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Bastrop Middle School Student Council members led the pledges this week. Kei Pormprasong who serves as secretary of the organization along with Case Benoit shared their passion for math and The University of Texas Longhorns.
We are always inspired to see young people from the community willing to dedicate their time.
Elgin hosted the Bastrop County MLK Walk this year and those of us who participated in the walk were treated to the lovely mural that was revealed on January 14, 2023. Next time you find yourself in Elgin, it is definitely worth checking it out.
February is Black History Month and Council Member Cheryl Lee accepted the City’s Proclamation. “Steal Away Home” is showing at the Bastrop Opera House during the month of February and Council Member Lee will be making her acting debut. The Bastrop Public Library will be hosting events throughout the month as well, please check out their events.
This week I received a handwritten letter from eight-year-old Layton Hanna requesting a road to connect her Great-Grandmother’s neighborhood (The Settlement) to Riverside Grove to the east and FM 969 to the west. Miss Hanna points out the safety concerns with only one way in and one way out forcing traffic to utilize the Highway 71 frontage road rather than accessing the nearby neighborhood. I am pleased to let Miss Hanna know the City’s Master Transportation Plan includes the Blakey Lane extension which will connect FM 969 to Old Austin Highway.
City Attorney Alan Bojorquez provided an informative and educational briefing on the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA). TOMA is often discussed by people who have uniformed opinions that are not based on the actual law. City Council and all Boards and Commissions conform with TOMA requirements regarding City meetings. Mr. Bojorquez also reminded everyone that as the City’s Attorney, he and his firm represent City Council, Boards and Commissions, and City staff when acting in their official capacity with the City.
City Manager Carrillo provided an update on her process to evaluate permitting and building processes and codes. She expects to bring recommendations to City Council within the next three months. George Arimes with Intelligent Consulting is already at work as part of this effort.
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Kristi Koch was directed by the city council to recuse herself for four months from Code amendment items brought to the Planning and Zoning Commission due to recent activities with the “ad hoc” developer group. Our City Manager has been working with a group of local developers to identify items for improvement. Ms. Carrillo is dedicated to fairness and transparency and requested steps be taken to assure the Planning and Zoning Commission provides the important role of neutrality when reviewing proposed changes.
Congratulations to the Cultural Arts Commission’s 2023 Mini-Grant Recipients. Several fun things are planned in the coming months.
City Council unanimously approved the installation of two murals to be located in Bob Bryant Park.
City Council unanimously approved authorizing the City Manager to allow BISD to defer platting the area around Mina Elementary as they resolve land ownership. This will allow construction to continue and is another demonstration of the City of Bastrop partnering with BISD.
Speaking of BISD, in recognition of Spring Break, City Council will hold only one meeting in March. The March 14th meeting was officially canceled making March 28th the only meeting for the month.
Enjoy this gorgeous weather!
Happy New Year Bastrop,
Cedar Creek Middle School Student Council representatives: Nelle Salinas, Sophia Morales and Trinity Ramirez led the pledges at our first city council meeting this year. We appreciate these young ladies attending and showing their dedication to their school and community.
Chaplain Ketrich Stegar provided the invocation. In addition to serving as a Chaplain for the Bastrop Police Department, he also serves as the Pastor for The Refuge.
The Lost Pines Lighted Christmas Parade award winners were recognized at council complete with certificates and pictures. We are thankful for all the hard work that goes into preparing an entry for the parade. The BollyX walking group award winner entertained council with a routine when they made their way forward for their award. If you are curious about BollyX consider trying out a class at the City’s Recreation center.
Council unanimously approved calling the May 6th City Election and contracting with Bastrop County to provide the election services. Candidate packets are available at City Hall now. Applications will be accepted, per State Law, from Wednesday, January 18 until 5 pm on Friday, February 17. Our City Charter allows a maximum of two consecutive terms so the Mayor’s seat will be open with no incumbent. Council Member Plunkett was elected to an unexpired term thus Place 3 will also be on the ballot for a three-year term.
The State of Texas 88th Legislative Session convened on January 10th and will continue through May 29th. Council unanimously approved priorities for the City of Bastrop to pursue including requesting support for the railroad quiet zone in conjunction with the planned hotel next to the Bastrop Convention Center.
The consent agenda included appointing David Barrow to the Planning and Zoning Commission and Merrique Deschamault and Debora Acosta to the Youth Advisory Council. The Construction Standards Board is in need of someone willing to serve from the Electrical and Mechanical Trade. If you know of a good candidate, please encourage them to complete a Board application or contact me directly.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations will start at 10 am in Elgin. Bastrop County rotates the host city for the walk each year and I hope you will join me in Elgin for the 37th anniversary of the Federal holiday.
See you around town,
Lost Pines Christmas will be featured on “Expedition Texas” with Bob Mauldin on the CW channel. Keep an eye out for this great feature on Bastrop. The annual open house at the library was a huge success and gingerbread house projects were taken to the next level. Bastrop Historical Society celebrated with their annual Rendezvous and then showcased their Historic Home Tour. Main Street featured bouncy houses and life-sized snow globes with wonderful holiday gifts selections from a variety of vendors. The lighted Christmas parade was the perfect way to end the day. At council this week, I announced the parade winners, and they will be invited to attend our first meeting in January.
Chaplain Robert Oliver delivered the invocation after I had the honor of leading the pledges.
Former Fire Chief Carl Spooner passed away on November 24, 2022 and the Bastrop Fire Department conducted “last call” services on December 2, 2022. Mr. Spooner was part of the Bastrop Fire Department for over 40 years serving as Chief from 1974 to 1985. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we are all thankful for his dedicated service.
Council approved authorization of Certificates of Obligation Series 2023. The $40M bonds will fund $13M in street projects and $27M to the new Wastewater Treatment Plant. Council was informed by the bond team that the City’s bond rating remained at AA which allowed the lowest competitive bid to be at just below 4%.
Council unanimously approved the Parks and Recreation Master Plan award to Stantec Consulting Services. Recreation manager, Terry Moore, will be leading this effort working with the Parks Board which will act as the steering committee. Participation is the key to a successful plan and there are several strategies to increase engagement of our citizens. If you have any interest in helping plan for the future, please reach out to Ms. Moore.
Council unanimously approved entering an agreement with Focused Advocacy. The primary purpose of the agreement is to pursue the qualified hotel program that will allow Bastrop to have access to the Hotel Occupancy tax collected by the State of Texas. As you know, council is working with Sunway Hospitality for a hotel to be built in connection with the existing convention center.
2023 is just around the corner. Our first council meeting in 2023 will be held on January 10.
Enjoy the holidays, stay warm, be safe, hug your family and friends
Emile Elementary SWAT (Students with Athletic Talent) representatives, Isaiah Villegas and Emmaly Ledezma, lead the pledges for council this week. They are both in fourth grade and they both enjoy math. As members of SWAT for two years, they lead exercises, read to kindergartners, and generally help at school. Thanks to both their families and Coach for bringing them to the council meeting.
Bastrop Police Bob Long led the invocation. Pastor Long is dedicated to our first responders, police force and community and we appreciate his service.
The Honorable Chris Duggan joined us to swear in a new attorney and counselor at law, Ben Whitehead, recently graduated from UT Law School and successfully passed the BAR Exam. Mr. Whitehead is part of the Bojorquez Law Firm and has already been assisting on Bastrop projects.
Susan Smith, Executive Director of Visit Bastrop, expressed her support of contracting with eCabs of North America extending free eCab service for another year. Surely you have seen the cute cabs around town and hopefully you have the app on your phone. Great news, you can now hail a cab just like the good old days and get a free ride. Council unanimously approved the contract which will provide service on Thursday through Sunday. Council also gave direction to the city manager to utilize the contract flexibility to increase service during events that we know in advance will increase demand.
Council unanimously approved a contract with Kimley Horn to perform the pre-diagnostic steps required for consideration of a “quiet zone” for Union Pacific. A “quiet zone” means the train will not sound its horn unless there is a safety issue on the tracks. This is the first step in the process, and although all the crossings in the city will be reviewed, the actual quiet zone may be limited to a half mile. One crossing that received in depth conversation was the crossing in the center of the Bastrop High School Campus. We all agree safety of the students is of primary importance.
In the summer, council approved a Letter of Intent with Sunway Hospitality, and this week council unanimously approved an extension of 150 days. This will allow schematics, quiet zone, and details regarding the convention center to be defined at a level for council to consider a contract.
Veterans weekend is a time for the city to enjoy the Heroes and Hot Rod Car Show and pay respect to every Veteran for their service. Please join me in thanking our Veterans.
Lost Pines Elementary PALS representatives Noah Tawater and Ashley Villegas lead the pledges for council this week. They are both in fourth grade and this is their second year to participate in the PALS program. They like the chance to help other students and help new students feel welcome. Thanks to both their families for bringing them to the council meeting.
Bastrop Police Chaplain Cliff Sparks led the invocation. Cliff and his wife, Lynda, are both very active as chaplains and in our community. We are grateful for their service.
Each year the City of Bastrop celebrates Arbor Day. Our parks department is always supportive of the event and often participate in the city council meeting where the proclamation is read. This year the proclamation was given with somber hearts as we remembered our dear friend Barbara Wolanski. Ms. Wolanski served as the Parks Board Chair and most recently spoke at the Board and Commission Appreciation Banquet held October 3, 2022. Ms. Wolanski taught school for 32 years and positively impacted countless lives. Her dedication to parks and recreation will be honored as part of the Arbor Day event on Friday, November 4 at Bob Bryant Park starting at 9 am. Please make plans to join us.
Gary Moss aka Mr. Pickleball spoke during citizens comments and shared that the Pickleball club that started in March of this year with 25 members currently has 249 members. They have expanded their lease and currently have 17 courts. If you have any interest in Pickleball, please contact Mr. Moss who promises everyone will have a good time and warns that many folks become addicted to playing the fastest growing sport in America.
Council approved a one-year extension for the Christmas Lights that so many people look forward to every year. Council has asked the city manager to review the possibility of revising the lighting scheme on Main Street. Feedback from business owners will be part of the research.
Council unanimously approved listing three pieces of property currently owned by the City for sale. Council also approved purchase of easement rights to support the construction of the new Water Treatment Plant.
As part of the on-going effort to strike that balance between future development cost and appropriate parties to participate in costs, a Transportation Impact Fee Study has been funded. This will allow a scientific and systematic foundation for cost accounting associated with development. Existing taxpayers should not assume the burden of new development and developers should not be penalized for existing issues.
Halloween means the holiday season has started and most of us look forward to the cooler weather. Please take time to enjoy your family and friends.
Blessed to live in Bastrop,
Mina Elementary PE Posse members Cannon Cole and Katherine Alexander led council chambers in the pledge of the United States and the Texas pledge. They are both fourth grade students that have participated in the “PE Posse” since they were in second grade. They both enjoy math, did a great job leading the pledges, and had proud family in the audience. We are grateful for the partnership with BISD that allows students to participate in local government.
Pastor Derek Brown with Calvary Baptist Church led the invocation. Pastor Brown leads the “Next Generation” which is anyone up to and including 18 years of age.
Thank you for helping us welcome our new city manager, Sylvia Carrillo. Ms. Carrillo accompanied the entire City Council, City Secretary Franklin, and Assistant City Manager Gleason to the Texas Municipal League Annual Conference held in San Antonio October 5-7. Each council member commented on the learning and team building opportunities the conference provided. We are all enthusiastic about this coming Fiscal Year.
Council unanimously approved the next set of construction contracts for our new Water Treatment Plant, the price was nearly $36M which is certainly a large amount, but it is within our plans and will provide clear drinking water for citizens for decades.
Council considered the appeal from a property owner to replat an existing lot by making two smaller lots. Planning and Zoning unanimously denied the request and the property owner appealed to city council. Council denied the appeal with a split vote. The request was not supported by our Fire Chief as it violated the Fire Code. Council expressed a desire to prioritize a secondary exit for the Piney Ridge subdivision that currently has one way in and one way out with 170 residential lots. This is the only subdivision inside the city limits with this issue.
The Family Crisis Center has asked everyone to wear purple on October 20th to bring awareness to domestic violence.
Special thanks to the Bastrop High School NJROTC for leading the pledges at council this week. Captain Fletcher does an outstanding job with these students. Jon Eden, James Ponticelli, Eowyn Rodriguez, and Madding Pickering also recited the Cadet Oath after the pledges. We wish them success in their future as they all intend to join the military.
Pastor Ketrich Steger provided the invocation. In addition to serving the Refuge, he is also one of our dedicated Chaplains in our police department.
The second week of October is Fire Prevention Week and Chief Rosales, and several firemen attended the council meeting. Chief Rosales reminded us that the Bastrop Fire Department has smoke alarms available for free and they will install them if help is needed. Speaking of help, they are also available to replace batteries in smoke alarms in any home in the city. They would much rather help with battery replacement than put out a fire in a home where someone was not able to climb a ladder.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and City Hall will once again be part of lighting up the city purple to bring awareness. The Family Crisis Center was present during the proclamation and was represented by Bernie Jackson and Cathy Henzen, their new Executive Director. Please join council in wearing purple every chance you get in October.
Council unanimously approved the Tax Rate and Budget for Fiscal Year 2022/2023. The new tax rate is $0.5128, down from last year’s rate of $0.5794. The average homestead value this year is $255, 713 up from last year’s average of $226,596. We all know the only number that really matters is the total amount paid and we have good news there as well. Bottom line, last year’s average home value and rate combined to annual city taxes of $1,312, this year with the higher average home value and lower tax rate, the annual city taxes remain $1,312. Special thanks to City Manager Job, CFO Waldron, and the entire staff for their hard work in putting together the budget.
September is the time for Board and Commission appointments. Council unanimously approved the 38 appointments presented to serve on the cities 14 Boards and Commissions. Special thanks to the dedicated citizens who volunteer their time to help make Bastrop the very best that it can be.
Fall is upon us even if it’s not quite in the air. Bastrop Music Festival takes place this weekend and before we know it will be time for the Veteran’s Car Show and the Lighted Christmas Parade. Please take time to enjoy your friends and neighbors.
Emile Safety Patrol Members Juanita Correa Castillo and Richard Kindred III led the pledges this week at city council. Both students are fourth graders and active at school and in the community. The students always bring a special moment to council meetings and Ms. Castillo and Mr. Kindred continued the trend.
Father Matt Stone provided the invocation and encouraged council members to be discerning in their duties and encouraged support from the community.
Presentations included the numerous events and meetings attended by those on the dais including Farm Street Opry, First Friday Art Walk, Sizzlin’ Summer Concerts, ribbon cuttings, book signings, and interviewing prospective board/commission members. City Manager Job presented a picture of the most recent addition to the staff family.
The consent agenda included approval for three phases of Section One of the Valverde community. Valverde is located just west of Hwy 969 and north of Hwy 71 and the developer is Continental Homes. We should all expect to see activity ramping up in the area soon.
Council held public hearings for both the Fiscal Year 2022/2023 Budget and the tax rate. Both items were approved unanimously by council and the second reading will be held at the next council meeting on September 20.
Pearl River, located just east of FM 969 and north of Hwy 71, received unanimous approval on their request for annexation and zoning. Their zoning concept scheme includes multi-family along Blakey, a walkable retail district, and a hotel. They have provided detailed renderings of their project which has stirred up quite a bit of excitement.
We will be celebrating Bastrop Night Out on September 27. In lieu of the “parade of first responders” that were utilized during the height of the pandemic, this year’s celebration will be at many of the city parks. Please reach out to the neighborhood captains to offer help and get the details. More information can be found at www.cityofbastrop.org/BastropNightOut
See you soon,
We had a special visitor at council this week. Devarjaye “DJ” Daniel was sworn in as an honorary City of Bastrop Police Officer. Chief Nagy conducted the swearing in ceremony and August 23, 2022, was declared DJ Daniel Day. September was proclaimed to be Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. 1 in 285 American children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20, very sobering statistic that should make each of us hug a child.
September was also proclaimed National Preparedness Month and we recognized our Fire Department as they serve as our first responders.
Council unanimously approved the requested budgets for our community assets. The Bastrop Opera, Lost Pines Art Center, Bastrop County Historical Society, and the Bastrop Visitor Center are the community assets funded by Hotel Occupancy Taxes. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the programming provided by these organizations.
Council increased the funding for fireworks in 2023 and finalized the community support funds for organizations like Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Center, Children’s Advocacy Center, Family Crisis Center, and Court Appointed Special Advocates just to name a few.
The Youth Advisory Council appointments were unanimously approved. Several of the students were in chambers and sworn into their new duties as board members of the council.
An exciting new development located at the northeast corner of FM 969 and Hwy 71 called Pearl River was on the agenda to be annexed and rezoned. This development is planned to be mixed use including multi family, retail, hotel, and restaurants. Pearl River’s request were unanimously approved by both city council and planning and zoning. There is always something exciting going on in Bastrop.
Enjoy the rain,
City Council started early this week with an executive session to review candidates for city manager. The process is well underway and final interviews should be completed by the end of the month
Regular session of the council meeting started at the normal 6:30 and we were pleased to have our Acting City Manager Trey Job lead us in the pledges. City Manager Job recently completed 10 years of service and dedication to the Bastrop community. Please join council in supporting City Manager Job during this time of additional duties and responsibilities.
For the first time ever, the three female Mayors for the cities in Bastrop were all together in one place. A photograph documented this historic event. Mayor Forrester, McShan, and I are pleased to serve our respective cities and enjoy working together.
A concerned citizen asked me to share the migration dates for our area. Full migration starts August 15th and takes place through the end of November. Citizens are asked to turn off unnecessary lights as light pollution adversely impacts the migration. Bastrop was one of the inaugural cities to be designated a Bird City. We all enjoy the birds, so please take steps to protect them.
Council members Plunkett and Kirkland had requested a resolution to convey expectations and directives to the city’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board which was created at the July 26th council meeting. Council received comment cards from over 20 people and after two hours of discussion, one failed motion, and several amended motions the resolution was approved as written by a vote of 3 to 2.
Council unanimously approved a notice of proposed tax rate of $0.5238 thereby allowing maximum discretion for setting the final tax rate in late September. Budget workshops are scheduled for August 16th and 17th. The decision will be made at the end of meeting on August 16th as to whether the second meeting (Aug 17th) is needed.
Council unanimously approved the first Guaranteed Maximum Price portion of the new Water Treatment Plant. Four wells will be completed along with the clear well as part of this portion of the project. This is an exciting first step in construction of the Water Treatment Plant.
Assistant City Manager Gleason presented the highlights from the third quarter report for FY2022. As mentioned in previous blogs, quarterly reports are chock full of great information about the city and how your city tax dollars are spent. Please take a moment to review HERE.
We are enduring a regional drought that is far worse than what we experienced in the last several decades. Please do your part to conserve water, conserve electricity, and protect against fire. Communities nearby are being forced to decide if they should use surface water for drinking or generating electricity. The City of Bastrop is not facing these difficult decisions, but our current water wells are under the influence of the Colorado River and LCRA generates the power Bastrop Power and Light provides to your homes.
Special thanks to Scout Troop 2010 for leading the pledges at council meeting this week. They did a great job and a couple scouts stayed for part of the meeting to help earn their civics badge. Their leaders are doing a great job and are another demonstration of the generous folks we have in our community. It warms my heart to see the dedication to our young people who are indeed our future.
Congratulations to Steven and Sheila Sarff, Simply Sweet recently celebrated 10 years in business. They are involved in the community and just one of the special things we get to enjoy as part of our Main Street District.
Council bid farewell to city manager Paul Hofmann. This week was Mr. Hofmann’s last council meeting, his last day as city manager will be August 5. Make plans to come enjoy the Farm Street Opry on Thursday, August 4th where Mr. Hofmann will be emceeing.
Mr. Hofmann presented the FY 2022/2023 budget for council consideration. Budget workshops are scheduled for August 16th and 17th. A special thank you to staff for preparing the budget and all the work that it entails.
Council member Lee presented her request for the creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board. The proposed board members were in attendance and several citizens spoke in support of the board. The Board was created with a vote of 3 to 2.
Council unanimously approved a Letter of Intent with Sunway Hospitality to pursue building a hotel that will be connected to the convention center. For several years, we have received feedback requesting a hotel to increase the usage of the convention center. The proposal includes a coffee shop and restaurant that will be open to the public and accessed off Chestnut Street. As part of this project, council is taking steps to pursue a “quiet zone” for the train while it is within the city limits.
After a lengthy discussion, council unanimously requested city staff prepare a Request for Proposal for Solid Waste Collection. Although monthly prices will likely increase, the opportunity for additional services like composting will also increase. We are just starting this process and it will be a lengthy one, so we will keep you informed as key steps are taken.
Council is actively engaged in hiring a new city manager. Council approved appointing Mr. Trey Job as the acting city manager after Mr. Hofmann leaves to bridge the gap to the start date of the new city manager. We appreciate the extra duties Mr. Job has agreed to include in his regular full-time job. Please congratulate Mr. Job and offer your support to him and the rest of the staff.
The library celebrated their end of summer reading program with a great party including an indoor obstacle course, bouncy house, and pizza. Remember you can check out all the fun things happening at the library anytime on their Facebook page and at www.bastroplibrary.org .
Council started early this week with Executive Session considering a development project, discussing Fire Station #2, and mediation on pending ethics charges. Council strives to move to mutually beneficial resolution of all issues.
Pledges were led by Evan Odom and Kate Bray who will both be fourth graders at Mina next year and enjoy being members of the Harry Potter Club. The invocation was provided by Pastor Dustin Bartee.
The Mayor’s Report, Council Member updates, and City Manager report all included rave reviews about Juneteenth weekend. The banquet Friday night was considered the best ever by all. The Blue Flames Cruisers Car & Motorcycle Show and Parade on the Saturday morning were enjoyed by hundreds of residents and visitors. The street dance Saturday night was a huge success as well. Special thanks to the Juneteenth committee and the city staff that helped with all the special events. Make plans now to join the fun next year.
Visit Bastrop Executive Director Susan Smith shared with council the recent announcement that Visit Bastrop had been awarded Destinations International Accreditation with Distinction. There are less than 225 organizations that have received the accreditation and less than 10% were awarded the coveted “with distinction” honor. Please join council in congratulating the entire Visit Bastrop team and Board for this remarkable accomplishment.
Councilmember Cheryl Lee submitted an agenda item for council to consider adding Juneteenth as a paid holiday for city employees. Councilmember Lee made a brief presentation on the importance of Juneteenth for the City of Bastrop, the State of Texas, and the Nation. Juneteenth was made a Federal Holiday in 2021 and adding it to the paid holiday schedule for city employees was unanimously approved by council.
Human Resource Director Tanya Cantrell requested council consider pay increases for Streets and Drainage, Parks, and Building Maintenance employees who are integral to the Public Works department. The City of Bastrop’s compensation was no longer competitive and the department has experienced vacancies and turn over at an alarming rate. This directly impacts the quality of life of our residents. Council unanimously approved an immediate pay increase while understanding this will impact the budget being prepared for FY 2023.
Annually, council reviews the Hunters Crossing Public Improvement District’s service plan and assessment levy. Thanks to the great work by the Hunters Crossing Board, council unanimously approved the first reading of the associated ordinance.
Colorado Bend, the film studio located west of Lover’s Lane and southeast of the Colorado River, had a number of items unanimously approved by council. The items included the first reading for annexing phase 1 (312 acres) of the project, amending the Future Land Use designation, approving the zoning concept scheme as submitted, and updating the Transportation Master Plan. The property will be zoned EC (Employment Center) with no requested warrants. This means they are compliant with all current land use regulations.
On June 14, Council had tabled the second reading for the re-zoning of Burleson East retail center. This week council once again tabled the second reading to allow the property owner to work with staff so a final ordinance could be prepared and reviewed by the city attorney and council would have an opportunity to review in advance of voting. The current proposal includes over 25 warrants (requests to not follow the standards), the vast majority have been resolved with staff but several warrants are not final.
Everyone enjoyed the rain this week and all wished for more, please remember that fireworks are NOT allowed inside the city limits and on behalf of your neighbors and the City of Bastrop Fire Department, please refrain from them.
Happy Fourth of July!
Council Members started the meeting this week with a two-hour Executive Session. The items are listed on the agenda and information will be shared with the public as soon as possible. Confidentiality is protecting the best interest of the community; I can share there are a lot of exciting things being discussed in Bastrop.
Special thanks to brothers Michael and Matthew Gralinski. Both young men have participated in the City’s Recreation Center “Discovery Days.”. They did an excellent job leading the pledges. Please check out the calendar of events for the Recreation Center, you will find something for all ages.
Chaplain Dale Burke offered the invocation and asked for special protection over the first responders actively responding to fire calls. Bastrop County is currently under a burn ban. We all know that no burning is allowed within the city limits, but please make sure your friends and family living in the county know about the Burn Ban.
Council finalized the Nine Focus Areas that drive priorities for the annual budget and activities for staff.
Special thanks to Mayor Pro Tem Rogers and Council Member Kirkland who agreed to serve as a subcommittee to review the community support applications. For many years, the City’s Annual Budget includes support for local non-profits providing services for city residents. This subcommittee was tasked with reviewing the applications (due June 23) and providing council a baseline recommendation of funds per organization.
Burleson East received unanimous approval on the second reading of the ordinance that annexes the tract into the City limits. Council unanimously voted to table the second reading of the zoning ordinance to allow the city attorney and staff to work with the developer and his attorney to spend time on final details prior to voting. As many of you know, zoning stays with the property regardless of ownership so this is an important decision that will impact the community for decades. The second reading of the zoning ordinance will be considered at the June 28th council meeting. Although there has been extensive discussion in the community about possible retailers that will locate at Burleson East, the developer reported that no final leases have been signed.
Food Truck permitting fees were discussed extensively. Council voted unanimously to waive invoicing for food truck permits to October at which time invoices will be sent based on newly adopted fees. Thank you, Tim Shuman, for bringing the issue to council’s attention and for providing input to council deliberations.
Congratulations to Patrice Parsons for being unanimously appointed to Planning and Zoning. If you are interested in serving on a city board or commission, please complete an application and share your talents and time with your fellow citizens.
The Bastrop Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is in full swing, and they have a summer calendar jam packed with fun. The reading program and events are free to the public, come join the fun.
Emile Safety Patrol members Luna Vargas (3rd grade) and Braxton Roper (4th grade) did an outstanding job of leading the pledges at this week’s council meeting.
Chaplain Phil Woods offered the invocation and lifted up the community of Uvalde and the families dealing with the tragedy of May 24th.
The entire council went to Fredericksburg last Thursday for the TML Small Communities Conference. Each council member mentioned the event as a time of both learning and building relationships for a successful team.
Council voted (3 to 2) to allow Bastrop Independent School District to complete bond projects without meeting the Gills Branch Drainage Criteria for Bastrop High School, Mina, and Emile Elementary. BISD is granting floodplain easement for future channel improvements. The drainage project is currently estimated at $15 million.
Council voted unanimously to revise the current Memorandum of Understanding for Pecan Park Development requiring the developer to complete the construction of Orchard Parkway within 12 months of the city completing the construction of Agnes within Pecan Park commercial. Construction will be done at no cost to the developer via utilization of a grant.
Burleson Crossing East (located just east of existing Edward Burleson Blvd., just north of State Highway 71) received unanimous approval to zone the entire tract P5 and approve all 24 warrants as submitted by the applicant. While the applicant was not at liberty to name the retailers he is negotiating with, rumors are certainly flying on who those retailers may be. Stand by for announcements.
Please consider joining the Summer Reading Program at the Bastrop Public Library, it starts on May 31.
Celebration was the theme for the first Council Meeting in May.
Bastrop High School’s NJROTC led the pledges and recited the Cadet Oath. Cadet Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Eden served as the commanding officer and was joined by Senior Chief Eowyn Rodriguez and Petty Officer 3rd Class Maddy Pickering. We also thanked their leadership Chief Canales and Captain Fletcher.
Pastor Bernie Jackson, Trinity Zion Church, provided the invocation.
Council Member Cheryl Lee and John Kirkland had their swearing-in ceremony followed by a reception. Friends, families and citizens joined the festivities. Council Member Kirkland provided a cake to add even more fun.
As required by the Charter, the first order of business was to elect the Mayor Pro Tem. Council unanimously voted to appoint Mayor Pro Tem Drusilla Rogers. She will serve in this capacity for one year.
As Mayor, I am excited to work with this new team and look forward to serving with them.
Both Assistant City Managers provided an overview of the Second Quarterly report, which can be found at this link: https://www.cityofbastrop.org/page/city.quarterlyreport As usual this report is full of project updates and statistics. I am confident everyone will find something of interest in the report. Special thanks to our Community Assets for attending the meeting and providing vital updates on how each of them are engaging with the community – residents and visitors alike.
Proclamations recognized May 15-21 as both Public Works Week and National Police Week. May was declared Building Safety Month and May 14th was recognized as World Migratory Bird Day. Council unanimously approved
the appointment of Judah Ross to Planning and Zoning Commission, Sonya
Cote to Main Street Board and Amy Bailey to the Cultural Arts
Commission. The dedication of employees combined with the commitment of
volunteers is the foundation of this special place we all call home.
Please join me in celebrating our staff and volunteers,
Council recognized the service and dedication of Mayor Pro Tem Peterson and Council Member Jackson at our last meeting in April. Mayor Pro Tem Peterson had several family members present for his final council meeting. Council Member Jackson was unfortunately under the weather and unable to attend. Both gentlemen were recognized for their contributions to council, and both received a standing ovation. A short reception including cookies and punch was enjoyed by all.
Cedar Creek High School Ballet Folklórico award winners Citlali Mata Hernandez and Daniel Lopez Perez led the pledges. They invited everyone to see the dance teams perform at the Performing Arts Center on April 30th at 7 pm. Cedar Creek High School is proud of their wonderful accomplishments as they have swept competitions winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
Council was honored to welcome Command Sergeant Major Michelle Thompson and the upcoming Best Warrior Competition to be held in Bastrop the first week in May. You will certainly see some of the competitors in town, please join council in thanking them for their service.
Special thanks to Pastor Bernie Jackson for leading the invocation and including the family of National Guard Specialist Bishop Evans.
Proclamations recognizing Public Service Recognition week (May 1-7), accepted by City Manager Hofmann on behalf of all city staff and Firefighter Day (May 4), accepted by Chief Rosales and a group of firefighters, were read into the record. Bastrop is blessed to have full time fire and could not be successful without the dedicated volunteers.
Chief Executive Officer of Visit Bastrop, Susan Smith, presented the mid-year report for the organization. Outstanding progress has been made and Ms. Smith reported that hotels are forecasting pre-COVID occupancy rates.
Council unanimously approved the second and final reading of an ordinance adopting an amendment that allows banners to be displayed year-round.
Prior to the regular council meeting, a work session was held to discuss the Comprehensive Plan, Capital Improvement Projects, and the Fiscal Forecast Assumptions associated with preparing the upcoming Fiscal 2023 budget. Staff provided an enormous amount of information to allow council to ask questions and review as part of the budget preparation process. The work session was recorded and is worth watching for those who are interested in the City’s annual budget.
Enjoy this wonderful spring weather,
Council had a bittersweet meeting for our first meeting in April. Our city manager, Paul Hofmann, announced he had submitted his resignation to be effective August 5, 2022. Mr. Hofmann has accepted the position of Associate Professor of the Practice for the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. It turns out, when a person is offered the job opportunity of a lifetime, the answer is yes. We are thankful for Mr. Hofmann’s service and appreciate him graciously giving us four months to find his replacement. Council will be meeting on April 19 to discuss next steps in the process.
Kyler Redmon, a fourth grader at Lost Pines Elementary and Micah Widstrup, a fifth grader at Founders Classical Academy led the pledges for us. Pastor Phil Woods gave the invocation and set the tone for a productive meeting.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Megan Webb, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center, was at council to receive the proclamation. April is also National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Family Crisis Center accepted their proclamation. We recognized the second week of April as National Public Safety Telecommunicators week. The folks who answer 9-1-1 calls are truly the first of the first responders, have incredibly difficult jobs, and do amazing work 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Curtis Erwin and the Bastrop Power & Light crew attended the council meeting to accept the proclamation in recognition of National Lineman Appreciation Day on April 18. These hardworking, dedicated employees are the reason that we have so few power outages. When we do have a power outage, it is seldom for very long. The performance of the Bastrop Power & Light infrastructure is a result of their labor. Please join me and the council in thanking all these groups and employees for their dedication to our community.
Council approved the contract with PHI Air Medical. This third annual contract provides residents of the City of Bastrop with full coverage for medically required air transport. I always clarify that we are not providing free helicopter rides for residents, rather should a resident have a medical need requiring air transport they will not have the added stress of paying for the flight.
Old Austin Highway is in need of a full depth pavement repair. During the past year, significant patching and crack sealing has been completed to help prolong the life of the road but that is not a permanent fix. Council voted unanimously to approve a professional engineering services contract to get everything in place to bid the reconstruction of the road. Council gave direction the work should be done while BISD is not in session. This means the work will be in 2023.
April Showers are here, and I am looking forward to the May flowers. I have enjoyed the first few Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes showing themselves around town. Unfortunately, this spring has brought severe storms, including hail and tornado watches. Please be sure to heed warnings and take appropriate action.
Stay safe Bastrop,
Do you have a Harry Potter fan at your house? The pledges were led this week by Mina Elementary’s Harry Potter Club represented by Mason Goertz and Parker Connell. Special thanks to Ms. Miller for forming the group and supporting the kids. Decked out in their club t-shirts the kids did a great job and we all enjoyed the proud smiles on the faces of parents and friends who attended the meeting.
Bastrop County Ministerial Alliance hosted the Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon on March 15 and their president, Dale Burke, led the invocation this week. Dale’s commitment to the community is seen in many ways; police chaplain, workforce, literacy, and BCMA. He is a talented guitarist, singer and a true blessing to Bastrop.
National Library Week is April 3 -9. Our librarian Bonnie Pierson, library staff, and library board attended council to receive the proclamation which pointed out the important role libraries serve in our community. If you have not been to our library lately, you ought to put it on your schedule.
The Cultural Arts Commission is in full swing. Their two-year work plan was presented to council by Assistant City Manager Rebecca Gleason. Several CAC Board members were present at the meeting and council thanked them for their hard work and dedication. Art touches every heart and comes in all types of mediums; it is wonderful that Bastrop is taking tangible steps to embrace the diversity of talented artists for public benefit.
The annual mowing contract was reviewed and unanimously approved by council. Public Works Director Curtis Hancock presented this year’s contract complete with maps of all the parks, buildings, and rights-of-way included in the contract.
Regrettably, council took action and voted to file an ethics complaint against one of our own. This difficult decision was carefully considered, and the vote reflects this council’s commitment to uphold the ethics ordinance and all applicable statutes. Council also voted unanimously to send a letter to a local lawyer who publicly acted in an unprofessional manner during a council meeting on March 8. Council meetings are City business meetings which is why our Rules of Procedure speak to decorum. Important matters are discussed, and decisions are made that impact each and every resident of our community. Professional meeting decorum allows all voices to be heard and all points of view to be respected. Bastrop has the reputation for conducting Council meetings with the level of dignity and respect our community deserves.
Special thanks to Misty Jefferson, Director, Emile Child Development Center. Her students Xander Jones, Grace Mouser, Ali Lake and Tyler Allen led the pledges and stole the hearts of everyone in council chambers. Thank you to their parents for bringing these four-year-old future leaders to be a part of the City Council meeting.
Worship Pastor, Stephen Bunger, for River Valley Christian Fellowship led the invocation. City Council is grateful to Pastor Bunger and all those who give so freely of their time to help set the decorum and tone of our meetings.
The first week of every month is always busy and March has been no exception. Our City Manager, Paul Hofmann, was the guest speaker at the chamber luncheon and did an outstanding presentation on the critical role that land regulations play in the economic vitality and quality of life for City residents. I was honored to once again host the Farm Street Opry – performances by the house band, Doug Boggs, and Neil Kulhanek were enjoyed by all. Several families took advantage of the great weather and enjoyed the viewing of “Little Rascals” as part of the city’s Movies in the Parks program.
Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife held a Town Hall on the Rolling Pines Fire (January 18) to share the results of the independent study completed by the Facilitated Learning Analysis Team. lead by Chief Darryl Jones from South Carolina Forestry Commission comprised of Subject Matter Experts from Georgia, Florida, and Oklahoma. City of Bastrop Fire Chief Andres Rosales and Bastrop’s Fire Department were once again thanked for their role in suppressing the fire. The FLA Team recommended, and TDPW has agreed, to include the City of Bastrop’s Fire Department as part of the review team prior to any prescribed burn in the future. TDPW stated no further prescribed fires would be conducted in 2022.
Tracy Waldron, Chief Financial Officer, and her team received the highest possible rating as a result of the independent auditor’s report conducted by Belt Harris Pechacek. Congratulations to the entire finance team.
City Council voted unanimously to cancel the city election to consider minor Charter changes. Those changes will be part of the 2023 May Election. Cancelling the election saved the city taxpayers just over ten thousand dollars.
Assistant City Manager Rebecca Gleason presented the current regulations regarding temporary banners and council discussed revisions to the existing code with input from concerned citizens. Council has asked staff to bring back code revisions in line with the discussion and will present them after the Planning & Zoning Commission has vetted them, for consideration.
I hope to see you at the Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon hosted by the Ministerial Alliance on March 15th
Bluebonnet Elementary School students Marlie Malone and Allison (Ali) Ritchie led the pledges for council this week. Both of these fine young ladies enjoy math and science. Council enjoyed having them and their families as part of our meeting. Special thanks to Chaplain Bob Long for providing the invocation and for the years of tireless service he has provided as a Police Chaplain.
The City Manager reported great progress on the Disc Golf Course being installed at Bob Bryant Park. We will be celebrating as soon as the course is complete and look forward to seeing you there. Stay tuned for details.
If your schedule allows, please attend the monthly Chamber Luncheon to hear City Manager Paul Hofmann give a talk on planning and permitting in the City of Bastrop. As we all know, rumors and inuendo can sometimes be rampant but that doesn’t make it right. It is always best to go straight to the source and get the facts. Constructive feedback is always welcome, we are all striving towards the same goal – living in a safe community.
Council unanimously approved pay increases for two groups of employees. Water and Wastewater Distribution and Plant Operations staff was the first group. This department has not been fully staffed for a year due to the current pay range. Increasing starting salaries to a competitive range is the solution. The other group receiving a pay increase was our patrol division of the Police Department.
City Council annexed 35.5 acres of the Colorado River. I know that may sound funny to some of you but much like a highway, the river provides a contiguous extension of existing city limits for annexation purposes. Let me be clear, the State has removed annexation authority from all municipalities, so the only annexation that can occur is on a voluntary basis but the other requirements, like being contiguous, still apply. The LCRA and Army Corp of Engineers keep all their same powers over the river so for a person who is kayaking or canoeing nothing changes. The annexation of the river does allow our Police Department to enforce our noise ordinance and respond to any concerns of misconduct.
Bastrop Colorado Bend is the proposed film studio located just west of Lover’s Lane. Council held four public hearings for: Annexation, Transportation Master Plan, Future Land Use Designation, and Zoning Concept Scheme. No vote was taken. The purpose of the public hearing was to allow input from citizens prior to decisions being made.
Congratulations to both Ms. Cheryl Lee and Mr. John Kirland, they are now Council Members Elect as neither had an opponent for the City’s May election. Council Member Peterson and Jackson will both continue to serve through May of 2022 when Ms. Lee and Mr. Kirkland will be sworn in as new council members. On March 8, the City Council Agenda will include an item to cancel the May candidate election and will likely cancel the entire election pushing the Charter Change Considerations to May of 2023. This will save the city the cost of the May 2022 election.
Council held two meetings this past week. Our Charter-directed regular Tuesday meeting and a second meeting held on Wednesday to canvass the votes and swear in our newest council member Kevin Plunkett, who won the Special Election held on January 29th. Special thanks to the Honorable Chris Duggan for conducting the swearing in ceremony. Council Member Plunkett was joined by his family and friends for the celebration.
As part of our Tuesday meeting, we recognized Mayor Pro Tem Lyle Nelson for his years of dedication to City Council. Elected as a result of the first ever run-off campaign in June of 2017, Nelson has represented the City of Bastrop as a member of the Executive Committee for the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) and as part of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO). He has served as Mayor Pro Tem since elected by council in May of 2018, and he will be missed.
The First Quarterly Report of Fiscal Year 2022 was presented by Assistant City Manager Gleason. This is our second year to have quarterly reports and many of you have commented on the advantage of having both statistical and scheduling information in one place. The reports now include updates from our key community partners Visit Bastrop, the Bastrop County Historical Society Museum and Visitor Center, the Lost Pines Art Center, and the Bastrop Opera House. Take a few minutes to look through the report “here”. I’m confident you will find something of interest.
Council unanimously approved Policy regarding the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation and the Support Services Agreement for Fiscal Year 2022. These two documents will ensure that this important board is aligned with City Council. As with all our Boards, the community is best served when we are all working in unison.
Garver, LLC was awarded a contract with the primary and immediate objective of submitting for a RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) grant to rehabilitate the Old Iron Bridge. Included in the Garver project is the Loop 150 (Chestnut) Corridor study from Highway 71 to Highway 95. Each of us is aware of the unprecedented growth daily when we ask each other, “Where did all these cars come from?” This contract with Garver is just one effort by City Council to address transportation concerns.
In closing, I would like to remind everyone that February is Black History Month. The theme this year is “Black Health and Wellness.” Please join council in celebrating this important month.
Happy Valentine's Day!
The inaugural “Mayor’s State of the City Address” premiered prior to the regular meeting. Special thanks to our media department for putting together a first-class video summarizing the year of 2021. If you have ever wondered just what all happens as part of municipal government, I am confident watching the video will be worthwhile. Watch the video here.
We celebrated birthdays for two council members. Council Member Dock Jackson and Council Member Bill Peterson. Cards, cupcakes, and a round of applause for these men who give so much to our community.
Special thanks to Charlee Torres from the Bastrop Intermediate School Debate/Government Club. She represented her club and school in a great way as she led the pledges.
The Youth Advisory Council was sworn into office. This enterprising group of high schoolers is already contributing to efforts like improving community engagement and they will be an integral part of our Parks & Recreation Master Plan efforts.
Speaking of the Parks & Recreation Master Plan, council authorized the city manager to accept a grant from the St. David’s Foundation for $250,000. This grant will go towards funding the master plan that has not been updated since 2015. Recreation has long been a priority item in the community and with the exciting news of the potential Emile Recreation Center, now is a great time to formalize our “game” plan.
We just finished our special election, and it is already time to work on our standard election. Council approved calling the election and a joint agreement with other taxing entities and contracting with Bastrop County for election services. Working cooperatively, election costs are lowered and voter participation should increase.
Fire Chief Andres Rosales was recognized for his outstanding leadership during the Rolling Pines Fire last week. The Bastrop Fire Department saved a house because of their quick response time. Chief Rosales was quick to point out the safety measures the homeowners had taken prior to the fire to ease the defense. Although the City of Bastrop was not in imminent danger during the fire, each of us are not only city residents but county residents as well and we are looking to Texas Parks and Wildlife to provide answers on how this will never happen again.
If you see one of our firefighters, we have both paid and volunteers, please thank them for keeping us safe. We are grateful to all the firefighters and their families that worked to protect our community last week.
We had a quorum for city council this week, but we were missing our statesman, Council Member Bill Peterson. The Petersons lost their son, James Edward, on January 5th. We had a moment of silence to send our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the entire family.
Bastrop Christian Church Pastor Dustin Bartee delivered the invocation and included the Peterson and Holberg families. Jeff Holberg, former City Manager of Bastrop, passed away in late December. These losses remind each of us to make the most of each day, treat everyone with respect, and cherish family.
The Red Rock Interplanetary Space Exploration (RISE) club led the pledges for us. Special thanks to the club’s creator Katie Fehlker (Assistant Principal) and Kelly Hubley (Principal). These fourth graders did a great job.
Presentations included the recognition of MLK Day. It is Bastrop’s turn to serve as host for this county-wide event. Please join us at Paul Quinn AME at 10 am on Monday, January 17th for the historic walk through Bastrop. Streaming of the virtual program will begin at 11:30 am. Information about how to watch the Virtual Program can be found here.
The City of Bastrop is the Title Sponsor for the Bastrop Chamber Annual Gala this year. The Chamber is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary and will have festivities throughout the year.
We all enjoyed the Lighted Christmas Parade and winners for the parade were recognized during the council meeting. Categories included everything from Best Reason for the Season to Most Creative.
Overall Best LPC Entry:
Commercial - Air Brush Tan
Non- Commercial - Bastrop Honor Choir
Most Beautiful Lighted Float
40 Bastrop & Buescher State Park
Best Pedestrian Group
Cedar Creek Dance Team
Most Original Entry
Bastrop Opera House
Best Marching Band
Cedar Creek High School
Most Festive Automobile
BC Sheriff Dept
Most Festive Group Riders
Friends and Family of Texas Stars
Best Group Entry
Central Texas Jeeps & Lower Colorado Jeeps
Best Emergency Vehicle
Heart of the Pines VFD
Best Cyclist Decoration
American Legion Post 533
Best Reason for the Season
Primera Baptist Church
Council unanimously approved the Letter of Intent between Emile Multicultural Center/Recreation Complex, Bastrop Independent School District, and City of Bastrop to establish a partnership toward the acquisition, construction, and operation of a community recreation center. Charles Washington, Jr., representing the Emile Multicultural organization presented the idea of having a recreation center on the site of the Emile School that served the black community from 1892 to 1969. The proposed center would include a large multipurpose gymnasium, classrooms, and a museum. The museum would preserve the rich history of the Emile school and its graduates and staff. A large number of local pickleball players and enthusiasts came out and Gary Moss spoke, representing their group’s enthusiastic support of the project. This was a significant first step in the project, however, it is important to note the letter of intent is not complete until Bastrop ISD approves. City council has agreed to operate and maintain the building along with construction of roads that would support the building and mitigate the school traffic issue that currently exists.
Faun Cullens, Chief Appraiser, presented the much-needed improvements for the Bastrop County Appraisal District building. Per State Law she needs approval from eight of the ten main taxing entities before the project can be started. City Council unanimously approved the request.
Council approved a contract with Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station for Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Many of us use our smart phones to navigate unfamiliar territory and we have grown to expect warnings on construction delays, suggested routes to avoid accidents, and fastest routes. This information is available because of GIS systems. The city uses GIS to identify utility lines and even property corners. Currently, critical information is stored across multiple formats and systems. This project will bring all the data to a single database and made accessible to residents, public works, and contractors.
Wastewater Treatment Plant #3 construction is well underway and part of the project is taking Wastewater Treatment Plants #1 and #2 offline. For this to occur, a transfer lift station will be installed. Fabiola De Carvalho, Director of Engineering, presented a revised route for the force main from the transfer lift station to the new plant that will save the overall project $2 million. For the new route to be completed, additional engineering calculations and designs are required. Council unanimously approved a task order for $200K to save $2M.
Early voting for the special election started on January 12th. If you have not already voted please make your plans to vote early or on election day, January 29th.
Every vote counts!
Happy Holidays Bastrop
Bastrop Middle School Student Council members Ella Griesenbeck and Isabella Molina-Conrardy led the pledges at council this week. Special thanks to BISD for providing students to lead the pledges. Council is always pleased to see their smiling faces.
You may recall the Mina PE Posse led the pledges in November. Coach Sunday spearheaded Mina Elementary’s first annual “Run This Town” 5k/1k on December 4th and it was a great success. I had the honor of providing Christmas music and traffic guidance at the corner of Pecan and Elm. Our recreation manager Terry Moore and I worked the corner and were so inspired by the runners we both went to the BollyX class at the City’s Recreation Center.
The agenda for this week’s council meeting was seven pages, fairly long compared to most other agendas. The consent agenda alone had ten items. December is that time of year where we get things set up for the following calendar year – staff reports with dates for the Strategic Planning Calendar for Fiscal Year 2022-2023; Universal Submittal Dates for site plans and zoning change requests are required to stay compliant with state law. We voted on the Board Members for Bastrop Central Appraisal District and approved a budget amendment for fiscal year 2022. Council is grateful for the department directors that make sure we are prepared for the new calendar year.
Texas Film Commission had two representatives at the meeting to provide information to council regarding the creation of a Media Production Zone. Created by the state to encourage the film industry to come to Texas, the Media Production Zones allow exemption of certain sales tax for a defined period of time (usually two years.) Only five Media Production Zones are allowed in the State at any one time. Council voted unanimously to create a Media Production Zone and nominate the same for consideration at the state level. The Media Production Zone is the 546-acre track located at 1240 Lovers Lane.
Council received and approved the request of a landowner to be brought into our extra territorial jurisdiction and has indicated an intention to request annexation into the city limits. The property is 289 acres located along State Highway 304.
Council took action to authorize the engineering design of Agnes Street which will complete the missing link and allow Agnes to serve as an alternate to Highway 71. You may recall the city was awarded a grant for the Agnes Extension project.
Farm Street Village development had the most interest on the agenda. Many citizens spoke and many more sent in comment cards not wishing to speak but wanting to share their feedback on the project. Staff presented the project with respect to the approved codes and the developer presented changes that had been made from last month based on community feedback. The two main concerns were traffic and drainage. The agenda item, rezoning from P3 to P4, was denied by council. The property will remain P3 which allows single family or duplexes but not apartments. Council appreciated the respectful behavior from both folks in support of and against the project. Bastrop continues to set the example for the rest of the country on how to have disagree without being disrespectful.
Council approved contracts forwarded by Bastrop Economic Development Corporation which will add two new businesses to the Industrial Park. Coltzin, LLC will be producing tortilla chips and TA Bastrop, LLC will be manufacturing adhesives associated with the automotive industry.
Partnering with BEDC, council authorized a Memorandum of Understanding with Austin Community College to provide classroom location for welding and HVAC courses. Classes should start early 2022. Technical courses for trade certification combined with the classes available from the Art Institute will help keep Bastrop competitive in the workforce for the future.
Council has called a Special Election for January 29th to elect a new council member to Place 3 to fulfill the unexpired term created by a resignation. If you are interested in running for council, please pick up and complete the candidate packet by December 20th. Our City Secretary will be busy with candidate packets for both this special election and the regular election next May when Places 1 and 5 will be on the ballot.
Chief Nagy tells me we had 12,000 people at the Lighted Christmas Parade this year. I enjoyed my first time of calling the parade from the best seat in the house – the balcony of the new 921 Main building. Special thanks to Harvey Giblin, President of the Art Institute for allowing use of their balcony. Their partnership and dedication to the Bastrop community is greatly appreciated.
Happy New Year
The Mina PE Posse showed up in full force to lead the pledges for City Council. This energetic group of kids made their parents and loved ones proud with their recitations. Special thanks to Coach Sunday Thompson for organizing the posse.
Assistant City Manager Gleason presented the Fourth Quarter Report for FY 2021. Included in the report was not only fourth quarter statistics but also year over year comparisons. For example, in FY 20 the total Building Inspections completed was 2,215, in FY 2021 that grew to 12,878 (more than 500% growth.) FY 21 had 418 new homes constructed and 66 homes remodeled. Maintenance requests completed, covering everything from potholes to light pole repair, totaled 2,291. The City’s library had over 51 thousand visitors. Here’s a link to this fact filled report.
Bastrop Economic Development Corporation is taking steps to provide “shovel ready” property within the Industrial Park. Council unanimously approved the first reading of a resolution that would allow up to $1M to be spent on design and construction of needed infrastructure.
Last week I had the honor of participating in Emile Elementary’s “Career Day” and enjoyed over 250 students in less than three hours. It was a busy morning. Bluebonnet Elementary asked me to provide a video of me reading a book, with the help of our stellar multi-media department, I was able to be inside my favorite Dr. Seuss book – “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”
Thanksgiving is around the corner. Council will not be meeting again in November. The next council meeting is December 14. The Christmas Tree lighting in Fisherman’s Park will be Saturday, November 27 at 6 pm, please make plans to attend this fun event and enjoy the River of Lights.
Bastrop Area Cruisers Hot Rods and Heroes Car Show is a highlight for our community. With 400 cars to choose from, it may be hard to find your favorite so be sure and give yourself plenty of time to stroll around Main Street. The formal Veterans Day ceremony will begin at 11 am at the County Courthouse at the conclusion of the Veterans March. It is sure to be a day of fun and an opportunity to thank a Veteran for their service.
Deeply grateful to all our veterans,
Council chambers were at capacity this week. Special thanks to Valentina and Alejandro Irby for leading the pledges. This brother and sister team bravely led both pledges and took a gracious bow when they received a round of applause. Not every 2nd grader and kindergartner would handle such a situation with such grace. Both children attend Emile Elementary. Their parents were quite rightly very proud of their service.
Farm Street Village requested a revision from P3 to P4 zoning. The majority of folks in attendance were interested in that project, so item 12D, the first reading of the ordinance to revise zoning, was called immediately after the invocation. Staff presented, council discussed, and a public hearing was held with over 20 participants. Details of the project can be found here. The second reading of the ordinance is currently scheduled for November 9.
Bastrop is experiencing a record setting season of growth. In an effort to continue our preparation for growth, city staff and our city attorney presented information on the creation of Municipal Utility Districts and requested policy direction from city council to formalize a process.
Pickleball was a topic during citizen comments. You may be surprised to learn the pickleball group has 96 members and plays 5 days a week. If you are interested, you can find games going on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings starting at 7 and again in the evening starting at 6 in Fisherman's Park.
Council approved contracts for funds that were appropriated as part of the fiscal year 2021/2022 budget including a master drainage plan and broadband feasibility study. Council remains focused on providing critical infrastructure improvements.
November 5 is City of Bastrop Arbor Day and it was great to see city staff and park board members at council to receive the proclamation.
You may have noticed the eCabs around town later in the evening. Hours have been revised and eCab hours are now 3-9 pm Monday through Thursday and 2-10 pm Friday through Sunday. The CARTS Now hours remain 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday. People are always amazed to find such great public transportation in a town of less than 10,000 residents. Another way that Bastrop is leading the way.
The holiday season is upon us. Halloween brings Thanksgiving and before you know it’s Christmas. You can enjoy the city sponsored “Boo Bash” on Saturday, October 30 from 5 to 7 pm at Mayfest Park. There’s no doubt you can find a fun way to enjoy this fall weather.
Girl Scout Troop #42805 led the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States and Texas and then shared the Girl Scout Oath. Having completed their official duties, they rushed back to their scouting meeting to complete their troop t-shirt decorating project. Special thanks to both the scouts and their leaders for bringing them to council.
The entire council attended the annual Texas Municipal League Conference in Houston. During council updates, everyone shared their experience and commented on the event as an excellent opportunity for education of elected officials.
The Bastrop Music Festival was a smashing success. Everyone enjoyed the variety of venues and music genres. Congratulations to Visit Bastrop for hosting this annual event. Visitors from near and far enjoyed both the festival and our community.
Austin Title and First Centennial Mortgage hosted the inaugural Chili Cook Off and donated the proceeds to Feed the Need. The competition was fierce and I enjoyed being part of the five-person judging team.
Chamber of Commerce week is October 18 – 23. The president and several board members attended council to receive the proclamation.
Congratulations to CC Wine and Company- they have moved just down the street, now located at 904 Main. CMIT solutions opened their Bastrop office. Welcome to the community.
City council heard a presentation from Joe Esch detailing the process that will be used to establish an economic development policy directive. State law provides the allowable uses for economic development tax dollars collected and each municipal entity is tasked with defining the specific goals that best serve the community.
The Museum and Visitor Center operated by the Bastrop County Historical Society along with the Bastrop Opera House and the Lost Pines Art Center received unanimous approval of their annual contract for services. Please support these organizations so we may all continue to enjoy them.
The City’s recreation program is in full swing and offering classes from BollyX to Pickle Ball clinics. Check out October’s schedule.
Captain Fletcher with Bastrop High School’s NJROTC invited me to participate
in this year’s Patriot’s Day ceremony.
It is hard to believe it’s been twenty years since we all watched in
horror as our country was attacked by terrorists. Patriot’s Day is dedicated to remembering the
event and the heroes that selflessly ran towards the danger to protect
others. It is sobering to think the high
school students have no memory of life before 9/11. Bastrop police and Fire Departments were part
of the ceremony along with Bastrop Power & Light that provided two bucket
trucks to display the 20’ x 30’ US flag.
It was an event that caused all of us to re-think priorities and reminded
us to be thankful for our freedom.
Representatives from the NJROTC led the pledge of allegiance to the US and
Texas flags at council this week and also recited the Cadet Pledge. Cadet Lieutenant Commander Priscilla Segura,
Cadet Lieutenant (junior grade) Allan Janes and Senior Chief Petty Officer,
Mariah Greenlaw did an outstanding job and received a standing ovation. They gave us all hope for the future.
National Night Out for 2021 will be October 5. To learn more, view the parade route maps. Every neighborhood is encouraged to participate. Host a block party, attend a block party or
just commit to introducing yourself to a neighbor. So often we wave and smile, please consider
taking the next step toward a new friendship.
October means purple in Bastrop, literally.
Plans are in place to turn Bastrop purple for the month to raise
awareness of domestic violence. At this
week’s council meeting, the Family Crisis Center staff, along with Bastrop
Police Chief Clint Nagy, shared a short skit to explain the different roles and
steps taken when a domestic violence situation is reported. Bernie Jackson
accepted the proclamation declaring October “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” The statistics are heartbreaking. Over 5 million children witness domestic
violence each year. Every resident has
ation to be aware and that includes being educated on what to watch for
and how to help in these desperate situations.
Please take time to participate in the Women’s Leadership luncheon on
October 28 or visit the Family Crisis Center.
The remainder of the meeting was dedicated to approving the Fiscal Year
2021/2022 Budget and Tax Rate. Water and
wastewater rates were also approved.
Staff and Council have been meeting since May to discuss, prioritize,
and finalize the budget. If you have any
questions, please reach out.
Meet your neighbors and watch for the parade,
Some of you know that I was a band “nerd” in high school. I loved being in the marching band, concert band, orchestra, and pit orchestra for the senior plays. I love music. It turns out I am not alone, music has been inspiring people throughout history. “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato. If you were one of the lucky people who attended the city council meeting, you received the gift of Hannibal Lokumbe playing his “Hymn for the World” accompanied by Callahan Winkler. Hannibal sang the hymn he composed before the musical rendition. The words are soul-soothing and one of my favorite phrases in the hymn are… “hatred requires so little, love the greater test.” If you missed the performance, I encourage you to watch the recording.
Speaking of music, please make your plans to attend the Bastrop Music Festival from Thursday, September 23 through Sunday, September 26. You will find a variety of venues, music genres, and times which should allow everyone to find something special to start your flight to the imagination.
Much of the meeting focused on the public hearings and first readings for the budget and tax rate for Fiscal Year 2022, which starts October 1, 2022. The second and final reading will be on September 21, 2021. New legislation requires the readings to be seven days apart and we always strive to be compliant to legislation. As a result, we will not be meeting the fourth Tuesday of September. I realize it can get confusing, but you can always check our website or Facebook page for meeting dates.
Viridian is a project located just north of Highway 71 and west of FM 969. Council approved the development agreement for this nearly 400-acre project on July 13, 2021. The next step in the development process is the Financing and Reimbursement Agreement. Council unanimously approved the agreement. This mixed-use, master planned community will provide a variety of housing options for our community.
One of the most important duties given to the Mayor by the City Charter is the appointments for Boards and Commissions. I had the honor of requesting and receiving unanimous approval from city council for my appointments. Terms are tied to the fiscal year, so the folks confirmed will start their service on October 1, 2021. Our annual Board and Commission Appreciation dinner will be held on October 14th this year. At the dinner we thank everyone for their gift of time and talents for the past year and have a special recognition for the folks who are ending their term of service. If you are interested in serving there are often opportunities throughout the year, and I encourage you to complete an application.
On that note (pun intended) take time to enjoy the music and I look forward to seeing you at the festival.
Weather forecasters are monitoring tropical storm Ida headed for the Gulf, a rather usual occurrence for this time of year. As August draws to a close, City Council looked towards September and presented two proclamations this week. One to Fire Chief Rosales recognizing September as National Emergency Preparedness month. We encourage everyone to register on Warn Central Texas and take some time to evaluate your preparedness. It is a great time to check batteries, supplies, and review your safety plans. Thankfully, we have an excellent resource in the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team should you have any questions.
On September 4, 2021, the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team is hosting the “Perseverance in the Pines” event to reflect and celebrate how our community has recovered and how resilient we have become after the Bastrop County Complex Fire. Please join the community at the Bastrop Convention Center at 12:30 pm. Special thanks to Hylea Conti for accepting the Proclamation recognizing the event.
Council received a presentation from BGE, Inc. on two future Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) located near the intersection of FM 812 an Hwy 21 which, believe it or not, is part of the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. The development group indicated they will be submitting MUD creation documents soon and staff will review before it comes to council for a vote.
Council unanimously approved the Bastrop Economic Development project Moca Ventures which will be located in the Industrial Park. The property will be purchased for $900,000 which will be returned to purchaser after they meet certain contract requirements including receipt of a certificate of occupancy in a new building. This project will bring software and financial planning jobs to our community.
Council also unanimously approved the Financial Management Policy, Investment Policy, and Purchasing Policy. Each of these important financial documents are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure compliance with any new state laws. They are also reviewed as part of our audit. We most recently received the highest audit rating possible, reflecting the dedication and hard work of our Chief Financial Officer Tracy Waldron and her team.
See you in September,
Summer is coming to a close and that means the end of fun summer camps like the City of Bastrop’s Police Teen Academy. The City Manager and I had a chance to share what it is like to be a Mayor or City Manager with the cadets. They had great questions about our responsibilities and the laws governing municipalities.
Speaking of our police force, I shared a response at the council meeting from a citizen who applauded the quick and thorough response from Chief Nagy. Our police force works diligently to provide good customer service and it is so appreciated when folks take the time to recognize their efforts.
The majority of the city council meeting was the FY21 Third Quarter Report. Assistant City Manager Rebecca Gleason made a presentation to council covering the highlights of the report. Information from how many people checked out books at the library to how many building inspections were completed, and everything in between can be found in the report. The major categories include financial reports, Capital Improvement Projects and operational updates on each of council’s nine focus areas. The report is full of graphs, tables and great information:
(Click above to view the Q3 Report)
Council unanimously confirmed my appointment of Richard Smarznik to the Zoning Board of Adjustments. If you see Mr. Smarznik around town, please thank him for volunteering his time to this important Board.
Council approved Grantworks to provide professional services to administer the American Rescue Plan Program. Council is focused on using the funds on our wastewater and water improvements in an effort to keep our rates as low as possible.
The “Wheeled Sports Plaza” is open! The ribbon cutting held on July 30th had attendees from all ages. If you get a chance to drive by the improvements, you will find it is busy at almost every hour. Bikes, scooters, rollerblades and skateboards are all welcome and will find something just for them.
Council will be focused on the Fiscal Year 2022 budget in the next weeks. Our first budget workshop is Tuesday, August 17th and the public is welcome to come and make comments and suggestions.
Make the most of the rest of your summer,
July is nearly over, school is around the corner, and that means budget time for city council. City Manager Hofmann presented the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, highlighting the changes from previous years, and included a five-year fiscal forecast. We all know current decisions have a tremendous impact on the future and the best decisions are made when the most information is provided. The first budget workshop will be held on August 17th and like all our meetings, the public is certainly welcome.
Since we are at the end of quarter three for Fiscal Year 2021, it was time for updates from our strategic partners and community assets. Presentations were made by:
Each organization did a great job of sharing events that occurred over the last quarter and providing a peek into what’s in store for the final quarter. Council had a chance to welcome Nicole DeGuzman, new Executive Director for the Museum and Visitor Center.
Early August in Bastrop means Homecoming. Everyone looks forward to the parade, rodeo, and other festivities. Lori Chapin spoke during citizen comments and encouraged folks to participate in the Homecoming Celebration. City Council is honored to be a supporter of this great community event.
If you missed the Board and Commission Open House held on July 15th, there is still time to get your application submitted. Please give some thought to volunteering your time and talent to the community. The most important requirement is your willingness and availability to serve, no special skills required. There are some residency requirements for certain Boards. All that information can be found on the application.
The unusual July rains have certainly kept everything greener than normal, but the normal hot weather has most definitely arrived. As temperatures increase, electric demand is a concern for ERCOT and for each of us as residents. Peak demand generally occurs between 4 and 6 PM on days that have experienced over 100 degree temperatures. None of us want to endure rolling outages and the best way to keep electricity on, rates down, and save on your personal bill is to make a focused effort to conserve power. Serving on the ERCOT Advisory Board for the Texas Municipal League has given me a new perspective on the far-reaching consequences of exceeding power generation capability with demand.
Finally, please join me in congratulating our city manager in becoming a Grandpa for the first time. Mr. Hofmann’s family was blessed with the addition of Elizabeth Joy Hofmann on Monday, July 27th.
Stay safe and conserve power -
The City of Bastrop was recognized as the Government Agency Partner of the Year by BISD. Dr. Kristi Lee and April Lewandowski both attended the council meeting to present the award. The City Council and staff are proud of the great partnership.
As part of preparing for the FY2021/2022 Budget, Council heard requests from Community Support Organizations for consideration. The community is blessed to have so many dedicated non-profit organizations working to meet the needs of our residents. Each organization submits an application providing details on their budget, other funding sources, how the money will be used, and other critical information. The applications are part of the council agenda packet if you would like to review more detailed information about our community support partners. Staff will make a recommendation and funding will be appropriated as part of the budget.
Senior Planner, Allison Land, made a presentation to council on the new FEMA Flood Insurance Study. The new maps issued by FEMA have the possibility of impacting a number of our citizens. You can click here to find out if your property is impacted by the new floodplain map by entering your address at the prompt. We are in the initial phase of rollout and we will be having a number of public meetings to make sure property owners are aware if they need to consider purchasing flood insurance.
The River Loop Sidewalk project was awarded to Myers Concrete Construction. The project will combine existing sidewalks, Highway 71 improvements, and new multimodal infrastructure to provide a safe way for pedestrians to cross the Colorado River twice. The River Loop will provide a literal loop through our historic downtown providing our community a 1.8 mile walking path.
Human Resources Director, Tanya Cantrell, presented the newly revised Employee Handbook. Ms. Cantrell gave an overview of the changes which included everything from clarifying paid leave to updating the telephone contact requirements. Council was complimentary to the team who produced the new Employee Handbook, it is a great way to welcome and onboard new members to the team.
Council unanimously approved the Development Agreement with Continental Homes of Texas on 400 acres located just west of FM 969 and north of Highway 71. This is the first step of many before construction will begin. The project will be phase to start from FM 969 and move west.
If you see Carol Kysar around town, please congratulate her on being appointed to Place 4 of the Cemetery Board. Ms. Kysar is a well-known community figure with a heart for the rich history of our area.
Have a great week!
Summer is in full swing and we celebrated our commitment to Parks and Recreation by proclaiming July as “Parks and Recreation Month.” Several of our parks board members joined us at council. The pool is open at the state park, the city recreation program has 220 members and Birdwatching BIG SIT will be in Delgado Park on June 26th.
City Council unanimously voted to accept three unique donations for Bob Bryant Park. Lost Pines Alliance Golf Club donated 18-disc golf baskets. Public Works Director, Curtis Hancock, shared with council that one of our residents is the national champion for disc golf so we are hoping for a surge in disc golf participation for the whole community.
Other donations included the Audubon Association’s donation of three Purple Martin Houses and the Bird City Coalition’s donation of $1,990 (grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife) for bird blinds.
Council approved the second reading of two ordinances – scooters and signs. Our first-ever ordinance regulating “scooters” or as more correctly described as “Motor-assisted Scooters, Electric Bicycles, and Bicycles equipped with GPS.” Thanks to Chief Nagy, we have identified parking locations, protected our pedestrians and our river.
The second ordinance was “cleaning up” the sign chapter of our Bastrop Building Block Code. Special thanks to Assistant Planning Director Jennifer Bills and our Planning and Zoning Commissioners for taking the time to analyze issues and propose solutions.
Bastrop Colorado Bend, LLC received unanimous approval on the development agreement for the 554- acre project west of Lover’s Lane and east of the Colorado River. This is the first step in the development process.
The Patriotic Festival, hosted by Bastrop Chamber of Commerce, is just around the corner and the city is proud to provide the funding for the fireworks show. You can start your day with a 5K, join in the festivities and top off the celebration by enjoying the fireworks. Saturday, July 3, the place to be is Fisherman’s Park.
KVUE “Day Break” filming is rescheduled for Friday, July 2. If you are an early riser, come on down to Museum and Visitor Center on Main Street at 5 am and be part of the live audience.
There were only a few empty seats this week at council. The vast majority of people attending were there to speak at the public hearing to discuss the Development Agreement with Bastrop 552, LLP. I exercised the City’s right to realign the agenda and started the discussion right after our opening formalities. The entire discussion lasted just over three hours and is available for viewing HERE.
Council unanimously approved a drainage easement along Lover’s Lane to allow the County to address drainage issues. Commissioner Hamner sent his thanks for completing this important step towards resolving the problem.
Summer in the City was postponed due to the weather forecast. It is now scheduled for June 19th and will be done in partnership with the Bastrop Juneteenth Committee. It is going to be a great community-wide celebration, please mark your calendars.
KVUE also postponed their “Day Break” filming based on the weather forecast and has rescheduled for Friday, July 2. If you are an early riser, come on down to Museum and Visitor Center on Main Street at 4:30 am and be part of the live audience.
Last week I had the honor of reading the Joint Proclamation for Memorial Day at the Fairview Cemetery Event. This was the 19th Annual celebration and the Bastrop High School Navy JROTC did a great job representing each of the armed forces, and Cadet Dugger played Taps to close the ceremony.
Registration is open for the summer reading program “Tails and Tales.” Our librarian, Bonnie Pierson, was thrilled that 117 people registered for the program the first week. You can join the fun at https://www.cityofbastrop.org/page/lib.programs.SRP.home.
Summer is officially here, so that means the pool is open at the Bastrop State Park until Labor Day Weekend. Check the website HERE for more information and make sure to bring your sunscreen!
Be safe Bastrop,
City Council was honored to host Captain Fletcher and the Bastrop High School NJROTC Honor Guard as they rendered the pledge. These outstanding cadets are looking forward to their senior year at Bastrop High School and already making plans for their future.
The bulk of the meeting was centered on three “S” reports: Safety, Signs, and Scooters.
Human Resources Director Tanya Cantrell presented the first-ever Safety Manual for Employees of the City. Each department has always practiced safe procedures and we have a great safety record. The idea of having a consolidated Safety Manual came from our City Manager. The Safety Team, composed of employees from several departments, focused on guidelines to ensure every employee makes it home safe at the end of their shift. We all realize our most valuable resource is our employees and keeping them safe is a top priority.
The second “S” was Signs. Assistant Planning Director, Jennifer Bills, presented recommendations from staff and our Planning and Zoning Commission on updating our current sign ordinance. The focus of the presentation was yet another “S” – simplification. The goal is to provide clear guidelines from permitting to placement. The proposed revisions will be heard again on June 8 with revisions based on council input.
Last but by no means least, the final “S” was Scooters. Police Chief Clint Nagy provided an excellent presentation on the first ever ordinance regarding “scooters” or more accurately “Motor-Assisted Scooters, Electric Bicycles, and Bicycles with GPS.” The first place to start is the proposed ordinance does not regulate personal scooters or E-bikes. Council wants to proactively deliberate and decide the policy for commercial micro transportation vehicles to avoid problems experienced by other communities. The discussion included the number of vehicles to allow, where they can park, what part of the roadway system they can utilize, and even how to address micro vehicles that can potentially end up in the Colorado River. The second reading of this ordinance will also be held on June 8.
We celebrated the General Land Office Grant award of $4.2 million for the extension of Agnes Road. This east/west roadway should be complete by the summer of 2023. I know that seems like a long time, but not when you consider that includes easement acquisition, engineering design, and construction. We did not receive grants submitted for Gils Branch Drainage or the West Side Fire Station, the City Manager and staff will be reviewing those applications to see how we can improve our efforts in future grants.
KVUE Day Break will be filming their June 4 show from our very own Main Street. They want to highlight all the great things about Bastrop. This will require a road closure but it is from 4 am to 7 am so we believe the inconvenience will be minimal. If you are interested in being in the audience, come on down and join us in front of the museum.
Summer in the City will be held on Saturday, June 5 from 11 am to 5 pm. It is going to be a great day for the entire family with a variety of events. Here’s the link for further details: https://www.visitbastrop.com/event/summer-in-the-city/1250/
Look forward to seeing you all at the Memorial Day event,
Council Chamber was the place to be this week. Election results to thanking our police and public works and fiscal reporting to capital projects, the agenda was packed.
The City Council election was held on May 1. Councilmember Drusilla Rogers ran unopposed for Place 2 while Place 4 had two candidates: Cheryl Lee and Jimmy Crouch. On election night the unofficial results reported Mr. Crouch ahead by just FOUR votes. Ms. Lee formally requested a recount on Thursday, May 6 and as the presiding official of the final canvassing authority, I appointed the recount committee and scheduled the recount to take place on Monday, May 10th. The election board met just before the recount committee and as part of their meeting opened two mail-in ballots that were properly postmarked but received after the election. The election board posted their final unofficial results as Jimmy Crouch 616 and Cheryl Lee 614. The recount committee worked diligently for nearly three hours and confirmed the vote count resulting in the closest election on record for the City of Bastrop. One single person could have caused the race to be a tie in which case the candidates would “draw lots” to determine a winner. We have all heard every vote counts and this election certainly proved that point.
Council canvassed the vote and Judge Duggan did the honors of swearing in Drusilla Rogers as Councilmember for Place 2 and Jimmy Crouch as Councilmember for Place 4. Council elected Lyle Nelson to serve as Mayor Pro Tem for the following year.
Proclamation for National Police Week, May 9-15, was presented to the Bastrop Police Officers that were able to attend the council meeting. The week is set aside to honor officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. We are so proud of our City of Bastrop Police force.
Public Works Week is May 16-22 and we took a moment to honor the hard-working men and women that provide essential infrastructure services like water, wastewater, drainage and streets. The recent winter storm reminded each of us just how critical it is to have these services.
In 2016, the International Economic Development Council created “Economic Development Week” to bring awareness of the importance of economic development to the general public. The proclamation was presented to Interim Executive Direction Genora Young, BEDC Chairperson Kathryn Nash and staff, Angela Ryan and Jean Riemenschneider.
The agenda included two major presentations. The FY2021 Second Quarter Report by Assistant City Manager Rebecca Gleason and the Draft Five-Year Capital Improvement Program by City Engineering Manager Fabiola De Carvalho. Both presentations set the stage for the full-day pre-budget workshop meeting that will be held on Friday, May 14th at the convention center.
Downtown was hustling this past weekend. The combination of beautiful weather, Bird Lover’s festivities, and Mother’s Day made for a picture-perfect time in Bastrop.
The council agenda this week focused on recognition of
people who make our community special.
We had four proclamations and took a moment to reflect on the service of
one of our councilmembers.
Bill Ennis was
presented with an award recognizing his four years of service on City
Council. He joined council on May 16,
2017 and has been an invaluable part of the team. His dedication to our community ranges from
service on the Main Street Board, Historic Landmark Commission to the Fairview
Cemetery and everything in between. If
you see him around town, please thank him for his service.
was a disease I had never heard of until I received a very sweet email from a
mother trying to bring awareness to the community. They were unable to attend the council meeting,
but Curtis stopped by so see me at City Hall and pick up his special
proclamation. Please take a moment to
familiarize yourself with this rare disease.
Bastrop was awarded the State’s Bird City designation and this week we
recognized May 8th as the World Migratory Bird Day. The Bird City committee has a fun filled
weekend planned (see itinerary) from enjoying brews and learning bird calls to bird face
painting. Bird Lover Weekend May 7-8,
only in Bastrop.
We also recognized May as Building Safety Month and
presented to proclamation to our building official, Shirley Ellis. Ms. Ellis serves on the International Code
Council Board of Directors. Building
officials have one of the most important regulatory jobs, they are responsible
for keeping the public, homeowners, tenants, employees, and visitors safe in
every situation you can imagine. We are
blessed to have such a knowledgeable official.
May 4, 2021 was declared as Firefighter’s Day in
the city of Bastrop. This is a special
day set aside to remember firefighter’s who have given the ultimate
sacrifice. Several of our own
firefighters were able to join us and receive the proclamation.
Our meeting included important budget business as well. At our first council meeting in April, council
received the results of the compensation study which included recommendations
to allow the city to remain a competitive employer. The recommendations covered both compensation
and benefits. As a result, this week we
approved a fairly complex mid-year budget amendment. Both the staff report and the presentation by
Chief Financial Officer Waldron provide detailed information for full
transparency. The benefits package was
addressed by council approving the addition of a floating holiday
bringing us in line with other municipal employers for the number of staff
April was a busy month of fun things from ribbon cuttings to bar association plays. I even had a visitor from BISD! You also may have seen the Visit Bastrop logo
proudly displayed on one of the Ecabs around town, if you have not had a chance
to see it, there is a picture in my Mayor’s report.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, have fun making
memories in Bastrop.
It’s hard to believe we are halfway through April and even harder to realize that we are halfway through our fiscal year. The council agenda this week was driven by March 31 being the end of the second quarter.
Per the Charter, Council is tasked with adopting the budget. Council is diligent in making the best use of every tax dollar collected whether it is property, sales, or hotel occupancy tax. Each and every tax dollar must be leveraged to provide public-safety, essential services, and as a whole used for the greatest benefit to the community. An example of council’s diligence is the quarterly review of organizations that are tasked with stewardship of those tax dollars.
Presentations from the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation, Visit Bastrop, Bastrop Museum and Visitor Center, Bastrop Opera House, and the Lost Pines Art Center were the majority of the agenda. Each of the organizations reported on what they accomplished last quarter and what they plan for next, I would encourage everyone to review the posted agenda packet or take a few minutes to watch the presentations.
Salaries for City employees are one of the largest items included in the general fund budget. When City Manager Hofmann joined the team in August, he requested Council approve a Comprehensive Employee Compensation Study be completed since it had not been reviewed since 2015 and recommended that any salary increases be delayed until the results of the study were available. Last August, we were dealing with the global pandemic and certainly did not have clarity on the economic impact of it. The compensation study was presented at this week’s council meeting and there was a robust discussion about the best way to move forward based on the results. Our goal as Council is to make sure we are competitive with the market so we can attract and maintain the best staff. Compensation is a complex issue that covers more than just a base salary. We must also be competitive with our benefits including vacation and health care. Staff brought forward recommendations from the consultant for the remainder of this fiscal year and items that council will discuss as part of preparation for next fiscal year.
April 18th is National Lineman Appreciation Day. The City of Bastrop is extraordinarily blessed to have the dedicated team of Bastrop Power and Light employees that work to ensure power is reliable. Winter Storm Uri certainly reminded each of us just how important their work is to our personal safety and comfort. If you see any of these folks around town, please tell them thank you.
Congratulations to Cripple Creek Wine and Gifts, they are expanding their business by moving two doors south and changing their name to CC Wine & Company. Council unanimously approved their request for the sale of alcoholic beverages so they can make their move.
Next time you are at Fisherman’s Park, take time to check out the Mason Chalmers Fireplace. You may have wondered why someone built a fireplace next to the pavilion. Actually, the fireplace was there first, built in the 1950’s it is the only remaining portion of the Chalmers cabin. Another example of the rich history we have here in Bastrop.
Speaking of Fisherman’s Park, the splash pad is officially open for the season. Stop by and enjoy it from 10 am to 8 pm daily.
Many of you are aware that we had two employees injured by a driver who did not want the inconvenience resulting from an accident. Sergeant Sanford has recovered after being dragged by the vehicle but Assistant Fire Chief DeArmitt is still weeks away from being able to return to light duty. So many folks have provided meals, prayers, and support. Chief DeArmitt’s family is extremely grateful. All of us at the City of Bastrop ask that when accidents occur, please give our first responders the space necessary to serve by approaching the inconvenience with patience and empathy.
Monday, April 19, is the first day of early voting. Please make your voice heard.
The best description of the council meeting held on March 23 is efficient. Our agenda included three proclamations and five items for “Individual Consideration”, and we adjourned at 7:22 pm – now that’s efficient.
Megan Webb with the Children’s Advocacy Center accepted the Proclamation recognizing April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Feel free to wear blue during April to help bring awareness.
Bernie Jackson with the Family Crisis Center made a presentation and accepted the proclamation recognizing April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Keep an eye out for the exhibit to educate the community that one out of five women and one out of seven men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
We also recognized April 4-10 as National Library Week and extended our thanks to librarian Bonnie Pierson and Library Board Members Jennifer Leisure and Sally Keinarth who were in attendance.
I also mentioned the Texas Monthly article highlighting Sonya Cote and David Barrow and their new restaurant on Main St., Store House, and their urban farm which provides produce to the restaurant.
Council approved a Professional Service Agreement with ASAS, LLC on a 552-acre project just outside our current city limit and along the Colorado River. This agreement ensures the developer pays the costs associated with the financial and legal review of the project.
Council unanimously approved Archer Western Construction as the Construction Manager at Risk for the Water Treatment Plant. The contract was awarded ahead of final construction plans intentionally as they will help provide value engineering in the final construction design and expedite the project by moving forward with critical path items like digging the water wells.
F.N. Ploch was awarded year 3 of the Streets, Pavement and preventative Maintenance project. Here is a list of streets included in this next phase of our maintenance plan.
The week is ending with Groundbreaking for Wastewater Treatment Plant #3. This critical infrastructure investment has been needed for a very long time. Design started back in 2018 and it’s exciting to see this major milestone completed.
Enjoy your weekend and this lovely weather,
The word for this week is service. At the council meeting held on March 9th, there were several types of services discussed. From the National Guard providing vaccines to the City offering recreation services. Service to our friends and neighbors is just one of the things that makes Bastrop a special place.
On March 5th, I accompanied “Team Charlie” as part of the “Save Our Seniors” pilot program for Bastrop County. I had the privilege of accompanying two Air Force and two Army National Guard members to administer 13 vaccines to seniors that would have extra challenges in coming to a HUB clinic. It allowed me to catch up with some folks I had not seen in a long time and meet new people as well. Everyone was grateful for the “in-home service.”
As part of my Mayor’s Report, I shared the good work of Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry. I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering for their food giveaway event on March 2nd. People were thankful for the “curb service.”
BISD has a great after school care program, ACES, and the group is still meeting on ZOOM to keep the students engaged and provide some entertainment for them. I judged my second LEGO contest on March 4th. The project was to build “a bridge across Lake Bastrop” – the creativity of the students was amazing. It is fun to imagine how these students will serve their community in the future.
Council received the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report from the independent auditor firm of Belt, Harris and Pechacek. The audit was “clean” with no findings. City Council commended the finance department on the results of the audit. Everyone at City Hall takes the stewardship of tax dollars seriously. Transparency and accuracy of where those dollars go and how they are spent is of paramount importance to City Council.
In accordance with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order 34, you will see “masks recommended” signs when you arrive at a city facility. Each business has the ability to set their own rules and guidelines. I encourage you to shop and eat in a manner that you feel is safe while being respectful of each business owner.
The city manager presented Phase 2 of the recreation program. Although services will no longer be free, they will be quite reasonable with discounts for seniors, Military, and people with disabilities. Council approved the Recreation Program membership fee schedule (see attached graphic.) The “old” Senior Center (which we all know was the “old” library) will be utilized as the Recreation Program’s Wellness Center. Phase 2 is a pilot program that will allow us to gather data and make an informed decision on the future of city programs as part of next year’s budget.
Council approved the creation of a Public Improvement District located just west of FM 969. The 410- acre tract is called Viridian. In addition to approving the boundary, council also received an executed dissolution agreement and a professional services agreement. The professional services agreement ensures that current taxpayers are not funding future development projects and the dissolution agreement serves as prescribed exit path if it is needed. The property is strategically located and the owners, DR Horton and Continental Homes, expressed their commitment to providing a neighborhood aligned to our Building Bastrop Block code.
Proud to serve our community,
One of the things I enjoy most about serving as your Mayor is the opportunity to thank people for a job well done, for going the extra mile, for making a difference in someone’s life. The council meeting held on February 23 provided several opportunities to do just that.
Bastrop Fire Chief Rosales presented Life-Saving Award Recognitions to Film Alley Manager Mark Tauscher, Assistant Fire Chief Eric DeArmitt, and Bastrop firefighters Ethan Perry and Christopher Stone; all involved in quite literally saving citizen Steve Townes’s life on January 8, 2021 at Film Alley. I am glad I live in a community where employees and first responders are focused on protecting the public.
City Manager Hofmann presented a summary of the events from last week. City Staff functions as a team and serves as a family. Everyone stepped up to support one another. As many of you know, because you called the City, City staff answered over 3,400 calls around the clock last week. That is 3,400 times that a citizen called the City and received a dedicated employee instead of a machine. The team that started out with two people grew to nine in order to cover the phones 24 hours a day. The public works employees completed their jobs in dire circumstances, many without going home for days at a time. The police and fire departments did what they do best, keep us safe.
Speaking of our City Manager, Mr. Hofmann has been with the city for six months now. As a part of his employee contract, city council provided him a six-month review. Council was unanimous in supporting Mr. Hofmann and the tremendous job he has done for the community. Communication, filling vacant positions, and reorganizing the city staff with a focus on customer service were accomplishments highlighted by council members in their remarks.
Diana Schulz, our Area Engineer with Texas Department of Transportation, provided an update on the Highway 71 Bridge project. Did you know the project includes nine new bridges? The question I hear most is “How long is it going to take to finish?” The answer is January of 2023 the entire project is scheduled to be completed.
Paul Morales with Halff and Associates reviewed the plans for Gills Branch. The city is in the process of applying for a Hazard Mitigation grant funded by the General Land Office. That might sound boring, but when I tell you if the project is approved the grant will provide 90% of the funding and 188 homes currently in the 100-year flood plain will be out of the flood plain I think you’ll agree that’s exciting news.
Spring is nearly here, and construction will start soon on the Wheeled Sports Plaza in Fisherman’s Park. It has been a long-term project for many who serve on the Parks Board and Council approved the final contract needed to complete the plaza.
Council unanimously approved the appointment of the first Cultural Arts Commission members. Special thanks to Council Member Ennis for his work in getting this commission implemented.
I know several of you are still dealing with the consequences of the freeze last week. Bastrop County has been approved by FEMA for individual assistance. I reminded everyone Tuesday night that the most important thing you can do right now is take pictures of the damage and keep receipts for your repairs. If you have any questions, FEMA has a hotline 844-844-3089.
What a week it has been. In my last update I stated the “arctic blast is upon us” – I guess I’ll claim that as the understatement of the decade! I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics – 144 hours of below-freezing temperatures, more snow in the last week than the last ten years combined, 5 official storms in 8 days. The statistics are impressive, but they are not the whole story.
I am so proud of City Staff and our entire community. I have witnessed several acts of unprecedented kindness and grace and I wanted to share a few of those stories with you. Several folks have asked how the Senior Center and the Convention Center have been used during this past week. The Senior Center has been home for Public Works. Several employees have not been home since last Sunday, February 14. Every day of the event that you were able to flush a toilet, drink a glass of water, and have power- it was a result of these dedicated Public Works employees. Every day of the event that you were unable to do those things, I can assure you that you had a team of City of Bastrop employees doing whatever it took to get the issue resolved. The Public Works team utilized the Senior Center which is located adjacent to the public works yard as a basecamp. They would go to the center to catch a few hours of sleep and grab a bite to eat before they went back to work. They have helped homeowners who did not know how to turn off the water service. They’ve made repairs in the middle of the night regardless of the freezing temperatures. The wastewater treatment plant had huge increases in flows as a result of everyone turning on every faucet they have to try to prevent pipes from bursting. The demand for water to drip every faucet exceeded our ability to produce water and that is why by Wednesday we had to shut off Zone 2 in an effort to maintain pressure for Zones 1 and 3.
The Convention Center has been serving as a temporary fire station. When Bluebonnet Co-op started their rolling power outages, that impacted Fire Station 2 in Tahitian Village and so in the middle of the night, the firefighters defrosted their fire truck’s air brake system, which was frozen, with hairdryers and moved the trucks as well as their dorms into the Convention Center so the valves wouldn’t freeze and become inoperable. Chief Rosales has been sleeping in his office when he’s not out with crews on long shifts. Serving as Fire Chief, Emergency Management Coordinator, IT guru, and taking care of his crews- we are honestly not sure how he is surviving without sleep.
The Police Department has been doing wellness checks for medical priority home-bound citizens as well as assisting stranded motorists that slid off the roadway. They provided supplies from water, fuel for generators, delivered drinking water, and even made runs to the pharmacy to pick up and deliver medications.
Our city electric crews at Bastrop Power & Light (BP&L) have continued their relentless efforts to maintain power. It was only when mandatory rolling outages were exercised that BP&L had any outages. Our reliable power service is a result of preventive maintenance that is performed year-round by the crews.
Our communications team has gone without sleep. The postings, the reverse emergency calls, and answering questions on social media were done to keep everyone informed with the latest, most accurate information. Several of our employees were answering phone calls from their homes both day and night, often without power and water themselves.
Please join me in thanking our hardworking staff.
I got to spend today along with many of our Police Officers, volunteers, and some staff members distributing bottled water to our residents east of Highway 95 who still were out of water, as well as to our nursing homes and those on our critical medical needs list. Lowe’s matched the City’s donation of two pallets of water, H-E-B donated bags, and we handed it out until there wasn’t anything left.
My heart is warmed by the many stories I’ve heard of businesses offering free coffee and providing water to fill a bucket for those without water. Citizens offering the water from their pools to their neighbors so they can flush toilets. This is what makes Bastrop the special place that it is.
Thank you, Bastrop, for being Bastrop.
The council meeting held on February 9th was full of good news. I am excited to share the highlights: from restrictions being lifted to appointing a new member to the Main Street Board.
The additional COVID restrictions required by Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, on January 10th were lifted on January 30th. Why were they lifted? The hospitalizations of COVID patients in our region were below 15% of total patients in the hospital for more than 7 days. In fact, I reported at the council meeting the current rate was 10.6%. In our great State of Texas, 3.3M doses of the vaccine have been administered, doubling the number of injections given in just two weeks. Locally, the Bastrop HUB has had four clinics and given 3,515 doses. I know many of you are still on the waiting list and I appreciate your patience. Dr. Walkes, Walgreens, and Bastrop County Cares are all working together to get our allocated doses administered and continue to request increased allocations.
Bastrop has been making the news. On January 28th, FOX7 featured Sonya Cote and her great new restaurant Storehouse Market & Eatery. Watch Here: https://www.fox7austin.com/video/895527 . It was an honor to serve as a panelist for Senator Eckhardt later that evening; it gave me a chance to brag about how BEDC distributed COVID Grants to our local businesses within weeks of the stay-at-home orders. As if that wasn’t enough, the February addition of the Texas Municipal League’s magazine, Texas Town & City, featured a story about our Main Street Rehabilitation Project called “We Are Bastrop.”
City Manager Hofmann presented the inaugural quarterly report. This 60-page report includes updates on Financials, Capital Improvement Projects, and Council’s Nine Focus Areas. The report is chock full of facts, graphs, comparison tables and detailed information about every aspect of the inner workings of City government. Council applauded the tremendous effort to provide transparency for both council and the public. Please take time to glance through the report.
One of my favorite things to do is appoint dedicated citizens to our Boards and Commissions. Council unanimously approved the appointment of Sarah Houser to the Main Street Board. Sarah has given so much to our community it’s no surprise that she’s offered to volunteer her time on this worthy board.
Chief Nagy gave his annual “Racial Profiling Report” and this year he included more data and analysis than ever before. How many stops were made, what the results were from the stops, but the page we were all the happiest to see was the report on “injury during custody” – nothing but zeros. We are blessed to have such a dedicated police force in our community. Thank you for supporting them.
February was recognized as Black History Month and I will once again be attending the BISD Board Meeting on February 16th to share the City’s proclamation. Please take time to explore the numerous opportunities to learn more about Black History.
The artic blast is upon us and on behalf of our first responders, I implore you to drive slowly if you have to drive, stay home if you can, and be sure to protect people, plants and pets. Speaking of pets, we had a new addition to our family this week and I couldn’t resist sharing a photo of Buddy since he’s the First Dog of Bastrop!
The last Council meeting in January was full of presentations which I know might sound boring - but not in Bastrop! Quarterly updates from Bastrop Economic Development Corporation, Visit Bastrop, Lost Pines Art Center, Bastrop Opera House and Bastrop Museum and Visitor Center provided a great summary of what’s going on in Bastrop. From finishing the building at 921 Main to the number of people who went to the Opera House production of “Elf” (839 tickets from 11 sold out performances.) I think you’ll enjoy watching the presentations and hearing directly from the folks involved with these great community organizations, if you have a few minutes take a look.
Council voted unanimously to approve recommendations from the Cultural Arts Master Plan Ad Hoc Working Group which included the creation of a Cultural Arts Commission and adoption of the themes, values and priorities document to serve as the foundation of the commission. The implementation recommendations are worth the read. I would like to personally thank the folks involved in the working group: Council Member Bill Ennis, Ms. Debbie Moore, Ms. Maria Montoya Stayton, Mr. Dick Smith, Mr. Luis ‘Chico’ Portillo, Mr. Phil Hurley, Ms. Kaye Sapikas, Ms. Lisa Holcomb and staff liaison Mr. Colin Guerra. If you see one of these fine folks, please extend your gratitude for their hard work and dedication. I plan to make appointments to this new commission in the near future rather than wait for the annual appointments in September.
On Thursday, January 14, the Film Bastrop partnered with Film Alley for the Chamber’s Alive After Five January event. “Why Film in Bastrop Texas?” starring Zachary Levi premiered in one of the newly renovated theatres. I had a great time at the event and enjoyed meeting industry folks interested in our community. As part of the event, Bastrop County shared a new initiative called “Crew Guru” which serves as a tool to unite local talent with visiting industry projects. For more information on Film Bastrop, please visit: https://www.filmbastrop.com/
Bastrop remains under the additional restrictions resulting from hospitalizations over 15% for our service area, but the great news is we now have five days under 15%. Please keep practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering to prevent the spread. Our goal is to reduce the number of cases and increase the number of folks getting vaccinated. Speaking of vaccinations, I was excited to share Dr. Walkes’ practice has been approved by the Department of State Health Services as a HUB for vaccine distribution in Bastrop. On Friday, January 22, 1,000 doses were administered and then again on Tuesday, January 26, another 1,000 doses were administered. Over 30,000 people have completed the pre-registration survey to be added to the waiting list. Vaccines are given by appointment only and volunteers are working diligently to get folks on the waiting list scheduled. If you are not one of those that has pre-registered and you meet either 1A or 1B criteria, please visit COVAC.INFO or call 866-268-2289. As you can well imagine, these HUB clinics take an enormous amount of work and volunteer opportunities exist if you have the time.
Reach out to a friend today, it will do you both good!
Happy New Year – 2021 is here! We've already had a fun snow day and our first council meeting. Only in Texas can you have such extreme weather. I hope you all enjoyed the snow. It certainly provided some great pictures for folks interested in photography, and there were some impressive snow people, especially when you consider how few opportunities exist to hone your skills.
Our first council meeting reminded me of the old saying, "great things come in small packages." Although the entire meeting lasted less than 90 minutes, the Council acted on everything from our next City Council election to awarding the contract for construction of Wastewater Treatment Plant #3.
Our City Secretary, Ann Franklin, presented all the necessary documents to ensure we have a successful City Council election for places 2 and 4 on May 1, 2021. Candidate packets were available for pick up on January 13 per State Law. Our City Manager, Paul Hofmann, has offered to provide orientation and tours of city facilities for candidates. If you have any questions, please reach out to Ms. Franklin or Mr. Hofmann.
Wastewater treatment has been an infrastructure topic around Bastrop for decades. Many of you know that the current treatment plant is well past the anticipated life expectancy. After nearly two years of planning and engineering design, the contract for building Wastewater Treatment Plant #3 was awarded to BAR contracting, Inc of Lancaster, Texas. We received 7 bids from qualified contractors, and our engineering consultant, KSA, recommended awarding the contract to the lowest qualified bidder. As you can imagine, we have to get the wastewater to the plant, requiring a collection system. Smith Contracting Company was awarded the first phase of the collection system, having the lowest bid of the 14 qualified contractors who responded to the request.
During my Mayor's report, I announced the City of Smithville had a new Mayor. Mayor Joanna Morgan was sworn in on January 11th at their council meeting. I would like to thank Mayor Saunders for his support and wish him and his family the very best. Mayor Morgan and I have already spent some time together, and I look forward to working with her. Speaking of Smithville, they are hosting the first-ever Virtual MLK Day Celebration for Bastrop County. Please visit http://www.bastropcountymlkday.com and participate in this great event, including videos and volunteer opportunities. The event's goal is the same as it has been for 29 years, raising scholarship funds for deserving students in our county.
COVID 19 remains an issue for our community, state, and nation. Bastrop County is part of the State's Trauma Service Area "O" made up of 11 counties. Unfortunately, within those 11 counties, the number of people in the hospital for COVID has been more than 15% for seven consecutive days. As a result of Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-32, Judge Pape received a letter on January 10th requiring three things: 1) Eliminate elective surgeries 2) Businesses and Restaurants reduce from 75% occupancy to 50%, and 3) Close bars. These additional restrictions will be lifted as soon as the hospitalization rate is below 15% for seven consecutive days. For Bastrop county specifically, active cases increased by 163 this past week, and recoveries increased by 162. Unfortunately, the number of confirmed cases increased by 216. We all know the best solution is to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the number of cases, and increase the number of people vaccinated. The number of people in Bastrop County that have received at least one dose is 1,754. The vaccine is sent to Bastrop County directly from the manufacturer based on the State's allocation process. Bastrop County's Public Health Authority, Dr. Desmar Walkes, is working diligently with other doctors in the county and within the system to prepare for promised increased allocations. This is a dynamic situation, so please check out the Texas Department of State Health Services website, the Bastrop County Emergency Management website, and your personal doctor for the latest information.
Bastrop County Commissioner’s Court approved a resolution thanking the COVID-19 response team that has worked diligently since March of last year. The County's response, including testing centers and supply distribution, would not have been possible without several City of Bastrop employees. I was honored to recognize their efforts. If you see these folks in the community, please join the Council and I in thanking them for their work. Tanya Cantrell, Rebecca Gleason, Colin Guerra, Trey Job, Clint Nagy, Andres Rosales, Matt Wagner, Tracy Waldron, and Victoria Psencik. It is a true privilege to work with all the dedicated staff at City Hall.
“The Mission of the City of Bastrop is to continuously strive to provide innovative and proactive services that enhance our authentic way of life to achieve our vision.”
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