The Decibel team is working on a yearlong community-driven reporting project in the city of Pflugerville. We have already begun to highlight individuals and groups in the city, including local business owners and a group restoring a piece of the city’s history. All of our stories are generated by listening to the community, so we decided to spend a day at some local spots in the city asking residents what they would want to see reported about their community.
We set up a table at both West Pecan Coffee & Beer as well as the Pflugerville Library to talk with people in the area about our work. The community opened up to us about concerns with internet access, affordability as well as city maintenance.
The biggest issue we heard was about internet access. There seems to be limited internet providers in the area according to residents we talked to. Dana Posival says it’s an issue she and her neighbors discuss often.
“Internet issues are a constant issue,” she says. “Our Facebook group is constantly talking about the lack of internet here.”
Other residents agreed. Peter Shugart, one of the supervisors at the Pflugerville Library, told us one of the providers in Pflugerville still sent him bills after refusing to cancel his plan, eventually sending him to collections.
Another issue that Pflugerville residents said they are facing is the rise in rent prices. Over the past year alone, rent has increased by 26.5% in Pflugerville. “The price of rent and gas is definitely the biggest issue we’re facing,” one community member told us. Resident Tasha Lopez also told us it’s not just that rent is increasing, but that finding affordable food has also become an issue.
Finally, we heard about some city maintenance issues residents are experiencing across Pflugerville. There is currently a burn ban in effect in Pflugerville due to the extreme drought occurring across Central Texas this summer. Wildfires are easy to start during this time of year and all outdoor activities that would include fire such as a bonfire, campsites and fire pits are prohibited in the city. This is not the only restriction citizens are facing, as there is also a mandatory water conservation in effect. Residents also expressed concerns with tree limb pickup after a change was made by the Pflugerville City Council to no longer offer the service for free.
Overall, we spoke with eight Pflugerville residents about what they would like to see in our coverage. The responses were insightful and will help us better understand this community’s information needs. As we begin to look towards the upcoming Pflugerville elections, we’ll be continuing our outreach and asking residents what they would like their local officials to be talking about this election cycle.
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