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In the News

Federal bureau seeks nominations for Congressional Badge of Bravery

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Know a law enforcement hero? Tell the world! Law enforcement agency heads are invited to submit nominations for the federal Congressional Badge of Bravery by Feb. 15, 2013. The award, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, honors federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officers for exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty during the 2012 calendar year. Participants must provide their nominations online.

> Learn more, and nominate someone today

New report shows regional investments in solid waste reduction

Friday, January 11, 2013

With funding from the state's Regional Solid Waste Grants Program, CAPCOG distributed more than $860,000 for recycling projects and other waste-management initiatives among local jurisdictions across the capital area.

Learn about efforts by CAPCOG and similar agencies across the state to curb illegal dumping, increase material recovery and ensure proper waste disposal in a newly released fiscal 2011 report from the Texas Association of Regional Councils.

> Download the report from TARC's website

CAPCOG Executive Committee gets Congressional guest

Thursday, January 10, 2013

USRepRogerWilliams1-13The first session of CAPCOG's 2013 Executive Committee included a visit from newly elected U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, who introduced himself and welcomed the group as its Jan. 9 meeting and legislative forum got under way. 

Williams, representing the 25th Congressional district, will serve on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on the Budget, joining fellow members of the North Texas delegation in the 113th Congress.

CAPCOG's Executive Committee convened at the Robert E. Johnson Legislative Conference Center in downtown Austin to elect officers, hear staff updates, review or approve selected agency business and discuss regional service priorities with state legislators. Topics included emergency communications, homeland security, air quality, solid waste management, law enforcement training, rural transportation, aging programs and economic development.

As CAPCOG's governing body, the 28-member Executive Committee - including three nonvoting legislators representing State Planning Region 12 - largely comprises city and county elected officials nominated and selected annually to provide direction to CAPCOG staff regarding program implementation, budgets and contracts, and general policies and procedures for managing the agency. Members meet the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m.

CAPCOG, serving Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties, has helped its member governments and organizations maximize opportunities and eliminate duplication on key regional issues for more than 40 years. Formed in 1970, the agency is one of 24 councils of governments in Texas.

CAPCOG launches Blanco County Transportation and Economic Development Plan

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The Capital Area Council of Governments and partners have launched an initiative that for the first time will result in an integrated economic development strategy and official major thoroughfare plan for a rural county in the region.  

The upcoming Blanco County Transportation and Economic Development Plan, expected to cover the current period to 2035, will identify opportunities and solutions to help residents, businesses, local leadership and other stakeholders travel more efficiently and maximize the county's economic potential.

With the initiative proposed to include an advisory committee, public involvement and other key components, project team members from CAPCOG, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute got efforts under way with a Nov. 27 opening presentation to the Blanco County Commissioners’ Court.

A draft of the plan is expected to be completed by August 2013. 

> Download the November 2012 presentation

CAPCOG workshops for state criminal justice funds rescheduled

Friday, January 04, 2013

CAPCOG's Homeland Security division has rescheduled its two January 2013 workshops for potential grant applicants interested in new state funding opportunities regarding criminal justice, juvenile justice and victim services.

The Jan. 7 workshop on the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) and the Juvenile Service Projects funding has been rescheduled to Jan. 18. The Jan. 14 session on the General Victim Assistance - Direct Services Programs grant and the Violent Crimes Against Women Criminal Justice and Training Projects funding has moved to Jan. 23. Both rescheduled workshops will run from 9 a.m. to noon at CAPCOG's Austin offices.

After potential grantees attend the mandatory workshop for the grant in which they're interested and submit their applications to the Governor's Criminal Justice Division, the state agency will forward applications to CAPCOG for review, prioritization and recommendations.

> Learn more

CAPCOG Executive Committee to elect officers, meet with legislators

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Capital Area Council of Governments' 2013 Executive Committee will hold its first meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Robert E. Johnson Legislative Conference Center in downtown Austin to elect officers, hear staff updates, review or approve selected agency business and discuss regional service priorities with state legislators.

As CAPCOG's governing body, the 28-member Executive Committee - including three nonvoting legislators representing State Planning Region 12 - largely comprises city and county elected officials nominated and selected annually to provide direction to CAPCOG staff regarding program implementation, budgets and contracts, and general policies and procedures for managing the agency. Members meet the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m.

Immediately following the January meeting, the Executive Committee will host a Capital Area Legislative Delegation Luncheon to discuss legislative priorities for regional services related to emergency communications, homeland security, air quality, solid waste management, law enforcement training, rural transportation, aging programs and economic development.

CAPCOG, serving Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties, helps its member governments and organizations maximize opportunities and eliminate duplication on key regional issues. 

> See the 2013 Executive Committee roster
> Download the meeting agenda
> Learn more about CAPCOG

Central Texas sees decline in college-educated residents

Friday, December 28, 2012

In recent years, the tremendous reservoir of human capital within Central Texas has proved crucial to sustaining the region’s enviable economic performance. Central Texas bests virtually every other U.S. region in annual net influx of college-educated residents per capita, but emerging trends suggest a decline in the area's education-attainment rates. Explore this shift and more in CAPCOG's newly released State of the Region 2012 report. > Go

CAPCOG helps area charities in spirit of holiday season cheer

Saturday, December 22, 2012


With employee fundraising, CAPCOG was able to donate a total of more than $600 to two area charitable organizations this holiday season.

CAPCOG contributed to Operation Blue Santa, a longtime Austin Police Department outreach effort to bring food and gifts to families in need around Christmastime and Mobile Loaves & Fishes, which helps people who are experiencing chronic homelessness. 

Staff raised the money by buying "dress-down days," which allowed them to wear jeans and denim at work during selected days in December. Participants could also purchase dress-down days for their colleagues.

CAPCOG delivered a donation check to both charities the week before Christmas. Happy holidays!

CAPCOG’s 2012 annual report now available

Saturday, December 15, 2012

CAPCOG2012Annual ReportThumbnail

Did you know? The Capital Area Council of Governments has added more than 64,000 cellphones and 146,000 Voice over Internet Protocol phones to the regional emergency notification system, which has been used to warn residents of threats posed by wildfires, floods, chemical releases and criminal activity. Learn about the ENS and more in CAPCOG's newly published 2012 annual report.

> Download the annual report

CAPCOG honors Mike Fisher for regional leadership

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Mike Fisher, Bastrop County's emergency management coordinator, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Capital Area Council of Governments' Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award.

The ninth annual award, announced at the CAPCOG General Assembly's annual meeting on Dec. 12, honors significant efforts in regional cooperation within the 10-county capital area. Fisher was recognized for long-standing dedication to wildfire prevention and for tireless support and commitment to emergency response with a regional approach.

The honoree’s distinguished career includes experience in various crucial capacities with the City of Bastrop and Bastrop County, including a decade of service as the city’s fire chief. In addition, Fisher is a founding member of the Capital Area Wildfire and Incident Management Academy at Camp Swift in Bastrop County. This year marks the 15th continuous offering of the academy, held each October.   

In September 2011, Fisher served as the local incident commander along with state and federal counterparts to manage the Bastrop County Complex Wildfire.

Fisher is currently assigned as deputy team leader of the Capital Area Type 3 Incident Command Team; serves on the state’s Emergency Management Preparedness Grant Advisory Committee; and since 2006 has actively served on CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Task Force, which provides regional coordination and response for major events such as the Bastrop County fires.

Among his many honors and awards, Fisher also was named Citizen of the Year by the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce in 2011.

The CAPCOG award is named after former Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenbeck, who served as the agency’s first chair in 1970. Griesenbeck, who  understood the need for collaboration across city and county lines, played a key role in creating the 24-member Texas Association of Regional Councils.

> Explore CAPCOG's Homeland Security division

GIS: new regional base map ready to download

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A new version of the 10-county general base map, updated by CAPCOG’s team of geospatial information experts, is now available online. The map includes administrative boundaries such as county boundaries, city limits and adjacent councils of governments; major roads; water features; state parks; and census-designated places.

In addition to large- and small-format printing sizes, the map is available in the individual layer files used to create the base map or as an Esri map package file. For questions, send an email to GIS analyst John Arkinson.

> See the new base map
> Get details on free map-downloading or CAPCOG's nominal-cost map-printing

CAPCOG regional forum tackles growth, housing trends

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

With the Central Texas five-county metropolitan area population expected to double by 2035 – adding about 1.7 million new residents – where will people live, what will housing look like and how can governments prepare for such robust change? Join the discussion at a free regional forum presented by the Capital Area Council of Governments’ Sustainable Places Project (SPP), 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Thompson Conference Center, University of Texas at Austin, 2405 East Campus Drive, Austin.

> Get census and demographic data from CAPCOG

The presentation, “Central Texas Market Trends, Preferences and Opportunities,” marks the third in a series of SPP regional forums and will explore the future of housing and real estate market trends for the area based on projected population and demographic changes in the next 20 years. The event will feature two renown experts in land use, transportation, housing and community planning:

•  Dr. Arthur Nelson, presidential professor of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah and director of the Metropolitan Research Center, is a scholar, consultant and prolific author of nearly 20 books and more than 300 other works. His work, which has helped shape the field of urban and regional planning, currently focuses on how demographics, economics and housing preference choices will reshape America's metropolitan areas over the next generation.

•  Scott Polikov, a town planner and finance consultant, is president of Fort Worth-based Gateway Planning Group. Polikov has directed multiple planning efforts in Central Texas, integrating  transportation economics in community planning. He will share his ideas on design and implementation of walkable urban neighborhoods in rural communities, suburban areas and downtowns.

> Discover the Sustainable Places Project

John Hockenyos, local economist and founder of TXP Economics, has been invited to moderate the discussion and tie the speakers’ concepts to the challenges facing cities in the region.

The Sustainable Places Project is hosted by the Capital Area Council of Governments and a regional consortium of local governments and organizations that have been collaborating since November 2011 to implement a $3.7 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Key components of the project include working directly with selected demonstration sites in Elgin, Dripping Springs, Lockhart, Hutto and Austin and developing an analytic tool to help local governments maximize public-sector return on investment.

Registration is required. RSVP to Ange Kogutz at, and learn more about the free event. > Go

TCEQ extends emissions-reduction grant deadline to Dec. 19, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The deadline to apply for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Emissions Reduction Incentive Grants program has been extended to Dec. 19, 2012. The grant targets projects intended to reduce nitrogren-oxide emissions in eligible counties, helping improve air quality by upgrading or replacing older trucks and machines such as heavy-duty vehicles, nonroad equipment, locomotives, marines vessels and other eligible items. Vehicles or equipment primarily used for competition or recreation are ineligible. > Learn more, and apply today

Ozone nonattainment: What’s at stake for the region?

Monday, November 26, 2012

With another ozone season over, greater Austin has notched a fourth consecutive year of keeping in step with federal ozone standards. The region has even become the state’s largest metropolitan area for which pollution levels measured by local monitors are indicating compliance with all federal air quality standards.

The challenge? Staying compliant in the face of potentially tighter ozone standards that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering for 2014. Without a substantial reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions by 2015, the region could find itself afoul of revised federal standards, significantly impacting regional economic development and transportation planning.

> Get to know the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition

EPA must review selected federal air quality standards every five years for potential science-based changes that could further protect human health, says CAPCOG Air Quality Manager Bill Gill. With new proposed ozone standards expected next year and finalized in 2014, preliminary communications from EPA’s Science Advisory Committee indicate some members believe the research supports significantly tightening the standards.

If an area is designated “nonattainment,” or in violation of federal ozone standards, the state must then adopt a plan to bring the area into attainment, including a series of mandatory emission-control measures. After reviewing the plan, EPA may approve it or reject and replace it.

A nonattainment designation would mean that local jurisdictions that have led the effort to comply with federal ozone standards over the last 12 years would no longer be the primary decision-makers selecting air quality strategies. Instead, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and EPA would assume that role.

> Learn about CAPCOG's federal grant to curb diesel pollution

The consequences of being designated a nonattainment area are significant. New or expanding industrial facilities would face significant hurdles to growth, including requirements for emission offsets and highly stringent emission standards. Many emissions sources, including some small businesses, would also likely be required to retrofit their equipment to reduce pollution, significantly raising the costs of operating businesses within the region. For 25 years, the region also would be subject to “conformity,” a process requiring that local and regional transportation plans be limited to projects that keep emissions within allowable limits. To gain EPA and Federal Highway Administration approval, new transportation projects may need to restrict the projected amount of vehicle activity.

Local governments have a crucial chance to implement their own ozone-reduction strategies. Doing so will not only help jurisdictions maintain more local control but also help protect the health of Central Texans, especially more vulnerable populations such as children, seniors and people with chronic respiratory problems. With research and other tools, CAPCOG aims to continue assisting local governments in this important initiative.

> Explore CAPCOG's Air Quality Program

CAPCOG observes Thanksgiving holiday, will reopen Monday, Nov. 26

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! CAPCOG offices are closed in observance of the holiday and will reopen at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26, 2012.

> Learn more about CAPCOG

CAPCOG hires regional environmental coordinator

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


CAPCOG has hired recent Texas State University alumnus Layne Duesterhaus as its new regional environmental coordinator. Duesterhaus, a Lubbock-area native who previously worked in the City of San Marcos Community Services Department, will support the region’s illegal dumping enforcement program, coordinate environmental law trainings, manage the area landfill and recycling inventory and assist on other regional solid waste issues.

In May 2012, the unicycle football enthusiast earned a bachelor’s degree in resource and environmental science, with a minor in business administration and certificates in geographic information systems and water resource management.

Duesterhaus, who joins CAPCOG’s solid waste program, also will be responsible for working closely with the Capital Area Regional Environmental Task Force.

> Learn more about solid waste planning at CAPCOG
> Read Layne's "Bobcat" profile at Texas State University's website 

Travis County housing boards seek new members

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Travis County Commissioners Court is seeking to fill two seats each on the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of Travis County and the Board of Directors of the Strategic Housing Finance Corp., with applications from interested parties due by 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, 2012.

Both boards offer opportunities to share in the discussion on Austin area affordable housing. The Housing Authority operates and maintains 105 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development public housing units for low-income families and manages a housing voucher program. The Strategic Housing Finance Corp. issues bonds and uses Low Income Housing Tax Credits to buy housing and build new developments.

The vacancies will become available Jan. 1, 2013, with the new appointees to the five-member Housing Authority expected to serve two-year terms. The two new appointees to the seven-member Strategic Housing Finance board will serve a staggered term ending Dec. 31, 2015, or Dec. 31, 2016, respectively.  

> Get more details, and download the application packets

For Austin area, 10-digit dialing debuts Dec. 1

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

As area population and the need for additional phone numbers increase, Central Texas is getting 10-digit dialing and an additional area code on Dec. 1, 2012.

The move echoes other communities across the country whose days of seven-digit dialing are a thing of the past. 

Key components of the upcoming change, also called an "overlay":

  • New area code "737" will be added to the area currently served by "512." 
  • Starting Dec. 1, all local calls within the region will require the applicable area code and seven-digit telephone number for completion.
  • Eventually all new telephone numbers within the 512 area will be assigned the 737 area code.
  • Customers can keep the 512 phone numbers they already have.
  • The three-digit 9-1-1 local emergency number will remain the same.

During an initial grace period, calls mistakenly dialed without the area code will still go through until June 1, 2013, when all 10 digits must be used.

Customers can contact their local phone-service provider for more information, or visit the "Texas Area Codes" section of the state Public Utility Commission website. > Go 

> Read a KUT news story on the region's new area code

PBS: Pick your favorite square mile

Friday, November 09, 2012

Capital Area folks, what's your favorite square mile in Texas? Producers of the PBS documentary television series One Square Mile: Texas are seeking your nominations by 11:59 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

The series, expected to air in summer 2013, follows the previous Emmy-winning production One Square Mile: America and will offer a first-person look at cultures, life and landscapes from one-square-mile perspectives across Texas. Producers, wanting to showcase the diversity of life in Texas, welcome suggestions from every area of the state's more than 268,000 square miles.

Whether your favorite square mile comprises a big-city neighborhood, a slice of a small town, a park or another Texas spot, be counted by submitting your pick online.

> Learn about One Square Mile: Texas, and nominate your favorite spot
> Watch the trailer for the original One Square Mile: America series

2012-2013 solid waste grants awarded

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved CAPCOG’s recommendation to award more than $350,000 in grant funding for fiscal 2012-2013 solid waste projects, listed in the table below. 

The 10 projects, from community cleanups to a household hazardous waste facility, support the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan.

CAPCOG will next solicit applications for TCEQ’s Regional Solid Waste Grant Program in fall 2013, dependent upon future funding. The program’s funding was reduced 50 percent during the last legislative session.

> Learn more about CAPCOG's Solid Waste Planning

Grant recipient Project Amount
CAPCOG Regional Environmental Task Force $111,000
City of Bastrop chipper $32,500
Burnet County Household hazardous waste (HHW) and tire collection event $12,975
Caldwell County Four community cleanup events $18,349
City of Johnson City recycling center forklift $18,697
City of Smithville recycling center enhancements $5,000
City of Lakeway HHW facility and equipment $87,358
Bastrop County HHW event and education $33,420
City of Granite Shoals Cleanup event $13,450
City of Lockhart recycling center forklift $18,000










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