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City Engineer/Public Works Director

 

Community:

 

Live Like You’re on Vacation!” is the promotional slogan for the City of Lago Vista. Located in Travis County on the beautiful north shore of Lake Travis twenty miles northwest of Austin, Lago Vista is a growing community currently transitioning from a small rural community to a dynamic suburban city. Development began in the area that would become Lago Vista in the late 1960’s with the formation of a resort and retirement community. In the 1970’s, two 18-hole golf courses, Lago Vista and Highland Lakes, were developed adding to the resort like atmosphere of the area. In 1984, the City of Lago Vista was formed. The City has grown to a current population approaching 7,000. 25% of the original 11,000 platted lots have been developed. The estimated population of the City at build out is 45,000.

 

The original developers of the area eventually transferred ownership of campgrounds and other recreation areas to the Lago Vista Property Owners Association, which today is an independent entity separate from the City. The LVPOA later acquired the marina.  The LVPOA continues to manage these common areas and facilities. In addition, residents and visitors to the area have a variety of recreational venues available including access to Lake Travis, the two golf courses, and the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (BCNWR). BCNWR was established to protect two endangered song birds - the Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo, but it provides protected habitat for a number of other animals and plants inhabiting the area.

 

In the early 1990’s the City acquired an Airport from a private entity and currently manages it as the Lago Vista-Rusty Allen Airport. In 2015 the City received a 90-10 grant from TXDOT Aviation to reseal and repaint all the taxiways and runway and reconstruct portions of a dilapidated taxiway. This totaled almost $750,000 in physical improvements at the Airport.

 

Recently, the Travis County Commissioners Court approved a $7.7 million contract to make improvements to Arkansas Bend Park on the shores of Lake Travis. This County-operated park will be developed with campgrounds, hiking and biking trails, an activity center with playgrounds, picnic areas and improved boat ramps. The southern peninsula will be left as a natural area with hike and bike trails.

 

Lago Vista is currently experiencing increased growth as evidenced by several large residential developments underway and an increase in the number of building permits issued since the start of the current fiscal year. In addition, the City has contracted with Buxton to promote and encourage new retail businesses.

 

Residents of Lago Vista are served by the outstanding Lago Vista Independent School District (LVISD). The District constructed a new high school in 2014. The District is in UIL Classification 3A-Division I and is ranked #5 in the Austin area for academic achievement. The City and LVISD have several joint use agreements. The Lago Vista Public Library promotes literacy and information through its public computers, children's programs, and adult lifelong learning opportunities.

 

Lago Vista is home to several cultural groups, festivals, and activities including the Lago Vista Players, the Lake Travis Music Theatre, the Hill Country Singers and a series of Twilight Concerts. These groups and activities make Lago Vista the cultural center of northern Travis County.

 

Governance:

 

Lago Vista was incorporated in 1984 with a council-manager system of local government. The City adopted a home rule charter in 2004 which was last amended in November 2015. The City is governed by a City Council composed of the Mayor and six Council Members. The seven members serve two year terms. The Mayor and Councilmembers Place One, Place Three and Place Five are elected in odd years. Councilmembers Place Two, Place Four and Place Six are elected in even years. The current City Council is composed of:

 

Ed Tidwell has served as Mayor since November 2017. He has been on the Council since 2015. He previously served on the Council from 2012-2014.

David Williams Place 1 has been on the Council since November 2017.

Kevin Sullivan Place 2 has been on the Council since June 2016.

Arch Davila Place 3 has been on the Council since November 2017.  

Ron Smith Place 4 has been on the Council since 2010.

Dick Weatherly Place 5 has been on the Council since November 2017.

Suzanne Bland Mayor Pro Tem and Place 6 has been on the Council since August of 2016.

 

The Council enacts local legislation, adopts budgets, determines City policies and appoints a City Manager. The City Manager is responsible to the Council for the management and administration of the City government, potentially along with the Mayor in accordance with the City Charter. The City Manager, subject to approval by the Council, appoints the City Secretary, Municipal Court Judge and City Attorney. All other Department heads are appointed by the City Manager. Josh Ray was hired as City Manager in November 2017. 

 

The Position:

 

Under the direction of the City Manager, the City Engineer is responsible to plan, direct, manage and oversee the activities, projects and operations of the Public Works Department which includes the Street Department, Parks and Recreation Department, Water and Sewer Services, Water Plants and Wastewater Plants. The City Engineer oversees a department with a 2016-2017 Operating Budget of $5,024,485 and 41 FTE’s.   The City Engineer manages the solid waste collection contract. He/She prepares reports related to Public Works activities and performs other related duties as required.

 

The City has operated three water treatment plants on Lake Travis and one wastewater treatment plant. Effluent from the waste water treatment plant is used for irrigation on the two golf courses. Regulations governing Lake Travis prohibit the disposal of wastewater treatment plant effluent directly into the lake.

  • WTP1:  Built 1984, rehabbed 2016-17.  Capacity 2.0 MGD.
  • WTP2:  Built Circa 1968, abandoned 2017.
  • WTP3:  Built 2015-17.  Capacity 2.0 MGD
  • WWTP:  Built 2002, put in operation after dealing with design defects 2005.  1.0 MGD build out capacity.

 

The hilly terrain creates unique challenges for the water and wastewater systems. The water system has 11 pressure planes and the sewer system includes 21 lift stations. There are approximately 20 miles of 6” & 8”AC water pipe needing replacement in the next 10 years. The City also operates an airport with one 3808’ runway.

 

The City recently sold $8.1 million in Certificates of Obligation to fund several major projects including an additional clarifier for the waste water treatment plant, an elevated storage tank, new water lines, and airport expansion, as well as a number of other projects. The City bond rating for this sale was “AA”.

 

Mission of the City of Lago Vista

Provide and maintain a healthy, safe, vibrant

community, ensuring the quality of life.

 

Personal Qualities:

 

The City of Lago Vista is seeking an experienced public works professional, with knowledge of and experience in the management of public works operations to be the next City Engineer. Experience with the management of surface water treatment plant operations and wastewater treatment plant operations is preferred. Following is a summary of the knowledge, talents and experience preferred for the position:

  • A strong working knowledge of the types of operational and administrative services provided by the City of Lago Vista Public Works Department.
  • A proven track record of providing high quality services and facilities in a growing urban environment.
  • Outstanding personal management, leadership skills, professional demeanor and appearance, including the ability to relate to a broad range of people both inside the organization and in the community.
  • An approachable, friendly, open and collaborative management style that encourages communication with and on behalf of employees, cooperation and productivity within the Department while maintaining appropriate levels of accountability and discipline; the ideal candidate must set high personal standards and require high performance standards for the Department.
  • Demonstrated commitment to staff development and involvement with intentional focus on developing future leadership for the Public Works Department. This includes the ability to select, organize and motivate a top-notch staff.
  • An ability to maintain effective working relationships with departmental staff, fellow department directors and other City employees.  The City Engineer will be a member of the city management team and will be expected to encourage teamwork within the Public Works Department and between the Public Works Department and other City departments and represent the department with city management, elected officials and the public.
  • An ability to anticipate problems, identify alternative courses of action, prepare pro-active recommendations; present, defend and support those recommendations before the City Manager, City Council, advisory groups, regional and state agencies and/or citizens.
  • Active commitment and involvement in professional networking and training.
  • A visionary leader with a track record of innovation, resourcefulness, and influential leadership within the organization, community and interfacing entities.

 

The new City Engineer must have a strong commitment to public service and be willing to make a commitment to the city.

 

Initial Priorities:

 

In discussion with the Consultant, key staff members have identified the following as priorities for the new City Engineer:

 

Become Familiar with the Public Works Department Personnel and Operations - The City Manager will expect the new City Engineer to become familiar with the operations of the Public Works Department and look for opportunities to improve organizational communications and coordination. The City is committed to providing a high level of service to its citizens and to insuring that the City of Lago Vista provides a good working environment for its employees.

 

Manage Capital Improvement Program – The City has planning underway for the projects authorized in the recent sale of Certificates of Obligation. The City Manager will look to the City Engineer to become familiar with this program and take the lead in managing successful completion of the projects on a timely basis.

 

Wastewater System Master Plan – The City has contracted with an outside engineering firm to prepare a Wastewater System Master Plan. The new City Engineer will be expected to become familiar with this effort and oversee its completion.

 

Planning for Growth – The number of new water connections has increased recently, indicating the City is experiencing more rapid growth than in the past. The new City Engineer will be expected to develop plans for addressing the increased workload this growth with cause for department personnel.

 

Aging Infrastructure – Much of the infrastructure in the City has been in place for 50 years. The City has undertaken to replace old water lines with high density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) and has used pipe bursting to facilitate this replacement program. The City is seeking applicants who are familiar with this technology. The City Manager will expect the new City Engineer to continue to develop plans to replace aging infrastructure including streets, water lines and sewer lines.

 

GIS System Implementation – The City has purchased software for a geographic information system and is prepared to begin digitizing maps. The new City Engineer will be expected to continue the implementation of the GIS system by digitizing the city’s maps.

 

Minimum Qualifications:

A bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university in engineering or public works related studies is preferred and two (2) to three (3) years’ experience as a City Engineer or five (5) to six (6) years as Assistant City Engineer for a larger community. Total years of education and experience will be taken into consideration. Preference will be given to Engineers with Texas PE licensure and municipal, development management, and utility experience. A valid Texas Driver License is required.

 

Compensation:

 

The starting salary is open and will depend upon background and qualifications of the successful candidate. The city benefits package includes medical, dental, and optional vision insurance.  The City makes a contribution to dependent medical care. The City participates in the Texas Municipal Retirement System (6% - 2:1).  The City provides sick leave, vacation and holidays.

 

To Apply:

 

Send an electronic version of your current resume, salary history and a list of five (5) work-related references (including supervisory) with phone numbers ASAP to Josh Ray, City Manager at JRay@lago-vista.org.

 

Applicants for this position selected as finalists will be subject to a background review prior to interview.  Under the Texas Public Information Act, information from your resume may be subject to release to the public.

 

The City of Lago Vista is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages anyone interested in this position to apply.  Lago Vista desires diversity at all levels of its workforce!

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