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Top Morning Stories September 29, 2011

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Photo by KUT News.
Bastrop County leaders have approved a recovery plan following the devastating wildfires that sparked earlier this month.

Bastrop On the Road to Recovery

Bastrop County has been in recovery mode for weeks now, but county commissioners this week approved an official wildfire recovery plan. The plan outlines what the tasks for which local agencies will be responsible. The first priority is clearing all of the debris. Bastrop County will also hold several town hall meetings to talk about the recovery efforts. The  first one is is scheduled for October 10th.

Firefighters Wrapping Up Alamo Fire

The Associated Press reports firefighters are still keeping watch over the smoldering remains of the wildfire in western Travis County. The so-called Alamo Fire burned part of the set for the 2004 film "The Alamo." Fire officials believe that  lightning from Tuesday evening's storms caused the fire, which charred at least 150 acres.

Lake Travis Economic Report to be Released Today

Today we'll get an idea of the effect of dropping lake levels on the Central Texas economy. Travis County leaders in conjunction with several groups are releasing a Lake Travis economic impact report later this morning. It will detail how the drought has impacted jobs, taxes, and businesses.

The Highland Lakes' two water storage reservoirs, Travis and Lake Buchanan, are at only 38 percent of capacity.

Cap Metro Approves New Budget

The Capital Metro board adopted its 2011-12 budget yesterday. As the Austin American Statesman reports, the budget plans for increased spending on operations and a cut back on long-range, capital projects.

The budget, approved 6-0 by the board (members Frank Fernandez and Ann Stafford were absent), shows operations spending of $173 million, up from $168 million in this year's budget. Capital spending would be $20.6 million, almost half of it on the agency's new "rapid bus" service. The capital spending, down 54 percent from the $44.9 million in the current year, includes nothing for replacing the agency's aging buses. It has $500,000 for engineering of "positive train controls," a federally required upgrade in its track monitoring equipment that must be installed by 2016. The coming costs for that, and to replace buses, will likely make the coming budget years even more challenging than this year, agency officials have said in recent weeks.