Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I have to give my name and other information to register a complaint or concern?
A: No. Complaints can be made anonymously, and will receive the same attention as complaints accompanied by the complainant’s name and phone number. The only difference in attention is that if we have a name and phone number we are able to contact the complainant back with updates on the status of the case as it develops. If a call is made anonymously, the complainant will have to call us back, but we can still provide an update on the case. Any information given by the complainant, with a few exceptions, is public information and must be released by the City upon request. Complaints may be made to the City by phone to (512) 930-3606, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via internet (Click here to Submit a Complaint).
Q: Is there anything that I need to do with the City before I have a garage or yard sale?
A: No. The City of Georgetown does not currently issue permits for a garage or yard sale. However, according to the Texas State Comptroller, any person holding more than 2 sales a year is considered to be operating a business and is required to pay sales tax on items sold. Therefore, If more than two sales are held, a resident is operating a resale business out of their home and may be in violation of City ordinances regulating home occupantions. Also, see Garage and Yard Sale Signs under Common Violations for restrictions on placing signs for your sale.
Q: How do Code Enforcement Officers enforce City Ordinances and Codes?
A: Code Enforcement Officers are not Police Officers and cannot issue citations. However, officers can still file complaints with the City’s Municipal Court, which requires a property owner or occupant to appear in court to answer to charges of code violation. Fines up to $2,000 per day may be assessed by the court, depending upon the type and severity of violation. In addition, for certain types of violation, the City may remove the nuisance and charge the property owner for the cost of work, including placing a lien on the property to recover the costs. However, the primary focus of the officers in enforcement is education, and officers will normally work with first-time offenders and allow them time to remove the nuisance themselves.
Q: If it can’t be seen, is it a violation?
A: Many of the codes and ordinances of the City require that a violation be visible from “public view,” that is, from a public street, right-of-way, alley, or sidewalk, before it is considered to be a violation. However, there are also ordinances, usually related to sanitation, health and safety, that are considered violations even if they are not visible to the public. Accumulation of trash and debris is one example. Officers will request consent from the owner or occupant to inspect a property, but also have the ability to appeal to the courts for an administrative warrant to inspect a property without the owner’s consent in certain cases. Also, once an officer has identified a violation, such as a junk vehicle, covering the violation does not bring it into compliance with the City’s ordinances. The owner or occupant must still show the officer that the violation was resolved.
Q: Why can’t the City enforce my HOA rules, deed restrictions, or covenants?
A: HOA rules, deed restrictions and covenants are civil agreements between a property owner and the developer or homeowners’ association. When someone purchases a property, they agree to follow certain rules set by the developer or HOA. These rules are not set by the City, nor does the City have any responsibility in determining what they are. City ordinances generally establish a minimum standard required for the health, safety and comfort of its citizens, but deed restrictions generally establish a higher standard of living for a particular area. Violations of deed restrictions should be reported to your HOA. If there is not an active HOA, they may be enforced by one individual against another by filing a case in civil court.