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Top Morning Stories September 13, 2011

Bastrop County officials say the Bastrop Complex fire is now 70 percent contained.
Photo by KUT News.
Bastrop County officials say the Bastrop Complex fire is now 70 percent contained.

Update 10:08 a.m.

Texas Parks & Wildlife says there is a misperception that Bastrop State Park is open to the public today. The TPWD says the park is not open and will stay closed (from Gottier Trace and Park Road 1C to the west) at least through October while wildfire damages are assessed.

Disaster Recovery Center Opening in Bastrop

Starting today people affected by the Bastrop County wildfires can meet face to face with state and federal disaster recovery officials. Representatives from the state, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration will help people get registered for aid. The new Disaster Recovery Center will be open every day of the week. 

Bastrop High School 9th Grade Academy 1602 Hill Street Bastrop, Texas 78602 Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Bastrop County Re-Entry Continues

Bastrop County's online updatefrom last night says the Bastrop County Complex fire is now 70 percent contained.  More residents will be able to return home at 10 a.m.  Areas north of Highway 71 between Bastrop and Smithville are opening including: Alum Creek Road, Cottle Town Road, Bastrop State Park and Beuscher State Park.  The south part of ColoVista is also opening, as well as Ponderosa Road. Here's a map of the re-entry areas.

Austin City Council Adopts 2012 Budget

The property tax rate and water fees are going up for Austinites. The City Council approved the city’s budget for 2011-2012 yesterday.  The property tax rate is increasing to 48.11 cents per $100 of assessed property value. It will cost the owner of a median-priced home about $34 more a year.

That's not the only bill increasing for some Austinites. Starting November 1st, fees will increase for Austin Water Utility customers. The average customer will pay $7.80 cents more per month.

So what does the new city budget pay for? Here are some of the items listed in a city press release:

An additional 49 police officers and 18 Emergency Medical Services paramedics. Continued implementation of the Animal Services Office’s live outcomes plan for sheltered animals for Austin to be a No-Kill City. Development of four premier playground sites with enhanced recreational and educational programs. A 2 percent wage increase for most City employees (3 percent for uniformed police/fire/EMS personnel). Continued current level of operations at Dottie Jordan and Austin recreation centers.