by Mike Payne
“One hundred sixty-nine years as a city, and the state of Georgetown has never been better.” Always on the go, always ebullient, this was the reflection from Georgetown’s Mayor Dale Ross just after he signed up to run for a second term that will extend into 2020.
“I have had the distinct honor of serving the citizens of Georgetown in what have been three of the most historic years in the history of the city, and I look forward to continuing to guide us toward a safe and prosperous future if the people will have me for a second term.”
In his first campaign, Mr. Ross ran on a platform of “representing all of Georgetown,” and wherever anything is happening, that’s where you’ll find him.
The Mayor offered a consistent vision with which he planned to lead the city of Georgetown. First, he said, “We must maintain the highest level of public safety for our citizens.” Georgetown was recently rated as the second safest city in Texas for its size, and it has implemented an EMS program which is guided by exemplary standards.
Ross’s second campaign promise was that, “We must have a tax rate that makes it affordable for all people to live in Georgetown.” The city of Georgetown currently maintains the lowest tax rate in Central Texas.
Third, he indicated we must diversify our energy portfolio. In 2016, the city was recognized around the world for being the first city of its size to consume 100% renewable energy, on a 25 year fixed rate contract.
Fourth, Ross said, “Mobility will continue to be a critical issue for us.” Georgetown was recently named as the fastest growing city in America with populations of 50,000 to 100,000. After the passage of a $105 million road bond, the largest in the city’s history, Georgetown is undertaking the largest road projects to date: the construction of the Southwest Bypass from IH-35 to Williams Drive; along with an alternate route for IH-35S by widening FM1460 and adding safety lighting on this 3.2 mile route to Round Rock, while making additional road improvements simultaneously.
Finally, Ross emphasized the importance “to manage and guide quality growth to preserve the unique charm that has been Georgetown for a century-and-a-half.”
He credits the success of his first term to the current council, observing that, “It would be hard to find a more informed, experienced, or dedicated group sitting on a dais anywhere in America today. One of the key components to great leadership anywhere is ‘keeping the main thing the main thing.’ That means that our job is not complicated. It is to set vision, implement policy, and manage the budget. With an AA plus bond rating, it is obvious that there is a solid plan and it is being well executed.”
That brings me to the question: Is there a need to change this leadership right now? In addition to the obvious fact that Ross has doggedly stuck to and executed his campaign promises, just look around; Georgetown is a beautiful, vibrant city with incredible parks, great schools, a low tax rate, and a quality of life second to none.
Without a doubt, Georgetown has been led by the right man at the right time for the past three years. I’m just glad that Mayors aren’t like City Managers in that every time there is a great one, another city is working to steal him away—if that were the case, we’d have to keep a close eye on this one! It is clear that Mayor Ross deserves three more years to continue to keep Georgetown the best city in America!