 South!  TXDot is conducting an open house Wednesday, June 26th from 5-7 p.m. at the Bee Cave City Hall, 4000 Galleria Parkway, Bee Cave, TX.  They will be talking about making 620 a 6 lane divided road, adding raised medians and a bicycle / pedestrian shared use path...

Yesterday I avoided 3 cars texting, speeding and weaving all over our roads.  It appears that many cars have inoperative turn signals too.  It doesn't matter how good the roads are and how safe, if we don't start using good sense and good driving habits, no matter how much money we throw at the issues, it will not get better.  

City Council will meet in regular session June 17th at 6:30 p.m.  Here is a link to the agenda.  Looks like they again have a full agenda.  More Executive Sessions on lawsuits and an interesting Session on real property discussions - municipal building and parkland.  

Wildlife abounds in Lakeway, take some time to enjoy whats around you.  Here's an example of our little friends - they are beautiful to watch and feed.  Lots of fawns learning about cars and traffic too.  I have coyotes, skunks, foxes and more that visit almost every night.  It's a joy to watch them!  Click on the images for larger views.