Saturday, February 23, 2019

Weather, Council, WAC and More!

The folks that spread fertilizer expecting a light rain last night are going to be disappointed - we missed it.  No measurable rain, just a little mist and fog late last night.  Looks like the best chance of rain is the middle of next week.  Pretty seasonable temperatures - maybe a little warmer than average.  As always, the current weather is available at  

There's a lot going on in the city - blink and you'll miss it, you might say - What Happened?  When we moved to Lakeway, the reason folks paid the higher prices was because of the rules and regulations and sound governance that made the little city a beautiful oasis on the outskirts of Austin.

The population was about 4,000, lots of retired folks and a good portion of retired military.  A significant percentage worked for the city in various volunteer and elected positions.  They understood that the strict regulations kept the city clean and in demand - this kept property values high and protected their investment.  Average age was in the 70's.

Now we have about 14,000 - the average age is in the 40's.  The way folks look at things has changed and it is starting to show.  One of the largest issues was with code enforcement and the way they were interfacing with citizens.  There were undoubtedly issues.

 These were rectified with employee changes and management changes.  Now Council has embarked on re-writing many of the ordinances to clarify meanings.  Good?  Bad?  Everyone can make their own decision.  Think of the upcoming election and choose wisely.  

Council and staff are re-branding "Code Enforcement" to "Code Compliance".  Does that make you feel better?  It's the new way.  There are cost associated with this but it sounds better?  

There were complaints about times for setting out trash cans.  They were allowed to be out the day of pickup.  They changed that to allow you to put cans out after 6 PM the day before pickup.  I think a lot of residents were doing that already, this makes it legal. 

Complaints about boat parking / storage.  One of the things that sets Lakeway apart is the lack of trailers and boats stored outside and in view.  There was much discussion on this topic.  How long can a boat be in the drive for loading and cleaning?  Can visitors with a motor home or trailer park in a driveway and how long?

I'm not sure what the answers are - used to be OK for a couple of hours or when actually connected to the towing car.  Now they are looking at an hour limit - will be very hard to enforce.  Why not be reasonable, if its hooked up to a car and folks are working on it loading, unloading or cleaning - that's OK.  Letting a boat sit for days is a problem, same with Motor Homes or Trailers.  We are an upscale residential community and it is part of the reason we are different.

Complaints about "speeding" on Lakeway Dr.  The City has done several speed studies with tubes they put on the road and found the average speed was less than 30 mph.  There are violators.  Now you might have noticed the "speed indicator" signs installed - two so far that indicate the speed you are going along with a speed limit sign.  About $2500.00 each + installation, work on solar power - with the lack of sunshine, they haven't been working.  They also painted "SLOW" signs on the road.  Traffic calming measures.  We'll see if it helps.  

The Police Station is nearly done.  Construction Trailer will be gone soon.  I think it is about time for the hand off and furniture.  Still on time and under budget.  This facility will last the city from now on. 

Council declared a vacancy on Council because Council Member Bertram failed to attend 3 of the last 6 regular meetings.  timing on this is interesting since the election is in May and she would be replaced anyway.  Too bad, Bridge was an asset to the Council and I appreciated her input on many issues over her terms.  I guess one of the new council members wanted her out.  Watch your back!

There was some discussion on the 86th Legislative Priorities and potential bills.  The one that will affect the city is lowering the "roll back rate" to 2.5% - that one could get sticky.  They had excluded cities with a budget under $15M, I've heard this has been dropped.  I wish the attack on the large cities that have exorbitant tax rates could be contained to them.  This is all under the guise of over taxing homeowners.  They should look at the school finance program.  The city tax rate is about $0.14 per $100 evaluation.  Lets put that into perspective.  For an average home in Lakeway ($500,000) the city tax would be about $700.  That has stayed pretty constant for the last 20 years.  The school tax on the same house is about $7,050.  Their rate is about $1.41 per $100 evaluation.  The city lowers their tax rate to accommodate the increase in value - the school stays at the max.  If the value of your house increases, your taxes go up.  It's not their fault, they are required to send millions of dollars to robin hood.  Fix school finance and leave the small cities alone.

There were two Executive Sessions, the only action I saw was to offer Mr. Kilgore a $1 settlement in lieu of appealing the judgement he won concerning payment of attorney fees to Mayor Cox.

The WAC (Wildlife Advisory Committee met Thursday evening.  A presentation was done on sterilization methods and limitations.  Information on tubal ligation, ovariectomy and castration was given along with the issues with each method.  The deer still have to be trapped and handled, darting is very problematic.  There is also the issue of deer proof barriers around the city.  No one in Texas is permitted to do sterilization.  Parks and Wildlife is not a fan.  

There was a vote to bring in Dr. DeNicola of White Buffalo Inc. to do a presentation to the committee.  They will pay his airfare and expenses.  Dr. DeNicola is familiar with Lakeway's issue and visited in around 2000.  I personally had discussions with him about our situation.  At that time he felt like the current process was working well and was only interested in working on areas that trapping was not a viable process.  We'll have to see what he says.

This is the last weekend to fill out the Parks Survey - if you haven't done it yet here is a link.

The LCC (Lakeway Civic Corporation) is working on an update for the Lakeway Phone Directory.  If your phone or address has changed or you just aren't in it, here is a link to do updates and more information. 

Don't forget the Brown Bag Luncheon Concert at 12 noon on February 28th at the Activity Center.  This month features The Second Line Jazz Band and should be a lot of fun.

If your interested in the Oscars this weekend, the Lakeway Resort and Spa is holding a Red Carpet Watch Party.  Tickets are $15 and include appetizers.  Here is a link to more info.

That's all for today - if your interested in your own domain for mail and hosting, the domain is about $18 a year and the hosting is less than $50 a year - get a permanent email address.  Email me if you have any questions - JB Hosting

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If you would like to be added (or removed) from the blog list, send a note to and I'll get it done.

Thanks again!
Joe Bain

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