Tuesday, August 02, 2005

County News Links

County Schools Acceptable
Area schools make the grade
Every school in Williamson County received a good report card Monday as the Texas Education Agency released its annual report of school performance.

The agency rated schools as exemplary, recognized, acceptable or unacceptable based on students' performance on the 2004-05 administration of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills - the TAKS tests.
The agency released ratings for more than 1,200 school districts and charter operators and about 7,900 campuses.
Red Light Red Tape
Red tape slows signal installation
"There are specific state and federal requirements for installing signal lights," Barrett said. "TxDOT is prohibited from authorizing the installations unless certain criteria are met."

According to Barrett, those criteria include a threshold for traffic counts at intersections in addition to recorded accidents.

The intersection of Chandler Road and FM 1460 northeast of Round Rock is a case in point, according to Limmer. The intersection was created March 29 when the newly-built Chandler Road extension between FM 1460 and CR 110 was opened. On April 8, an Austin man, Edwin Ihlenfeld, was killed in a collision at the intersection. On April 14 there was another accident in the same intersection, injuring two people who had to be transported to an area hospital.

Following those accidents, county employees moved stop signs at the intersection closer to the roadway and installed a temporary, flashing sign to warn drivers about the intersection.

Barrett said Williamson County is in the process of submitting the paperwork to evaluate whether the Chandler Road and FM 1460 intersection qualifies for signal lights now.
Gimme Shelter
Pound proposal draws fire
Williamson County commissioners backed into a buzz saw Tuesday as they sought to move forward to build a state-of-the-art animal shelter.

After a presentation by Larry Connolly, the project architect, during the commissioner's court meeting, several people reacted with harsh criticism, objecting to Connolly's estimated $3 million price tag and the facility's proposed location on Inner Loop Drive in Georgetown.


The harshest criticism came from Jim Turner, a Georgetown resident who said he owns property on Inner Loop close to the proposed shelter site.

"That property is worth close to $1 per square foot," Turner said. "It doesn't make any sense to put a dog pound in an area with that kind of expensive land and that close to the new (SH 130) toll road."

Turner claimed commissioners have a bad track record in taking care of county facilities.

"You couldn't even clean the windows in the courthouse, and you didn't paint anything in the courthouse, and now it will take several million dollars to restore it," Turner said. "If the shelter is so nice, put it in the middle of downtown, or you could also put it on property you own out at the landfill."

Precinct 4 Commissioner Frankie Limmer said commissioners considered putting the shelter near the landfill but determined that the location wouldn't provide the visibility and traffic conducive to maximizing adoptions.


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