Travis County Commissioners Court
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 (Agenda)
Item 1 is a public hearing to receive comments regarding a proposed final list of projects for the potential 2011 bond referendum.
>> good morning, judge.
>> good morning.
>> and Commissioners.
motion to open the public hearing by Commissioner Davis.
seconded by Commissioner Gomez.
all in favor?
that passes by unanimous vote.
>> steve manila from t.n.r.
and joining me are staff from the planning and budget office.
last week we presented to you a recommendations from the citizens bond advisory committee appointed by the court last January, February time frame.
included in the recommendations were roadway projects, drainage projects and parks projects totaling about $205 million.
before getting too far into it though because I do see the folks waiting to give comment, we did provide to the court and also over here where you enter into the room copies of correspondence we've received from various folks throughout the entire process.
so some of their emails, letters and such are already included in there and if they want to confirm that that's there, they may not find it necessary to get up and testify or maybe they can defer to someone to bring new information to the table if they would like to do that.
but anyway, it's over there in two large manuals for them to peruse.
we can go through in detail if you like or if you feel like we had enough conversation last week, we can open it up to p.b.o.
to provide their comments on the financial side of this or on the debt service side of this, and then open it up for the audience, I suppose.
how would you like to proceed?
>> any questions for mr. Manila?
>> the only -- not mr. Manila, but p.b.o.
I think we had set a goal of 150 million, and the -- what was the tax, the tax impact with 150 million?
>> what we had reported to the citizens bond committee was based on p.b.o.'s recommendation that the entire issuance including facilities would be 400 million.
and from that 400 million total, we had carved out 150 million for the parks and roads.
>> and that's what I'm asking about, the parks and roads.
>> what we reported to the bond advisory committee was that on $100 million of debt, there would be a tax impact on the average homestead of about $18.59.
>> so therefore 150 --
>> annually, that's correct.
>> and 150 million to answer to question directly is 27.88 or 89, excuse me.
>> I think I missed something there.
so if we issue $150 million, the tax impact is how much?
>> for every 100 million, what leroy was saying for every 100 million the impact was 18.59.
if you take 18.59 times 1.25 it would be $29.
>> on 205 million what is it?
>> that would be $38.11.
>> how do we normally issue voter approved debt?
our projects in the past have been on a five-year cycle.
this is seven years.
>> they've been longer than a five-year cycle.
the 2005 program we had prop 1 which was local roads and prop 2 which was local park projects, and we issued in -- we issued that over a six-year term.
and in 2006 we issued approximately 20% of prop 1, which was roads, road projects, and prop 2, which was the park projects, we issued 51%.
for a total between the two of approximately 35% of the total program.
I should say 65.2 million was allocated in 2005 towards prop 1, which was roads, and 62.2 million was allocated towards parks, which was prop 2.
and we can get you this information in writing so you are not having to write it down.
>> so if we issue bonds for seven years of projects, you think for the first year we would probably issue about 30, 35% of that?
>> I think that's reasonable, judge.
we have some projects that are already in the works as far as design goes and we could get them out the door within the first year.
so I think that's a reasonable estimate right there.
>> yeah, if in fact you use the 2005 percentages on the roads and then the parks and you applied it to the 205,000, you would end up issuing about $66.5 million.
if it happened to be issued in the same percentages.
and the tax impact on the projected average homestead would be about $12.36.
the first year.
>> so that amount would increase over the next six years or so?
>> using the same percentages, you would issue about $39 million the second year and that would be about 39% of 18.59, which would be about $7.25.
increase in the second year.
in the third year, you would issue about 47 million, so you would have that 18.59 times about 47% of it or about $8.73 increase.
and, of course, you're paying off some debt, and what we went through with the citizens bond advisory committee, we showed a chart that we showed with y'all of how we're paying off debt.
so these are just on the raw issuances and it would be reduced by any debt that we're paying down, and we'll be glad to do a debt presentation sometime showing the impact of this against our debt model.
>> any other questions for planning and budget?
>> and what are the -- the tax revenue assumptions for the future going forward on that?
is that based upon current tax revenues or projected revenues?
>> no, based -- based on some projections that patrick brown gave me on some rough increases in net taxable value and his ideas about new construction.
and those assumptions are built into the debt model.
that kind of -- we're giving you on this, we're giving you just if you issue $100 million, it will cost the average homestead $18.59.
now, that number does not incorporate the increased taxable value and the increased new construction.
so those are in the assumptions in our debt model.
>> mr. Davis, you had a question?
>> yes, judge.
I just wanted to -- and I think it's pretty important that we do run a model and see what we have out there because every year we'll issue debt according to what the voters approve, and, of course, this is going to go before the voters this coming November.
and, of course, I think we need to see exactly what kind of impact it will be on the voters if they decide to approve the parks, open space and road enhancement for tract.
for -- for Travis County.
so I'm looking forward to seeing that projection through the course of the issuance of the bonds and to see exactly where we will be each year as we go through the process and then how much impact it will have on individual taxpayers here in Travis County as we go through the exhaustion -- as we exhaust and issue the debt.
so it would be good to have that information, leroy.
>> I do think it's well to note that the 280,022 projected f.y.
13 average homestead is the average for the entire county, and the citizens bond advisory committee did ask us to try to get some geographic information.
and the nearest source we could get were the independent school districts.
del valle school district average homestead is 108,514, so the impact would be about a third of these numbers.
manor is at 137,430.
so it would be about half.
and, of course, the western side of the county is substantially more than the average homestead.
>> any other questions for staff?
>> well, I would just like to follow up on what Commissioner Davis was saying that yeah, I think we need to see those projections and models about the debt.
and then also I think as a part of the educational process, the voters will need to have available to them because please remember that the voters have the ultimate say do we move forward on these projects or not.
and then so I think we need to provide the financial information along with the bond projects that we're talking about putting on the ballot.
and we need to know all of that about the middle of August, do we not?
so that we can put the bond ballot together.
>> the citizens bond advisory committee had also asked us to provide a model that I believe t.n.r.
put on the website where a person could take their tcad value and put it in and project what the recommendation of the bond issue would be.
>> remind me whether county staff is included in the preliminary budget for f.y.
>> for the new bond program?
>> and judge, I guess we need to, I guess, be mindful, I guess, as far as the deadline that we have to face as far as making sure that what we end up putting together as far as a bond package for the November referendum vote, we need to be mindful we have only a certain length of time to do that, and I believe been informed that the date is the 16th of August as far as us doing it in a timely manner whereby we'll have enough time to place everything in its proper position before it goes before the voters in November.
so we just need to be very mindful of that as we proceed.
>> we are posted to conduct a public hearing.
our staff has been kind enough to provide us a summary.
comments given at the six public meetings prior to last week, and last week we heard from numerous residents and took good notes.
and we'll have other opportunities to review those notes.
my request is that if we heard from you last week, assume that we will be mindful of that and we'll take it into account before we make a decision.
however, some of you may have given comments last week and thought of something new and different today and we certainly welcome that.
let me call, if I can, about four or five residents, and as one finishes, we will need that seat because I'm calling another one.
>> I'm going to pass.
>> I didn't scare you, did i?
>> no, you didn't.
>> jim schwending.
come forth or do you just want us to know you are in support of the committee's recommendation?
>> good morning.
>> thank you for the opportunity to speak to you.
my name is jim schwindinger and I'm retired now, but in my professional career I served a lot of large manufacturing companies that department with large capital projects so I have some context here.
I've been involved with the roadway projects since the outset and most of the meetings.
personally interested in bee creek and I support them and won't say anymore.
they deserve to be included in the project.
today I really wanted to briefly address the Commissioners court on the general topic of support for the total bond package and selling it to the Travis County electorate.
a couple of points.
first, I encourage to you support the entire package recommended by the citizens advisory bond committee.
now is, my opinion, a late date to be considering either additions or deletions.
the committee performed substantial due diligence at your behest so I think the list is the list.
still have affordability issues to address but the list is the list.
you should directly advise the public that the county has grown substantially over the past, although less the last few years, but our investment on our infrastructure has not kept pace.
we are playing catch-up.
moving off these projects will place lives at risk and frankly will cost more if delayed until we are truly desperate for the projects.
our Travis County legacy and we will probably never have enough.
and we will always want to add to our park resources, but nonetheless, we need to be long-term focused and make investments when the opportunities present themselves as is in the case of the pedernales river acquisition.
as you may know or hopefully have been advised, now is a good time to be taking on bonded indebtedness.
the current environment for bonds is attractive.
Texas is a state that is favored in the mini bond market.
Travis County will be even further so.
while I can't predict the rating, it will be good.
now is a good time to take on indebtedness.
in fact, I would even tell you you may look back on this date and say we should have taken down more.
one last thing, please don't under estimate the public's grasp of these facts.
ask for their support.
give them straight talk about where we are and where we need to go and I believe you will get their support.
one last item, and it just relates to the conversation that was just had.
I went to the website and tried to play with the model determining extrapolated rates.
the key underlying variable in that model is the question that Commissioner Huber asked about the underlying projected growth and the property tax base.
I encourage to you continue to ask questions about toggling that variable.
because I would guess that that model is built with a relatively conservative forward looking projection regarding tax base.
I'm assuming these are going to be 30-year general obligation bonds.
I just encourage to you look at that carefully as to what the alternative growth rate scenarios might mean relative to that incremental tax rate increase.
>> thank you.
>> ms. Sullenberger is next.
>> good morning, lauren soul everberger and my husband and I own a home off lohman ford road off Lake Travis.
I'm been following the proceedings of the cabc and this court and more specifically realignment of the lohman ford issue for the past several weeks.
I was not at the Commissioners court meeting last week, but did watch the proceedings on the video files provided by this court.
those proceedings prompted me to appear today and I thank you for the opportunity to speak.
I am not
>> [inaudible] a city councilmember or an owner of acres of land like mr. Stricklerer will who both spoke last week, but I'm here as a homeowner and taxpayer who would like to feel assured that my tax dollars are being spent in a fiscally sound and responsible way and hope that you will feel my opinion is equal to theirs.
at the previous meeting I saw folks representing two sides.
one favoring realignment and subsequently the engineering study of lohman ford, and others adamantly against both proposals.
everything that was said seemed to hinge on the safety or amount of use now and in the future of the road.
it seems very clear to me that there's several earlier studies already presented which document usage and accidents on lohman ford that it is not an unsafe road and that the growth of that area has not met earlier projections.
and one only needs to drive that road to see that not only is it like or better many of our hill country roads, but the usage is minimal, especially once one drives south past boggy ford road, which is the road where the half a million dollar studyingly take place.
also we are talking about our beautiful hill country.
a quaint drive and breathtaking views which most definitely describes this road.
I would encourage each of you to drive that road and judge for yourself.
now to the heart of the matter.
I am all about safety and road improvement where it is needed, but are you aware that twice in the past 11 years, I believe once was 2000 and the second time was 2008, a request was made to the road engineering department of Travis County for a blinking light at the intersection of osprey ridge loop and lohman ford.
both times it was denied based on the fact that no traffic accidents had occurred at this location and there was not sufficient traffic for justification of a light.
now, how is it today, now, this year, were willing to even think about wasting a half a million dollars with whether or not this road is unsafe.
nothing has changed, nothing is different.
the answer to that question came from mr. Manila in the last meeting, and I quote, "it started out as a project requested by a developer who came to me last year and said, hey, I would like to be able to see if we can use this right-of-way and fiscal that's been dedicated in the past through the platting process.
you all know that the subdivisions plat up against arterials in the campo plan exact right-of-way and fiscal.
they wanted to contribute to that as well to get improvements to this segment of lohman ford road done." that developer shared with you his feelings about safety, blessings and curses and donated right-of-ways.
but what he failed to share with you is his land is four acres is right smack dab in the middle of all this.
one extremely important on mission is the fact that -- omission is the fact his land will be worth substantially more because realignment will give him acreage with waterfront age that will allow him to build on this property.
as a taxpayer, I vehemently object to my taxes being spent in a way that would benefit one person.
the clear motivation had mr. Strickler is for his gain but he has attempted to scare everyone.
the fact is the realignment of lohman ford road will not make that road any safer.
it will still be curvey and hilly much like many of the roads on the north shore.
we will very likely be able to drive faster on it, and there will still be accidents on that road.
according to smart motorist publications, over 95% of motor vehicle accidents involve some kind of driver behavior.
drivers always try to blame for the accidents.
when the facts are truthfully presented, the behavior of the implicated driver is usually the primary cause.
most are caused by excessive speed or aggressive driver behavior.
end of quote.
if lohman ford road is realigned, the conditions of this road will promote excessive speed.
unquestionable the current alignment is well known by the locals who most commonly use this roadway and it is clearly sign posted marking curves, intersecting roads and speed limits for those not as familiar with the road.
so in closing, I urge you to vote to cut the proposed $500,000 study of lohman ford road from the bond proposal as well as discontinue the consideration of any realignment of any part of that road.
in these extremely challenging economic times, we should only spend our money on a project that will make a positive impact where it is needed and a visible improvement for the benefit of everyone.
this project fails on both counts.
thank you very much.
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
tommy blackwell is next and would barbara mcclay -- mcclaireed come forward.
>> good morning, judge, Commissioners.
I'm tommy blackwill well, I'm the president of central Texas mountaineers.
I'm here with four compelling reasons why the pedernales river corridor needs to be included in the November bond election.
the first is this chance can be lost.
our bond elections only come about every five to seven years.
and if it is not on this bond election, five to seven years from now certainly that property will increase in value, could increase so much that we can't afford it, or more likely it will be bought by developers.
imagine the impact of a development overlooking hamilton pool, an impact on its specialness and its significance.
the second reason is that reimers ranch is a climbing destination that I and thousands of other Travis County residents enjoy every day.
our organization has placed over $3,500 worth of hardware into the reimers ranch climbing areas.
we've spent thousands of our man-hours improving the trails and the steps and the access issues to reimers.
these folks that I represent will continue to to help and make this park be a part of our community.
we're very interested in the access to the climbing cliffs that would be included in this 800 acquisition.
the third reason this should be seriously considered is this will create that contiguous corridor from hamilton pool to reimers ranch north through the pogue preserve and that adds to the quality of life for all of Travis County.
there are some that would say this 800 acres will be removed from the tax roll and therefore a loss to our income.
but we won't do that.
by including this 800 acres as parkland, what we have done is increased the taxable value of all the surrounding properties.
studies show people will pay more for property near parkland.
my wife and I are an example of that.
we recently purchased a new home adjacent to a green way park in Lakeway, Texas, simply for that reason.
and fourth, the final reason and maybe the most important, is the conservation of land and managing it wisely protects our water quality.
there's a half a mile of river front on the pedernales and the colorado is the source of all of Austin's drinking water and most of Travis County's drinking water.
we need to be mindful of the use of these properties.
I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you today.
I hope you seriously consider this initiative.
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
don killo is next and would hope phillips come forward.
>> good morning.
I thank you.
don killo, and I thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my views on a project that you are considering.
and that is the widening and straightening of lohman ford road.
my wife and I are here to voice our support of your not approving that project.
we've lived in waterford for seven years.
one of the primary features of waterford that attracted us was the natural beauty.
not only the natural beauty of the subdivision, but the natural beauty of the drive to our subdivision.
if you've ever gone from lago vista to point venture you've seen what we think is one of the most beautiful spots in Travis County.
at the entrance to our subdivision, there is a vista where you can see for miles the hills and the lake.
I often see people stop there at our entrance to look at the view and take pictures.
recently I saw a group of girls with their uniforms on having their pictures taken.
I assume they were cheerleaders from lago vista.
what is being proposed in this straightening of lohman's will remove that vista to the public.
if lohman's is roofed, that vista will be the view from a private lot.
so the public will no longer have access to it as lohman's will be moved several hundred feet back.
I ask myself why in the world would you do that.
well, I've often heard safety used as the reason.
I've lived there seven years.
I've driven that road at least 2500 times.
I drive it, my family drives it.
if we felt there was anything unsafe about it, I'd be the first one in line to support the straightening and the widening of it.
I ask myself how in the world did anyone determine that this road was unsafe.
well, you know, as I said, I've been out there 2500 times.
I've never viewed an accident, I've never come close to having one.
I've never seen any indication that there had ever been an accident on that stretch of the road.
you know, so what's up safer about it.
don't talk to me about all those hundreds of homes they are fixing to build, I've heard that for years.
I've seen several developers do bankrupt and plans being altered dramatically.
I frankly don't see the growth happening.
so I don't see that as a reason either.
you know, if I was an engineer and if I wanted to determine whether a road was safe or not, several things I'd look at.
one is the number of vehicles on the road, the speed of those vehicles, and any accident reports.
well, you know, I haven't seen any evidence of vehicles being counted.
I've not seen any evidence of speeds being checked.
and I've just talked to you about the -- the record, the accident reports.
to my knowledge, there have been zero accidents on this stretch of the road.
I know in the seven years I've lived here, and I don't know how much longer than that.
so, you know, I wish someone would explain to me why the road where me and my family drive every day is unsafe.
so I don't see safety as the issue.
what will happen, if you redirect lohman's, you are going to free up some really prime real estate for developers.
well, you know, I don't have anything against developers, but I do resent my tax money being used to support them developing that high dollar real estate.
I thank you for listening to me.
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
valerie bristol is next.
and would steve metcalf come forth?
>> judge, Commissioners.
it's an honor to be here again today.
I like sitting out here.
the travis -- I'm here to speak on behalf of the parks.
I know you all are shocked and surprised, but I think the citizens advisory committee did an outstanding job.
I like the way they are adding to investments the county has made in the past and securing them for a longer term.
as we're facing enormous growth, I love the way they are focusing on water resources and combining recreation and water protection is an outstanding choice and a way to go.
so I won't take up your time.
I'm just for it.
travis audubon, the organization I'm here representing, will eagerly and enthusiastically support and campaign for the bond package with the parks.
>> thank you.
>> thank you very much.
>> mr. Awalt is next and would marilyn taylor come forth.
>> no, I'm stone king, but I'll speak.
>> he's on the way.
he didn't want any company until it was time for him to speak.
>> good morning, judge and Commissioners, thank you for this opportunity.
I spoke last week and I promise to be brief with new and improved comments.
one of the things that was provided to me was the criteria for mobility projects.
and there's a folder in front of each of you and it's in the lower right-hand corner is number 1.
and question 4 requests is the project completely within the unincorporated area of Travis County and this is lohman ford road.
the question is no.
it is also in the city limits of lago vista.
and if you'll -- if you'll turn to item number 2, the map number 2, you'll see everything included in red is the city limits of lago vista.
and there's a little blue line with a blue sticker that points to boggy ford road where the proposed half million dollar study starts.
and you'll see the red line extending out of that is the city limits of lago vista.
and then there's a green or blue line pointed to lohman ford.
that is within the unincorporated area of Travis County.
it's not a good printing of the google earth, but there aren't any people there so it's a straight stretch that nobody is in.
then you'll see a red area in -- kind of looks like africa.
that is also the incorporated area of lago vista.
that then continues down lohman ford.
and south of that it continues to dink pearson road.
judge, I had an inquiry.
I'm curious if anyone from the city of lago vista has contacted mr. Manila or his office with regard to the sharing of those costs for the proposed study and/or the realignment if it's ever moved forward.
my question is has anybody ever contacted lago vista?
>> mr. Manila?
>> we have, judge.
>> we're going to need to catch on the mic here.
should be on already.
we did contact the city of lago vista.
they did not commit to funding their portion of the project.
we can work around that if we have to.
it's not uncommon for us to work around other corporate -- the corporate limits of other cities.
but we are -- our hope is as we do develop a design and come up with cost figures that they will have some time to pull their own funds together to improve their section of the road.
otherwise their section of the road would remain as it is.
>> so county dollars would be spent only on the unincorporated part.
thank you for that.
thank you, mr. Manila.
>> one of the things I'll briefly point out in the city limits of lago vista, you can see to the left where that big red area and then it kind of stair steps down.
then there's a separation between it and lago vista city limits, again, the one that kind of looks like africa there.
that is a five-foot corridor that they came under the water to link to that property.
the purpose of that was to avoid their responsibility to pay for any of that.
they've said so in public hearings, so I think that this court and -- should send them a message that they need to put their money where their mouth is if they want improvements on that road.
the item -- the map number 3 just is the tcad that shows highlighted the areas that the developers own where they would benefit if the road would be realigned and also if the study moves forward, they are able to keep it alive.
and the last is map number 4.
that just shows the road north to south, and the picture is very telling.
that it is not a seriously dangerous road.
and where it straightens out, that's the vista that everyone is speaking of.
you can see the highlighted area where the developer would -- would benefit from that and I take exception to use public moneys for that.
the citizens bond recommendation was that they delete the realignment from the proposal and it has been done from their recommendation.
we take exception for the half a million dollar study for a very short piece of the road on the ruse of safety.
other people have already spoken to that.
we just think if you are looking -- and I know you are under economic pressure to cut some projects, this half a million dollar study in a road that is not -- that is not -- does not have a safety issue is one that you might consider.
the last thing I'd like to speak of is I am in support of the parks.
arkansas bend as well as dink pearson.
the thing I would like to point out on the map, it's all the way towards the end of lohman ford.
in fact, lohman ford road dead ends into it.
dink pearson park, it is daytime only, no camping allowed, and it is just over three acres.
so again, I'm not in support of the study and nor of the widening and would like not to keep that alive for the developer's ruse of safety.
>> mr. Stone king is next.
and would marilyn taylor come forth?
>> my name is david stoneking.
I'm a 20-year property owner on lohman ford.
I own about a half a mile of frontage that would be directly affected by this proposed realignment.
you've already -- I'm not going to be over a bunch of things, you've already heard them and there's a lot of emails.
there's a letter that the mayor of point venture wants me to put in the record.
I'll read that in a second.
but I wanted to let you know if you could get a visual of what the county is trying to do on this road is basically it's about six miles from 1431 to dink pearson.
that's the length of it.
the first couple miles is a four-lane road.
so if you are flying over this, this is what you are going to see if you guys decide to widen this to a four-lane road, which from what I understand the county has told me -- they gave me the dimensions of it if they went through with it, it would be the same size as 1431, which is to me an arterial road and the lohman ford road to me is not an arterial road but it's defined as one this the campo plan which kind of inspires the county to do something to it.
but if you visualize flying over there looking down, you are going to have a four-lane road, then a two-lane road for another two miles, then it's going to expand out where the county is to a four-lane road and come -- going to go for 2.6 miles, 14,000 feature talking about.
then it's going to come back down to two-lane road.
out in this very rural area you are going to try to create some four-lane p.a.c.
way that has a two-lane road coming into it and expanding to four lanes where no one lives along there, I do, a few other people.
then it's going back to a two-lane road.
so it's going to look kind of goofy if you have to explain that to people.
it's like a parkway to nowhere or something like that.
I don't know -- I don't really know, but it's going to look funny.
if you are going to do something, widen everything or do something, but it's not necessary.
I just wanted to give you that visual if you could just picture that.
it's going to be probably a brunt of some jokes around if it's ever done because it's out in the middle of nowhere.
also the mayor of point venture could not be here.
he had to have some emergency surgery, and he wanted me to read to you a letter he sent and wants in the public record.
so I'm going to read this letter.
the Commissioner -- here's the letter.
dear Commissioners court.
my name is rich chen and I serve as mayor of the village of point venture.
in our October 2010 council meeting I presented a resolution to support the alterations to lohman ford road that are now included as an item that is to be voted on in the upcoming November bond election.
this resolution was passed by the vote of our council.
although I cannot speak on behalf of the council, my support at the time was based on the appeal by local property owner and developer to improve the safety of a, quote, dangerous road.
subsequently I have learned that the road is not deemed dangerous by the county based on accident occurrence and that the property owner in support of this $1.6 million expenditure would increase the value of his property substantially.
this would allow him to build and spoil our lake shore by further development along a scenic drive between lago vista and point venture.
if all the facts were known to me back in October, I would not have included this resolution for our council to vote on, much less offered my support.
in summary, I am personally against major alterations to this nondangerous scenic drive and would much rather see the county invest in improvements to arkansas bend park and others that would benefit all.
signed rich shin, mayor of the village of point venture.
I just wanted to read that on behalf of the mayor and that's it.
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
mr. Mcclay is next and morris priest.
>> good morning.
my name is barbara mcclay, and my husband and I moved to the north shore about three years ago.
and we retired from houston, mainly to get out of the traffic.
and we came back to the north shore because we used to water ski up here and bring our other families and our children up here and enjoy the lake.
so we found property, bought a home off of lohman ford in this area that is being considered for realignment.
we haven't lived here that long, so it was pretty much a surprise when during the fourth of July weekend we became aware that there was scope to change what was originally the longer scope of lohman ford road to relocate this one little area of lohman ford road, the 3100 square feet that you've heard of over appear over, to the opportunity of $1.58 million.
we just couldn't quite understand this and so we have gotten together with neighbors and when everybody found out about this and obviously was imposed, then we started showing our opposition.
I drive this part of lohman ford every day and a lot of what I say is going to be redundant, you've heard it before, but I'm telling you after driving in houston all of my life, this is a breeze.
there is no safety issue.
we moved here, like most people, for the natural beauty.
it was like country living after living in the big city.
and as retired people, we felt quite safe here.
and most of the people from lago vista to point venture are retired.
and believe me, we don't drive fast.
we're not in a hurry to get anywhere.
a number of us in opposition to this relocation attended the July 14th citizens bond advisory committee meeting to express our opposition.
what surprised me, and like I said, I only lived here three years, was these people had not even heard of opposition to this.
it surprised me.
after hearing our comments and hearing of our strong opposition, you already know that the relocation of this part of road and specially to me the cost of 1.58 million for the relocation, the committee recommended not going forth with this and replaced it with this engineering study of the road.
at a cost of one-half million dollars.
my husband and I and along with most of the people that live around us are strongly opposed to this.
you've heard all the reasons for the opposition.
my speech is going to be short.
you lucked out today.
so our main opposition and for my husband and me and I think to speak on all of us is the use of the dollars being used here which we feel is needless.
there's much more areas where we need to put this money.
so I kind of had a hard time getting my head around why we have the necessity of this study.
especially, as I think mr. Stoneking expressed, when you have a four-lane off 1431 to the first main entrance of lago vista, and then you go to two-lane and you come to the second main entrance of lago vista, and then it's two-lane the rest of the way to point venture, that area needs to be addressed rather than this rural part out on the peninsula of lohman ford.
and it's been stated with our economy the way it is, there's no need to spend a half million dollars for this study.
this money needs to be spent where it will be really needed, where it will benefit the people of our community.
and I think it was valerie, I don't know her, but we may become new best friends because I would like to see this money spent on the parks in this area.
it's a rural area and my husband and I drove down to dink pearson park, and when we drove off the road, all we encountered was rocks, rocks, more rocks.
and I think mr. Stoneking called it primitive and I agree with him.
there were people there using the park.
people were trying to launch their boats, their jet skis into the lake because the lake is so low that there's very few boat ramps available for people to do this.
there were families there trying to picnic and swim.
unsafe conditions as far as I was concerned.
I would like to see money spent to do something with this park.
make it a place that people can go and enjoy.
but not only dink pearson, we also drove over to arkansas bend, and although it's in better shape it still needs a lot of help.
I think we all believe that a half million dollars could be used much better than for the study of this road.
everyone is a taxpayer.
I pay my taxes, you pay your taxes, we all pay our taxes.
we all want our money spent wisely.
so I'm really through with my speech.
the only thing that I would like to ask you is that if you were a homeowner living off the lohman ford road, where would you want your tax dollars to go?
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
>> mr. Metcalf is next.
and would howard faulkenberg please come forward.
>> thank you, judge, Commissioners.
let me shift your focus from western Travis County to eastern Travis County here for a minute.
the whisper valley project and other developers in the sh 130 kind of manor road network area started a process two or three years ago, mostly started with campo and now have been continuing it with county staff of trying to figure out how to fund and create the roadway network out there necessary to move people around in that growth corridor, sh 130 and the developments around it grow.
you have three roads, I believe, on your bond package that that are in that network that we've been working on, and I just want to reiterate our support for those, and again, the working group that has been coordinated by steve manila, we're all working together to try to figure out how to fund developer contribution to those roads and we're all committed to continuing to do that.
the one road that did not make the bond package but it's in the minority report is taylor lane.
and to make that roadway network work out there, specially given the pass-through financing for 973 was not approved, taylor lane is an important connection between all of those roads to get the traffic circulating out there and move the traffic as the growth occurs.
and so I would like to ask for your support to include taylor lane in that package as well.
as I think it's an important aspect of creating that road network out there and moving the folks through that part of town.
and I'd be happy to answer any questions you guys have.
>> yeah, I have a couple of questions.
I want to make sure that, in fact, this particular project among others were listed in our minority report.
and, of course, this appears to -- braker lane and to go from that point up to blake manor road, four lanes divided highway, which is something that appears to be something that's very necessary as far as -- it's almost like the missing link as far as the road is concerned.
the question I have, though, is that I hope -- I stated earlier, and I don't know where the court is going to land on any of this, but I do know that those projects that we, you know, may be deleted or added, I'm requesting that we come up with a debt model for this particular project.
and I guess staff, if you will, could you maybe give me a little head way as far as some of the characteristics of this particular keller lane and hopefully included, we don't know where the court is going to go, but also the relationship that must be established if we're going to conduct ourselves in a manner whereby the development community is able to put something on the table in the interest of -- of whatever that is as far as the interest of being in a partnership for this public-private partnership with Travis County.
that has not been worked out.
and as I stated earlier, we will have to come to closure on this particular bond initiative whether it's parks, open space, conservation easements, roadway projects, we'll have to come to some kind of conclusion on
if anything else is added or deleted, it just appears to me we are up against a clock.
so if you will, steve, for me, could you basically someone go over the characteristics of this particular -- and I like to call it the missing link because it's very important to make sure that the connectivity for future growth in precinct 1 which is growing by leaps and bounds over there is adequately served.
so if you go over some of the details that mr. Metcalf has brought up, I would appreciate that.
taylor is one of four projects in the manor area south of 290, east of 130, that were selected for improvements to accommodate 15 to 20,000 new houses that are anticipated in that area in the next 20 years.
that does not include several million square feet of commercial development.
taylor is an existing two-lane road.
its condition is not very good.
it's in the area where we have heaving and shifting of asphaltic pavements.
we have had historic problems with those high fat soils in that area.
this is one project the committee really struggled with in their decision to delete.
they weren't saying that it wasn't important, they weren't saying to keep it deleted together, they acknowledged it needed to be done, but it existed as a two-lane road and that was one that they reluctantly chose to sacrifice, to try to even where the money was being spent in that area.
however, it is a critical road for the largest developer, whisper valley.
that development alone is 7,000, 8,000 rooftops.
and they are building a currently funded project, braker lane, that was funded for public-private partnership.
braker lane will expand eastward to taylor lane and from taylor lane you'll go north and get on to these other roads approved in the bond list for improvement.
so to keep that developer engaged, it's important to improve taylor lane.
that doesn't need to be the first project out the chute or can it wait several years, it kind of remains to be seen, but it is the one they felt at the time if they had to give something up, that would be it.
I think it's in the minority report for a good reason.
it ought to be funded, but they ran up against the wall of, you know, trying to keep things under 200 million and that was one of the sacrifices along with the other projects on the minority report.
it's 1.7 miles ultimately to be four-lane divided.
>> and the cost.
>> and again, I guess as we go through this process, those that projects that may be deleted or added on to, we really don't know, however, we'll have a deadline that we'll have to adhere to and that's
so any difference of variances as far as what we're dealing with her I think need to be ironed out before wend up making a decision on August 16th.
whenever we're scheduled to do that.
so anyway, thank you for your comments.
>> thank you, mr. Metcalf.
ms. Phillips is next and would ronnie reeferseed come forth.
>> thanks to the citizens bond advisory committee, mr. Joseph, mr. Manila and Travis County Commissioners.
the park and land conservation projects by furthering the balcones land integrates wild lands into a reality ensure Austin will be a viable living city of the future.
in hard economic and ecologic times to make big profits and end game which everyone loses what will be for valuable than restored greenways and rivers and like ways for plants, animal, birds, insects that all depend to them, what will be more important than access to clean water to suggest we only wade and don't swim in rivers is delusional.
I have been blessed to swim in the pedernales almost every day for 20 years.
the addition of approximately 800 acres in reimers ranch along can west cave preserve and conservation easements will establish the pedernales river corridor.
springs, grottos, bluffs, sandy beaches, canyons equal to a national park or development cutting off all and displacing plants and wildlife, it is now or never a priceless acquisition for Travis County.
objections I've heard to the pedernales river corridor, hamilton preserve is crowded.
then why not buy more adjacent land?
western Travis County is dry.
why not protect the river and springs?
development in the area has come to a halt.
you have only to drive past the dallas based rocky creek subdivision on hamilton pool road with 400 homes planned to see this is false.
transportation studies show that constructing roads in urban areas does in the lessen traffic because every mile built leads to corresponding increase in miles driven.
do rocky creek residents plan to commute by jet packs or rockets.
Travis County used a 2.1-month-old settlement to remove silt from hamilton pool and creek caused by the ranches at hamilton poo subdivision.
a network of pools and parks is beseiged by development.
another misconception is private owners are the best protectors of land.
county and state park personnel have developed an anexpert tease which few landowners can compete.
in contrast to a hamilton pool preserve, let me give you a example, from houston, dallas, los angeles, orlandos who have stripped native vegetation for carpet lawn.
when the river bank washed away he unsuccessfully tried to stop with sandbags.
bare -- washed into the river.
this is a poor alternative to protected Travis County parkland with access for all.
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
miss taylor is next and would david richardson please come forth.
>> judge and Commissioners, thank you for letting me speak today.
I'm president of the waterford and Lake Travis p.o.a.
I've been a resident of waterford since August 2003.
I presented a packet of information with a beautiful picture on the front of it to each of you.
I want to you know that that is the view from our entryway from the entry at osprey ridge road and lohman ford.
I ask for your no vote on the engineering study as part of the 2011 bond referendum.
our community is is also opposed for the county using a back door such as tagging unused funds as suggested in the report.
we are completely against this project no matter how little funded.
it is just not needed.
from the minority report, the committee recommends using unallocated funds resulting from failed partnership attempts or project cost savings to be used first to fund higher than expected costs on our projects and second to make whole those projects that were down scoped in attempt to rugs the overall bond referendum amount.
these included arterial a, bee creek road, lohman ford road, and slaughter lane east.
we strongly suggest that any portion of the lohman ford project be dropped from consideration.
one only needs to drive lohman ford from 1431 to its end.
a couple of tiny unobscured -- tiny obscured peaks at Lake Travis along the way.
until you come around a well marked and guardrailed curve and voila, a most spectacular view of the lake n your packet there are several pictures showing what we see, what everyone sees.
as far as I can tell, I believe that this is the only clear view of the lake for the entire stretch of lohman ford until you get to dink pearson and then it opens to the main body of the lake.
that view is priceless.
how many Travis County residents have contacted you about the safety of this portion of lohman ford?
how many knew of this proposal?
we didn't until two weeks ago.
our local paper stopped delivering to our neighborhood this year so news of meetings went unread.
we find it very creative that a developer went to the county engineer and cbac and presented a notion that lohman ford was a safety problem of the the scope of the problem was reduced to 3100 feet.
approximately three-tenths of a mile.
for $1.6 million.
whose properties are along the stretch?
the very developer who approached the committee for the safety issue.
another developer who has already shown a keen interest in building a multi-story condominium.
to sweeten the deal.
rate rights-of-way were thrown in as incentive to the county.
what a sweet deal.
get the taxpayers to pay the way for their gain.
who else owns properties along this three-tenths of mile.
mr. Stoneking -- both opposed the project.
there is one other set of owners, waterford on Lake Travis poa and its residents.
we have 82 lots.
we feel our community would be impacted negatively by this project.
you have all read the comments sent by many of our residents.
beyond the mentioned objections, what else would we lose?
the spectacular view of Lake Travis.
who else would lose?
everyone who travels that stretch of road.
while 2 numbers are not great, there are some cars which make the trek.
population growth estimates for our little corner of Travis County on a peninsula on Lake Travis do not merit a larger road to ease congestion or for safety reasons for many years to come, but those three fifths of a mile became such an issue for whose benefit.
the cbac changed the project to engineering in hopes of reviving the project at the next bond referendum possibly seven years down the road.
we ask that you do not reinstate the project this year.
we ask that you do not spend $500,000 for an engineering study, and we also ask you do not up scope the project to the original $14,000 -- 14,000 feet.
and we ask that you do not fund any part of the project using other sources of money.
save our hill country road, save our incredible view.
save our community assets.
thank you for your attention.
>> thank you, miss taylor.
mr. Perkins is next.
>> good morning, Commissioners and judge.
appreciate the time.
I attended about four or five of the meetings and I want to say that the people that you appointed to this citizens bond committee were fantastic.
and at a minimum they deserve a pizza party or something.
>> [laughter] but no, they really were fantastic.
they were from all walks of life.
I was so impressed.
and I gave presentations a couple times.
I'm primarily in support of infrastructure projects.
you know, of course, over the years we have -- we always have problems with not enough roads, not complete sidewalks, things like that.
that's my primary support.
it does amaze me a little bit about how large the parks and recreation budget is.
it's like $80 million.
I'm not positive on that.
but I do support the onion creek green way.
looks like it's going to be a fantastic attribute.
I'm a big supporter of hike and bike trails.
I'm wondering if we're going a little too far on this bond package and that's for you guys to decide.
but hopefully when it comes down to putting it on the ballot, it will be separate enough so that the citizens can, you know, vote up and down on several issues and not just have all parks and one yes or no.
I don't know what the plan is for that.
one issue that came up -- oh, let me give -- ask for support for the pedestrian projects, all sidewalks.
one of near my neighborhood so I'm excited about.
that we really would appreciate that stays in the package.
it was actually proposed about 27 years ago to have some relief on that roadway by the county engineer.
and we hope that will stay in the project.
one thing that I would like to ask to you support and it's not in the bond package, there was about 80 comments that came in late, and the reason they came in late was -- I don't know why, but there was about 80 comments or more came in supporting s.h.
I can't get up here and not talk about that.
but this is a very important infrastructure project, and, of course, as you know and I'm not going to talk over and over about it, but it was brought up towards on the last day on July 14th, I think by mr. Geiselman, that if some of the projects are not funded or the partnerships do not come through, that possibly the funding left over could go towards the funding of s.h.
45 southwest in some fashion.
you know, maybe it will be a roadway.
maybe just make it a bicycle lane.
I don't care what it is, but we put something on that land the county has already purchased, it sure would be nice to have something out there to help with transportation.
of course, I would rather have ctrma build lanes and make it a great connects.
I think some other people are going to be supporting that following me and hopefully we'll have that infrastructure connection.
about 80 people did comment on that.
I'm sure mr. Geiselman could explain what he was conveying at that meeting.
one other comment I have is I guess as I was just a little bit concerned about the lack of participation from the -- at the citizens meetings that are around the county and I was out of town for those, but looks only like 20 people showed up at each one of these meetings.
I guess there was a problem with advertising these meetings.
and hopefully next time around that won't be a problem.
we'll have more people attending.
>> thank you mr. Perkins.
mr. Priest is next.
>> morris priest.
I did want to say that when I was listening to p.b.o.
earlier discussing the future tax increase to our property taxes, it sounded pretty much like comments I've heard from Austin energy.
those issues that you do -- knowledgeable about that.
I'm not going to read this letter, but I did give you all a copy of the letter from our former hays county judge, and one of the lines in the letter was simply put, what you've witnessed was a blaring example of government at its worst, and the voters not to -- it is something new and different, but the voters did vote to build --
>> [one moment, please, for change in captioners]
>> says no to the first amendment.
>> not too late to get the scam from the sacred list.
it's a list.
by the way, let us applaud the informed thoughtful citizens of laga visa who recently said no to the fluoride toxic sludge poisoning.
stop punishing them.
here is an analogy to this.
no mour fluoride.
but the analogy, as a nor wegen half breed that I am, it's an analogy just like norway being punished for standing up to proudly big on thed israel on behalf of the palestinians.
number two, saying no to world war sitaro, this ongoing system of mass killing.
>> mr. Refer seed, there anything relevant to item number one?
that is what we would like to hear.
>> toll roads.
they are atdt15128544495
>> please keep this project moving forward.
>> thank you mr. Richardson.
sip n=knno carrierringconnect
>> inadequate roads.
with respect to flint rock, if you have been there, it's a very windy road, all kinds of dips and turns, no shoulders, very difficult road to travel.
it's a road that at one end will have a very sizeable regional hospital that will open next year.
a lot of ambulance traffic, a lot of traffic from people trying to go that route, flint rock road, as opposed to going 71 and 620.
it's a short cut they are going to take.
I don't want to see more accidents going to place when people are going to hospital.
that also is a road a lot of people use to go to the lack travis high school.
more and more traffic because it's a short cut, young kids using that road to go to the high school, evident to everybody and a road I think sooner can improve the safety, the better off we're going to be.
with respect to bee creek, Lake Travis isd has contemplated building a large middle school pond approximately 1200 students a lot of traffic is going to be generated by that.
also on very close to that road is a new elementry school proposed which will draw a lot of traffic.
we're going to have significant amount of school traffic on this bee creek road, again a very inadequate road.
I think a road that if you have gone on, you will share with me the concerns that I have that this road needs to be improved.
I would just like to make one point.
I think that the staff and the bond advisory committee has done a great job listing these projects and paring down where they thought was necessary.
I'm a little bit weary about the bee creek road.
I'd like to have you think about that particular road and what has been done to that.
it was originally proposed that this road be a four lane divided road from 71 to the intersection with the highlands road.
what the advisory committee had decided to do was to essentially build the four lane divided to the entrance to the proposed middle school, then for the rest of the way it would be a three-lane road.
three-lane road, by the way, without sidewalks to a development where the sidewalks are going to be built from the junior high to 71, where I don't think there's going to be much pedestrian traffic.
so I would really like the Commissioners to take one last look at that and see if the part reduced by the bond add ricery committee could be put back in.
I think it would make sense from a safety standpoint to do that.
thank you for your time.
and I do have a letter from the isd superintendent.
is there someone I could give that to?
>> they will pass it to us.
ms. Hoffman is next.
and would cleo snider come forward.
>> Commissioners, thank you and good morning.
my name is laura hoffman, the executive director for nature conserven si.
I'm hear on behalf of the members and supporters to thank staff and committee for the conservation of park land projects and to ask for your support for those projects.
just to put context around this recommendation, most people in the room know that we're really lucky to live in a community that has a long history of protecting its natural resources.
the canyon lands conservation plan has assembled over 28,000 acres.
this court protected hamilton school, and we protected acres along the river.
it's amazing assembly of protection in had a community growing as fast as any in the country.
for that reason continued protection is necessary.
I think probably the drought we are experiencing puts in sharp focus the need to continue to invest in conservation that protects water quality in the rivers and streams in central Texas, and this bond program does just that.
it gives us a way to look at land and water conservation and allows us to build on investments that this court has made in the past.
the nature conserve ancy is working with the court on one of the projects, the 800 acres that would connect hamilton pool and the ranch along the river.
this would not only provide a connection and investment for the community but protect an additional four and a half miles of the pedernales canyon--river.
I cannot appreciate enough how much we appreciate the bond committee's recommendations and our support.
we will stand with audubon and ought communities and help you get these bonds passed.
thank you, and I'm hear to answer questions.
>> any questions?
>> great job, especially in the area of conservation easement and open space, something that is really inextricably intertwined with all the things that we are trying to look at future growth.
we got to have that type of setting out there for the quality of life for this community.
so I really think what you all da--
>> thank you, I appreciate that.
you all have shown remarkable leadership and willingness to use all kinds of tools to accomplish good natural resource protection.
that is why you have gone so fa.
>> thank you.
>> good morning Commissioner, I'm pam bagget on the board of directors of shady hollow.
we looked with interest as home owner begged you to not build a road, study the need for the road.
they say there is no need for congestion or road for safety issues, no need to study a road and oppose studying a road for new development.
Commissioners, we sh shady hollow and the other communities along brody lane do need a road due to congestion and due to safety issues d.
we do need an environmental study for a road.
we do need a read for existing development.
shaddy hollow has 1400 rooftops.
in the year since the county bought the right-of-way for sh 45 southwest, the number of rooftops has doubled in Travis County and quadrupled in hays, I mean our area of Travis County.
most of that group follow the opening of brody lane in making it a throughway, the gateway to hays county.
they are welcome.
my grandchildren live there.
I have no problem with them coming to visit me.
but at the same time that road was open, I believe everybody remembers that there was much discussion that it's okay, sh 45 will be built and there will be no problem.
Commissioner Eckhardt said we needed to open up some of our existing roads in shady hollow, and she is correct.
we have a dozen roads that dead end against city watershed land.
we also have a land locked middle school next to a road that could be extended.
bailly middle school, there's only one way to get there and that is coming down brody.
it's not just people, children living in the neighborhoods who attend that school.
the bond committee said they could not consider sh 45 southwest because our Commissioner opposes it.
Commissioners, your own staff, as you know, have strongly recommended this road more than once.
so with all the money the speakers today say they don't want, I assure you, all the neighborhoods along brody lane do want that money to continue the environmental study and to build sh 45 southwest.
>> thank you, ms. Bagget.
ms. Good win is next.
leonard strikem please come forward.
>> good morning judge and Commissioners.
I'm vicky good win and I live in shady hollow, also on the homeowners association board.
judge, do you recall the year that brody lane was opened up to 1626?
do you recall that?
>> not offhand.
>> in the '90s?
>> I'm either having a senior moment or fatigue.
>> would you agree it was sometime in the '90s?
>> I would.
>> over a decade.
we were promised at that time some relief for brody lane, that something would be done so all the hays county traffic would not come up through our neighborhood.
so pam touched on the safety issues.
I'd like to touch on that just a little bit more.
we have an elementry school on wown side of brody lane and a middle school on the other side and families on both sides.
a pool on one side.
children are constantly needing to cross the road.
most parents don't want their kids riding their bikes because it's dangerous crossing brody.
so that adds to the cars on the road.
I let my son ride his book to the elementry school and held my breath most of the days that he did so.
now several years later, my daughter, I won't let her ride her bike to bailey middle school even though it's on the same side of brody, she wouldn't have to cross, it's too dangerous.
too many cars.
dewey high school, a lot of students driving up and down brody lane every day twice a day.
it's just amazing the amount of traffic on brody lane.
it is a safety issue when the e-mail was September --sent to the advisory committee, we were told sh 45 was not in the bond package because the council doesn't support it, Commissioners Commissioners court doesn't support it.
I would be happy even with just a token going towards the environmental study to say let's at least give a glimmer of hope to that neighborhood that we made a promise to in the 1990s.
do you not think our neighborhood deserves some support?
I'm just about to cry.
after all the time that our neighborhood has shown up at meetings, at campo, Commissioners course, whatever we can do.
we are begging and pleading for relief.
I'm just asking you, could you not give us $500,000 towards the environmental study just to keep that glimmer of hope that maybe one day we'll have traffic relief?
let me say also that as driving up and down brody lane, one of the safety issues, studies are done that making a left-hand turn off the road, the rear ending is the largest problem that we have.
I turn off on to my street, make a left from brody lane all the time and constantly look in my rearview mirror because I feel people are going to rear end me.
it is a safety issue.
please look at the numbers.
I'm benninging you --begging you to maybe take the $500,000 that loga vista says they don't need and put it towards our environmental study.
>> ms. Good win, I have a question for you.
there's doubt that there's congestion problems on brody lane.
but the question I have for you, because you referenced elementry school and middle school, and ms. Baget mentioned they are land locked too and from brody.
since the majority is generated from the traffic related to those schools, how would 45 southwest ease that problem?
>> because at that time of the day in the morning, commuters are coming up brody lane to go to work.
it is not just school traffic.
>> but the majority data shows that it is generated, the majority is generated--
>> 4,000 cars from hays county?
I don't know.
there is a traffic count.
I don't recall because it's been months since I have look at it.
showing the intersection of 1626 and brody.
those people are going to work.
>> thank you.
>> thank you, tom walled is next.
and can we get mr. Strictel.
please come forward.
and ellen walker.
>> thank you, judge and Commissioners for your time and your service.
my name is tom wald.
I'm with the league of bicycling voters and the Austin league of conservation speaking today in support of the bond advisory committee ease recommendation for bike safety plan and capital improvement program.
the bicycle access is important for commuting, recreation, other transportation needs as bikiceling becomes more popular.
often the roads are heavily idea by motor vehicle traffic.
as the local population increases so do motor traffic in unincorporated roads.
the roads lack paved shoulders, which for two lane roads requires motorists to cross the center line to pass.
limited sight lines on sharp turns or team hills or with oncoming traffic, motorists are tempted to pass to avoid slowing down.
intersections can present safety hazards especially since the smaller profile bicycles make them unexpected on the roads.
currently the county have its own system plan assigning priorities among safety needs in the just difficult shub .
development of a plan coupled with funding sources is an important next step in meeting the bicycle safety needs.
development and implementation of a bike plan for the county will help exstend other bike plans from the cities and provide synergies between local bike plans.
also want to speak in support of other items recommended by the committee.
those include the trails and park land acquisition and also the inclusion of bike lane and sidewalks in the road safety projects.
any questions, let me know.
>> thank you, mr. Wald.
>> yes, I'm with the esd 1 in lava vista, jones town and surrounding area.
I want to talk about safety.
have I no interest in both sides of what I have heard, but I want to stress the safety.
I have been on the board of Commissioners eight years.
I served 20 years, 23 years in the fire service in houston.
and I have been a chauffeur and driven around houston.
I think there's safety problem.
if I heard there was no safety problem, no accidents, , come check our records.
I can recall three deaths over 1431.
it wasn't at point venture, but numerous accidents that we answer.
so I feel the safety is there, the problem is there, and we're interested in safety.
we're interested in lives and the least is our equipment.
our equipment is in emergency run when we ago to point venture.
it has a fire station.
up until now it's strictly manned by volunteers.
so the equipment from loga vista and jones town will come in an emergency, a house fire.
so I have great concerns about this.
you know, what is a life worth?
ask yourself, what is your life worth.
I take issue with there's no accidents.
anybody wants to come check our records, it's open records.
you can check how many accidents.
so I hope that you will do the study to make our roads safer.
thank you for your time.
>> thank you, mr. Snider.
>> yes, thank you, judge.
December 11, 2001, I appeared before this commission.
three of you were here at that particular time, Commissioner Davis, Gomez and you, judge, were here.
I brought this subject up about this road at that particular Commissioners meeting and the hazard that was there.
I'd like to read to you what I presented to the Commissioners court at that particular time.
this is titled road partial relocation.
there's a very dangerous situation on loamen ford road between the town of logo vista and village.
a blind curve exists where at least one death, excuse me, and numerous accidents have occurred over the past few years.
within 800 feet from the hazardous line curve there is another dangerous curve.
a thousand feet further up the hill is a dangerous intersection where an entire subdivision exits on to the road.
a proposed relocation of approximately 2200 feet of loamen ford road, I presented a map also, shown in green on the attached map would eliminate both curves and improve the intersection.
a construction cost of approximately $200,000 should be sufficient to eliminate the hazards.
this was based on some construction figures that at that time before the Commissioners court was realignment of the road by water ford subdivision, right down road from this situation.
I divided by five.
I think they had almost a mile, mile and a half of construction.
so that is not an engineering figure.
that is just a pencil calculation of $200,000.
I'm sure it would be more now.
county bond money was voted in 1984 to straighten this portion of the road, and that construction was never commenced for various reasons.
one of them, I heard, was they had a bird problem.
representatives from the village of point venture would like to consult with appropriate travis personnel to ascertain what it would take to remedy the safety hazards along the stretch.
help fully submitted.
nothing has been done, was done to my knowledge from that presentation, nine and a half years ago.
I have lived out there in point venture and traveled that section of road for 18 years.
while people may say that it's safe, I would invite you to go and see the blind curve that I'm speaking about.
the other two that I mentioned right up the road are not that dangerous.
but this is a situation that we have people traveling all day long and at night.
I too enjoy the seenic view of the lake along the top of that hill and appreciate the county putting guardrails to keep people from going off the cliff as they enjoy the view.
what I don't envoy is the oncoming traffic that starts drifting into my lane when they are looking at the lake and going up to the top of the hill.
I would certainly appreciate, like I said, for each of you to go and look at that particular blind curve.
I'm not supporting or saying we ought to have a four-lane road, but something has to be done.
there have been accidents out there.
some people have lived out there for a short time and certainly have seen them.
I have had to pull over and help a guy that ran off a road.
because he came around a curve too fast, myself, and carry him down to point venture where he could go a phone.
probably five or seven years ago.
again, I appreciate your time and your consideration.
and I'm also in favor some funds whether for a study or straightening the road.
things happen and it needs to be corrected.
I thank you again.
>> thank you, mr. Strong.
>> thank you, judge.
thank you, Commissioners court for your time and your service to our county.
I have given you a packet that highlights a map.
if you look at the map, there's a red and green marking.
red illustrates the existing roadway.
green marking illustrates the proposed realignment.
and one of the significant sections marked there is a section of right-of-way already controled by Travis County.
this was picked up when water ford develop am was approved by Travis County.
that right-of-way was maintained and it was set in motion of course to realign the road along this path.
what you see going along from there is adjacentant property owners who have come forward to offer right-of-way.
I do feel like I have to make a statement here.
I had no idea that developer and the word devil were synonymous.
first off, I would like to say I'm not a developerment I have been characterized as one.
I'm a property owner.
I have five acres with a Travis County road running through the middle.
I bought this property seven years ago.
at the time of the per I contacted the county and asked if there were plans for the road to be moved.
and that is when this was explained to me, that through waterford, the realignment was coming.
I was told at that time it would be probably five years before this issue would be able to be addressed.
seven years had passed.
so I initiated a call to Travis County to see if there were still plans for realignment of this road.
I was told at that point that there were some things going on, and so I had a meeting at tnr and looked at what was existing as far as right-of-way controlled by the county.
at that point, since my property was in the path of realignment that was already predetermined by the county, I offered to denate my right-of-way.
in the meantime, subsequent property owner came along and said he would offer his right-of-way to the county as well.
so at that point the county took this information back and came back to me about a month or so later and stated that through their determination, that they were going to advance the scope, expand the scope of the project, because through their engineering, and this is not me, this is Travis County certified and employed engineers, made the determination that this should be a road safety project from boggy ford to ivan pearson road.
that is how I got involved in this.
when it was sent back to me the county was going to expand the scope of the project, that is where my activism began.
and I feel like the way we have gone about this is the right way.
we have gone to public meetings in the county, gone to open meetings in the county.
also in your packet you will have, before we clued into the e-mail, I think there's a lot of e-mails that have been sent, but these are a lot of hard copy things you may not have.
resolutions from city councils and other various organizations.
they are there.
so I won't spend time naming them.
I hope that you would read them.
they are a significant representation of our community.
unfortunately, most of the people don't have the time to make it downtown, don't yet enjoy the benefits of retirement.
we look forward to them but don't enjoy them.
so we don't have quite as many people here in the stands.
but please read all the correspondence.
I would like to first state that what we try to do, at the urging of gary brown, Commissioner Huber's chief of staff, we made an offer to visit with the opposing group to see if we could find some middle ground on this or see what the true concerns are and address the true concerns.
and that offer was ignored.
there's a copy of that e-mail in your packet as well.
we had a precinct meeting for the precinct three, one of the meetings, two for the precinct, held in logo vista, my understanding it was the second best attended in all the county.
the road was major topic at that meeting.
ms. Huber was able to attend that meeting.
we only had one person speak in descent at this community meeting.
at one point one of the bond committee members asked the crowd openly, if you could choose any section of the road to improve, what section would you choose to improve?
it was than house, the section in front of water fod.
it happens to be the most dangerous section of the road.
it's been stated here, and it's been stated at the committee meetings by tnr, that this project has been on the radar for well over two decades and it's an arterial campo planned artery.
I think the main push, as I understand from tnr, is to get the road off of the cliff.
you have heard the view of the lake described.
I'll be able to show you a little more clearly in a moment exactly what this is.
I understand that there's opposition to this.
but the points of opposition have been primarily aesthetic concerns about the road moving closer to the gate, possibly affecting the subdivision views.
I echo the sentiments of mr. Strong.
I'm not certain staring off the side of the road at the lake is the proper thing to doing at a hundred foot cliff.
the view has been mentioned and also somewhat I grasp to be irrational fear of a condo project going in that I know nothing about.
you know, improving the road is not a bad idea.
one of the things I would like to points out, mentioned in the last meeting that I think is relevant, mentioned in opposition by the president of the municipal utility district, they are only at 23 percent capacity.
at the same time attempting to present there's no growth.
all these lots are developed.
they got caught in an unfortunate down turn in the economic cycle, like many people who put lots on the ground.
that cycle is going to change and that 23 capacity at some point we'll be talking about it being at full 35 ty and needing more.
there is definitely more growth on the way to our community.
I did a brief analysis through open records of where the letters of opposition were coming from by where they were addressed from.
over 70 percent, by my calculation of the opposition, and virtually all of the public descent for this project have come from residents of waterford.
I don't believe that represents a cross-section of our community.
again, I refer to the packet.
I think it would be a clear cross-section of our community.
a number of things have been said that I would like to briefly address.
there have been 13 accidents, addressed by one person, and the city of logo vista is doing a study to put in a stoplight, not a flashing yellow.
this is recent history that can be verified through the police chief or city or assistant city manager.
>> excuse me, 13 accidents in what period of time?.
>> (off microphone)
>> I think it's my turn to speak.
it was an issue that was raised.
it was put out with perception, since there's notivity going on with boggy or loamenford, there would be no concern further down the road.
there is a significant concern.
Commissioner Huber, I will get you the information on the time frame.
there will be a stoplight there, I feel, in short order.
the community is growing rapidly.
we have two stop lights now where a year or so ago we didn't have any.
I would like to say in closing, then have a short video I would like to show since there's been a lot of talk about this area, but nobody can really, you know, trying to visualize what it's like in the area where all the concern seems to be coming from.
in closing, it has been through research over 27 years since capital ip improvements have been done on the north shore, including road improvements.
I do believe that our community is due.
I respectfully submit that to go 27 years is borderline taxation without representation.
we have sent a lot of money in that has been spent elsewhere in the county.
I respectfully you do not let us fall by the wayside, at a minimum, preliminary engineering remain in the bond package.
it does no harm to anyone do this preliminary engineering.
if I may, I would like to show just a brief video that we're set up here on.
>> how brief is it?
>> it's about three minutes.
>> okay, go ahead.
>> and what it shows is the specific area where all of the opposition is coming from.
not focusing on the rest of the road which has lots of concerns as well.
the opposition focus has been on this particular spot.
so I would like for you to be able to see it.
I think this is going to come up on the screen..
this shows where the project would begin realignment in this area.
>> you can see there's no place to maneuver to the right in case of an incidents.
if you follow on the map, this green shows the beginning and the end as well..
this is entering into the waterford subdivision where most of the concern has been expressed.
in particular about the gate and other things.
sorry there's no music.
this shows right now the gate is approximately 461 feet from lomeen forward road.
where the realignment would cross would leave approximately 308 feet between the road and the gate, over 14 car lengths.
this is coming to a stop at the stop sign out of waterford.
this is blind curve that was referred to by mr. Strong.
that is the big concern.
this next section was timing the road for one minute.
cars look like they are going faster because we didn't want to sit here and watch for a minute.
it is time lapsed down to 30 seconds.
nine vehicles pass this intersection in one minute.
it's been portrayed there is no traffic on this road.
>> what time of day was that?
it's posted on there 9:45 in the morning.
not even peak traffic time.
this is seeing the blind curve coming from the other way with the cars stopped at the stop sign.
as you can see, the cars pop out of nowhere to the left..
I echo the sentiment.
thank you very much for your time.
>> thank you.
>> thank you very much.
I wanted to express my gratitude to the court and specifically to the citizens committee for all the hard work they have done in putting together a list of projects that would benefit the county.
I'm hear to speak on properties on the north shore, specifically arkansas ben park.
I started talking to Travis County employee s about in trying to gain support for arkansas bend park improvements.
and we have come indeed a long way towards that improvements.
I know you have heard probably a lot about all the benefits, but I would like the reiterate some of those briefly.
one of the things, by making improvements specifically to the roads, we will save some of the attributes the fact already has, which is the trees right there at the shoreline.
currently there are no paved roads in the park along the shoreline.
so people are basically driving over the root systems of those trees, especially with a drought like this, this being the second in three years, we are going to put those trees at serious risk if nothing is done.
secondly, as a member of the economic development association for lago vista and the north shore, by providing public access to lake trav igs, we are going to go ahead and help to create jobs in the area, specifically hotel motel and other restaurant jobs, other jobs that will favor the current residents and also tourism in the area .
in this time of economic needs, anything that we can do that would be favorable to the residents, like creating a park and also create help in the business community, is going to be a double win za.
one of the other things, we sit a committee for historical preservation and there's a lot of history along the north shore that is in jeopardy of being lost, specifically certain buildings, school houses and such that by providing a park and possibly a historical area, we may be able to move and preserve some of the history on the north shore.
we would love to be able to go ahead and celebrate that history and let people know that we weren't just about golf and recreation, but actually that we were a very thriving community, a business community for many many years long before the creation of lago vista and some of the other subdivisions in the area.
I'm a building in the area and have been for 15 years.
we do build all around the area.
I am not a developer per se, but we are building down at the waterford sub did I vision and at point venture.
I would say on the road issue for lohmanford, I go in and out daily.
I'm in the waterford subdivision for the last several years daily.
there is the turn at waterford that is a difficult intersection.
especially if you are pulling a trailer or if you are working, where that blind turn, if you have a trailer with a bobcat behind you and you have got to have a little bit more time than perhaps just a standard automobile, it's presented some pretty challenging moments.
I would think that if somebody from an engineering perspective were to take a look at that road and make an evaluation, I think that would probably be prudent.
like I said, I have been down there a lot.
and I myself have had some moments where because traffic coming up from point venture appears pretty suddenly, that I haven't had an accident, but it has been challenging.
so I would speak in favor of the engineering study.
I appreciate your time.
>> thank you mr. Casey.
>> hi, my name is helen walker.
my husband and I have been residents in the waterford area for the past five years.
I had a couple purposes.
I don't want to reiterate everything that has been said.
some has been said while I have been sitting here that has raised some questions and concerns.
I wanted to appreciate Commissioner Huber's question about the time frame over those 13 stents--stents--accidents.
I think what you have heard, while we have been residents here we have not seen the accidents.
what I can say because of my five-year residency, it is a retirement communities.
a lot of the people are not full time.
important factor, a number of the rooftops out there now, the growth is slow.
that is the part you need to look at, is what the growth has been.
it's been very slow, yes, there's lots that has been developed and there are things that can come but they have been there for a long time.
I do think, because you have seen how vocal our group is, that if there was a safety issue we have been right here in front of you environmenting that concern.
with that, I just will stop.
you have heard it all.
and before I leave, I would like to give the residents that made the trip this morning an opportunity to stand and show their opposition to this road study and the expansion of lohman ford.
if y'all would stand, please.
thank you so much.
we maybe --
>> we appreciate your time.
>> we appreciate your input, all those in attendance.
those are the ones that signed in to speak on this erg --hearing.
when do we plan to take action on this?
>> we have two more voting sessions.
>> what is your wish?
>> you have two more voting sessions, 2nd and 9thth, and we wish you would make the decision by the 9th and that would give glen time to have the election order competed by the 16th.
earlier the better.
if you did it on the 2nd, it would be even better.
>> we have several controversial items on the August 2 agenda including redistricting.
so in my view, the 9th may be more realistic.
I don't know that there's a lot of controversy, probably four or five key issues.
knowing this court and the efficiency and harmony and smoothness with which it operates, we'll deal with those four or five issues fairly quickly.
so let's plan to do that.
Commissioner Davis and Commissioner Huber.
in the backup you have a letter, I guess from the park springs neighborhood association, who is always, who is in support of the keller lane project along with the other project listed in the letter.
that particular letter was reinduced.
it had gone before the committee the citizens bonds advisory committee but was reintroduced recently and placed in the backup.
so I want to make sure that the staff and the Commissioners court have that particular e-mail.
so basically that is why I wanted to leave it at this point.
it was a part of the minority report, this taylor lane that the person spoke to earlier.
>> Commissioner Huber.
>> yes, judge, just for purposes of clarification of the testimony that was made in the public hearing.
I'd like to point out that this was posted as public hearing on the proposed final list of projects.
while there was considerable organized testimony suggesting that 45 should be considered, it was not on that list.
since it was not on that list, there is significant opposition to this road as well.
the fact that 80 people commented in favor of 45, I believe, is no reflection of those who do not support this road.
so I just want for public record purposes to make it clear that this was not a posted item for 45 and sew that those who may have been in opposition did not necessarily show up to voice their concerns.
>> I thank you all for your input.
we will have it back on the agenda for August 9.
mr. Manila has something critical to say.
>> I do, judge, let us touch base with the folks who have to touch this document and the process.
if we have to come in on the 2nd we'll let you know.
right now the 9th is fine but we want to double-check to be sure we don't miss the opportunity.
>> I want ppo to look at the debt model as we go toward this end, and if we are going to look at annualizing for the years that we will actually allow certain money to go out from these particular bond projects if the voters approve it.
of course, what we can look at the projection of what we have here now to make sure that they look at that, and I will try to follow that debt.
>> I move the public hearing be closed.
>> that passes by unanimous vote.
thank you all again.
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