Happy New Year!!
I hope that you had a wonderful time with family and friends over the holidays. January is always a time of personal reflection for me. I look back at the achievements of the past year and then look forward to the coming year to set my goals.
As I reflect upon these last seven months of being your Mayor, I am pleased with the progress that we have made. This includes:
- We have increased the transparency and engagement with the Lakeway community through town hall meetings, surveys, newsletters, and blogs. This includes “The Lake Way” newsletter that is published weekly.
- We appointed over 75 people to the City boards, committees and commissions. Approximately 40 were first-time appointments. These committees are the voice of our community.
- We conducted eight town halls and working sessions, and completed a survey to determine how the community feels about several topics.
- The City Council was able to keep taxes unchanged from the previous year, yet were able to increase our fund balance ratio to 30%, fund our fleet management plan, add 2 positions, and include six months of operating expenses for the new police station.
As I look toward the goals for the coming year, I can look forward to many things. The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee has begun its work to devise the vision and plan for Lakeway over the next 20 years. This plan is extremely important for our community as we determine what our residents need and want for our community so that we build a plan that can deliver those new amenities all while keeping taxes in check. I expect this work will take 12-18 months to complete.
As more people move to our area, the traffic conditions continue to worsen. We are currently working with Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to create plans to improve the safety on RM 620 before the widening project in 2022. We are changing the striping on Flint Rock Road at RM 620 to improve the traffic flow (the middle lane will be left-straight-right and the right lane will be right turn only); studying the southbound RM 620 temporary lane at Lohmans Crossing versus a right turn only at the light; and modeling medians on RM 620 between Lohmans Crossing and Lakeway Boulevard. Additionally, we are working to increase the connectivity of our internal roads to create alternate routes from 620. From my discussions with TxDOT I have learned that arterial road connectivity is paramount to solving our traffic congestion problems. We have also begun conversations with Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) to address the 2040 transportation needs. However, we cannot lose sight that Lakeway is a resort-style town - not a thoroughfare. We will be including aesthetic improvements, sidewalks/trails and bike lanes to keep the essence of our community.
We will continue to provide support to our new businesses and residents. Many ordinances have been revised to remove onerous or out-dated requirements. Our permitting process has started reviewing cycle time metrics and improving the processes. This process has also become electronic. Permit requests and associated documents can now be submitted online at any time of the day. This allows the applicant to see the progress of the submittal, reduce costly paper copies, and adds the convenience of submitting them from anywhere at any time. We are also in discussions with CAMPO about piloting a ferry service from Lago Vista to more efficiently bring workers to and from our area. And, we are working with the City of Bee Cave, Village of the Hills, Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce and Bee Cave Chamber of Commerce to study our area needs and work with our businesses to identify solutions to meet these needs.
We have made great progress in the last seven months, but there is still much work to be done. We need to continue to measure and improve our City processes by instilling a continuous improvement methodologies. This includes revising ordinances and measuring our customer service. We must be diligent in devising and implementing traffic safety and connectivity improvements for our area. The City will need your support to achieve these improvements when we ask you to approve a transportation bond. We need to support the Comprehensive Planning Committee as they identify how we evolve our community over the next 20 years. And, we will continue to find ways to improve our communication and increase dialog with our community.
Have a happy New Year!