Tag Archives: Williamson County Texas

WILLIAMSON COUNTY EXTENDS DISASTER DECLARATION

WilcoJune 2, 2015 (Williamson County, TX) – The Williamson County Commissioners Court approved extending the county disaster declaration. The declaration begins with the storm on May 8, 2015, that led to flooding in Coupland and extends into the future until the Commissioner Court lifts it.  No dollar estimate is available for damage to private property; however, the total estimated damage to public facilities including Road and Bridge, water controls such as dams, public utilities and recreation facilities, airports, etc. comes to $6,730,774 to date.

In the Memorial Day weekend storms, the county had one fatality, two persons with injuries, and one hospitalization. The storm on Saturday night, May 23, produced two F1 tornadoes that touched down causing damage in Liberty Hill and the Gabriels Overlook neighborhood on the west side of Georgetown according to the National Weather Service.

Throughout the county, there were 159 single family homes affected including three that are considered destroyed and 51 had major damage. There were 41 multi-family units affected, 35 destroyed and three with major damage. There were 14 businesses affected, three with major damage. Due to the low percentage of residences that were covered by insurance, many residents will need assistance for repairs and recovery. Ways to help flood victims can be found at www.wilco.org/oem or www.austintexas.gov/howtohelp

Currently, no homes are isolated due to flooding, although several county roads are still closed due to high water. Roads closures are listed at www.atxfloods.com and on the Williamson County Emergency Services Facebook page.

Water from storms on Memorial Day more than flooded roads, it washed them away! Williamson County Road and Bridge Division closed over 85 county roads due to high water.  When the water subsided, it was found that many of the roads had sustained structural damage.  The damage to seven of those roads was so severe that the road was considered impassable to traffic and closed until repairs could be made. Temporary repairs were made within 24 hours to almost all of the roads with only one county road, C.R. 384, remaining closed due to storm damage. The total estimate of storm damage for Road and Bridge comes to $1,872,590 to date.

Details of response to the weather on Memorial Day:

  • 40 requests for water rescues or evacuations
  • 4 shelters were opened:
  • Hutto Middle School, 1005 Exchange Blvd., Hutto
  • Clay Madsen Center, 1600 Gattis School Rd., Round Rock
  • Leander High School, 3301 S. Bagdad, Leander
  • Oasis Church, 1616 Granger Road, Taylor
  • The Regional Notification System was used to notify residents all along the Brushy Creek watershed east of FM 685 to evacuate due to rising water.
  • The Upper Brushy Creek WCID reports that the auxiliary spillways were engaged at Dam 17, 18, 19, and 21. This means the lake levels are being released through the auxiliary spillways causing additional flows to reach the creeks. In addition, it was discovered on May 29 that Dam 22 suffered damage which caused the earth on the downstream side to slough off or slide down. The Williamson County Road and Bridge Division assisted in constructing a berm on the downstream side to stabilize the dam from additional sliding. The BCWCID also pumped water from the lake in order to draw down the lake level.



  • Letter From Concerned Citizens to Wilco Sheriff’s Office & Commissioner Morrison: “Unacceptable”

    Shared at the request of Kent Hubbard and Cheryl Aker:

    September 17, 2014

    Jim Wilson, Williamson County, Sheriff
    L.C. (Tony) Marshall, Chief Deputy
    Mike Gleason, Patrol Division Captain
    Commissioner Ron Morrison

    Sirs,

    Unacceptable.

    That’s a word we want to use with specific resolve in order to describe the event(s) that fate engaged us to participate in this morning at 6:45am – Unacceptable.

    As the Sheriff’s vehicle accident report from this morning will certainly attest, there was an accident early this morning on Highway 95, in Coupland. We know that accidents are a matter-of-fact to you all, but this one entwined us.  As we turned on our way to work in Austin, we just happened to be first-hand witnesses to a car accident right at the bridge on Highway 95.  In the southbound lane, a small BMW hit a large passenger truck, careened into the concrete guards over the bridge and then attempted to continue in the southbound lane with one tire missing.

    As prepared and willing citizens, we and several others stopped immediately to render aid where we could.  As we called 9-1-1, we got out to try to direct traffic around the accident while not getting run over.  We were told multiple times that “help was on the way.” Well, no, actually it wasn’t.  Thankfully, EMS from Taylor, a Taylor Volunteer Fire Dept truck and a Coupland Volunteer Fire Dept truck arrived to help – but no sign of Williamson County Sheriff’s Dept.

    As others tried to help the driver, we quite literally stood in the middle of Highway 95 stopping and directing highway-level traffic with little more with us than an orange vest from Sportsman’s Warehouse and a small flashlight.  At one point, a reckless, thoughtless driver made an unconscionable decision to maneuver through the crowded road and very narrowly missed running over another bystander trying to help. We called 9-1-1 yet again, because at this point, tempers were flaring, people were upset and at risk.

    And as we worked the accident scene, we discovered a laundry basket full of alcohol which led the driver to flee the scene and was picked up by an accomplice in a grey truck and escaped.  So, now what was at the time, an accident, was now a hit and run crime scene, a felony – but no sign of Williamson County Sheriff’s Dept.

    We called 9-1-1 a minimum of three times asking for assistance.  As a 9-1-1 recording would surely prove, we described the criminal to 9-1-1 operators and requested that law enforcement get there ASAP, yet no one came.  Taylor PD arrived, but informed us that

    it was Williamson County’s jurisdiction or Texas DPS.  Almost an hour after our initial call, one single bike patrol deputy arrived to work the scene.  One.  One single deputy to work a crime scene?  Don’t tell me you didn’t have information – we gave it to you in full color, real-time, with our own boots-on-the-highway detail.

    Sheriff Wilson, what exactly has to happen for everyday citizens in distress to get assistance from our law enforcement?  How can we call for a “Broken Arrow”?  How many times can we call 9-1-1 just to have them tell us that help is on the way?  In fact, help was not on the way, so we had to fend for ourselves.  An hour, Sheriff, an hour – that’s how long it took for help from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Dept to arrive.

    We realize that over in Precinct 4, we don’t get the share of resources allocated our way that the rest of the county gets – we understand that.  But we pay our taxes every bit as must as citizens around Round Rock, Leander and Cedar Park do.  This wasn’t just another car accident, as we told our emergency operators, multiple times.  We didn’t call 9-1-1 to get our cat out of our damned tree.  We needed help.  We called.  We yelled.  We yelled at 9-1-1.  We screamed at other drivers who swerved around us as we stood in the road trying to help – but still, no sign of Williamson County Sheriff’s Dept.

    Please know that we work in the public sector; we understand.  We have the utmost respect for law enforcement and fully recognize you can’t be everywhere at once and you don’t have a magic resource transporter.  But this accident was 8.4 miles from the county’s “fully staffed” East substation in Taylor that, per your website, claims: “While patrolling their districts, uniformed deputies answer calls for service, assist motorists, and protect citizens through community policing.”  Not only were they not patrolling this district, they were not answering multiple calls for service, not assisting motorists at a time of need, and not protecting citizens – it took almost an hour to get a single uniformed deputy on the scene.

    The irony that September is National Preparedness Month isn’t lost on us with this morning’s events that unfolded before us.  We don’t want credits or kudos for our participation.  We are, and will continue to be, prepared for anything, at home and away.  And thankfully, we and other everyday citizens were prepared – and willing – to help this morning.

    We don’t know that we can say the same is true for our county’s law enforcement.

    Concerned citizens,
    Kent Hubbard and Cheryl Aker




  • Saving the Old Iron Brushy Creek Bridge on CR 456

    BridgeClosed2 Submitted by Karen Marosko:

    The truly historical iron bridge crossing Brushy Creek on CR 456 has been closed due to safety concerns.  The state and Williamson County are studying whether to repair and put it back in service or tear it down and replace it with a new bridge.  With the long wonderful history of this good old bridge in this Coupland area, it would be a shame to not have it put back in service.  The bridge was completely renovated in 2006 with additional repairs in 2008 and in 2013 a completely new bridge flooring was installed.  So, there has been recent substantial investment in preserving and maintaining the bridge.  We need to keep this bridge in service and not unnecessarily spend massive extra tax dollars building a new bridge.

    The bridge, originally built in 1912 by the now famous Brown and Root Company, goes back many generations of friends and neighbors who have spent time standing on that bridge, as a youngster or elder, looking at Brushy Creek. Once this type of truss bridge was very common but now, according to the Texas Department of Transportation’s culture resources department, as of 2008 there were only 21 such bridges remaining in all of Texas.  With very few people living on CR 456 and so very little daily traffic on the road as welI, it is hoped that by writing a letter to the Williamson County Commissioner’s Court and the Williamson County Historical Commission asking for their support, and enclosing a petition showing broad positive community interest, we can obtain their help once again to save our rare local beauty.  They both were of great help in preserving the bridge back in 2006 when it was renovated and hopefully they can do so again now. The bridge “begs” to be kept in daily service.

    To try to make this happen, we are asking for your help. Please send an email with your thought(s) such as: “Please repair the historical iron bridge over Brushy Creek on CR 456 and return it to service.”  Any other comments you desire to include would be most welcome.  Send your email to: {This email is obscured. Your must have javascript enabled to see it}.  We will assemble all the petition comments and include them with the appeal letter.

    Together we can help maintain history here in the Coupland area.

     




  • Poohsticks Bridge Closed

     

    Poohsticks

    CR 456 BRIDGE OVER BRUSHY CREEK CLOSED

    [Publisher’s Note: The bridge made semi-famous in a scene in the movie “Second-Hand Lions,” and which happens to be an excellent location for a game of Poohsticks, is closed. I am calling for prayers that it can be repaired rather than replaced. If you ever use the bridge, you probably don’t need the map below to know the detour.]

    August 6, 2014 (Williamson County, TX) – The CR 456 bridge over Brushy Creek near Coupland has been closed until further notice due to structural concerns. The County is working with the Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to determine the appropriate path forward regarding the repair or possible replacement the structure.

    CR 456 Bridge Closure Detour




  • Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Warns of Jury Scam

    scam-warning1

    From the Office of Williamson County Commissioner Ron Morrison, Precinct 4 on July 15, 2014:

    The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a number of recent incidents in the county where citizens have received calls from one or more individuals posing as an officer with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and telling them that a warrant is being issued on them for failure to appear for jury duty.

    In several of the reported incidents, an individual claiming to be an officer, or individual representing the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, tells the called party that they can take care of the warrant by having them give payment over the phone in the form of a “Green Dot” or prepaid cards.

    Investigative analysis indicates this same Jury Scam has been occurring throughout the US over the past several months. The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office does not solicit payments or confirm any payments over the phone for any warrants, fines or citations. Do not give any payment information over the phone to anyone claiming they are a law enforcement or warrant officer from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.

    This is a continuing open investigation. Questions or complaints can be referred to Detective Dubielak, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office – Criminal Investigation Division (24-7) at 512-943-5242.




  • Williamson County Goes After the Little Guys

    Williamson County is going to a lot of trouble to publicize its crackdown on hot check writers. You may have seen the press releases. They even went modern and posted YouTube videos. Click here to see them.

    When ordinary people write checks in excess of their deposits, and don’t make good on them, it’s a crime and they should be punished. They are stealing from people and businesses who relied upon their promise to pay.

    Besides, the government doesn’t like competition.

    monopoly_bankerWhen the major banks do it, in collusion with the privately-owned banking cartel euphemistically called “The Federal Reserve,” the government says nothing. That’s because this is how government lives beyond its means. The result to you and me is inflation, which is, in effect, a hidden tax. So whenever you hear government say they are going to increase spending but that it won’t result in increased taxes, they are lying.

    Wait. That’s too harsh. Let’s just say they are being less than honest. That sounds nicer, doesn’t it?

    Government counts on your ignorance of how the modern, debt-based financial system works. Get educated folks. Except in certain situations, prices don’t go up because things are worth more. They go up because the currency is worth less and sooner or later it becomes worthless. Noticed any inflation lately?

    To be fair to Williamson County, they are suing banks that used the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) but only because that is how mortgage lenders have avoided paying fees for recording property transfers with the counties. Oh, and lots of homeowners were subjected to improper foreclosures but if they really cared about that, it wouldn’t be a lawsuit but a Grand Jury indictment.

    Related story: Funding Essential Government Services With Bonds

    Stay tuned. Class will resume in future stories.

     




  • Homestead Exemption and Tax Deferral Filings are Free

    WilcoFebruary 6, 2014 (Williamson County, TX) – In Texas, property owners can receive a discount on their property taxes on their primary residence as of January 1 of each year through a homestead exemption.  Anyone who is unsure whether they already have a homestead exemption on file can look up their status by name, address or account number on the Williamson Central Appraisal District (WCAD) website at www.wcad.org .  Applications for a homestead exemption may be filed at the Appraisal District or online, for eligible property owners, at www.wcad.org. If you have questions or need help, please contact WCAD staff at publicservices@wcad.org or at 512-930-3787.

    homestead

    In addition, seniors age 65 and older and disabled persons can benefit from a tax freeze ceiling from the school district and any other taxing jurisdiction that utilizes the local option freeze.  Under the tax freeze, tax bills for property owners are frozen the year the owner turns age 65 or is disabled and becomes eligible for the exemption.

    Some taxpayers may want to take advantage of a tax deferral.  This assures that the taxpayer will not have a foreclosure suit filed against them for nonpayment of property taxes.  The interest for a deferral is 8% per year and is compounded.  The taxes are settled at the time of death, sale or when it no longer is the taxpayer’s principal place of residence.

    Filing for a homestead exemption, senior citizen/disabled person tax freeze or deferral is free of charge and forms are available from the Williamson Central Appraisal District, www.wcad.org or the Williamson County Tax Assessor/Collector’s Office.

    Landlords-Tax-Planning-Strategy

    “Companies will try to sell their services to file these forms for individuals, but that is not necessary,” stated Deborah Hunt, Williamson County Tax Assessor/Collector.  “These forms are simple to fill out and may be filed free of charge.”

    Forms for these free services and most questions about property taxes can be answered on the Williamson County Tax Assessor/Collector’s web site at www.wilco.org/tax or the Williamson Central Appraisal District’s web site at www.wcad.org.   For questions about property taxes, call 512-943-1603.