Newspaper Archive of
Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
February 6, 2003     Hays Free Press
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February 6, 2003

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i FEBRUARY 6, 2003 VOL. 30 NO. 6 iiiii00ili00iii0000iii iiii00i00iiiiiiiiili iiiiii00;iiiii00iii00iiii0000ii00iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii ilili0000ili00iii00iiii00iii00iii00i00i00ililiiiiiiiiili!i!iiiiiiii ii!iii iii00iiiii00iii0000iii00!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiili iiiii00iii00iiii00i!i00i00ili00ililililililililililiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil ililii iii !ilililiiii000000iiii0000iiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiii iii ii00ii00ii00iii0000iiiiiiiliiiii ii! i;iiii00!ii00i!i 00iliiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiii!iliiii Kyle council snubs BS/EACD board BY BILL PETERSON Editor YLE--The look on Floyd arsh's face said enough as he brought together his belongings and exited Kyle City Hall during the middle of Tuesday night's city council meeting. But the words said a lit- tle more. "What an insult," Marsh said. Marsh, the Barton Springs/ Edwards Aquifer Conservation District's (BS/EACD) General Manager, had just been inglori- ously dropped from the council's agenda shortly after the body returned from executive session and just as he was about to pre- sent the aquifer board's proposal to settle a $130,000.fme against the city. When Councilmember Mike Moore motioned to table Marsh's presentation, adding that the aquifer board was to direct all its communications to the city manager and city staff, the rest of the council loudly assented. The action all but removed any possibility that the city will pay a penny less than the $129,124.71 assessed by the aquifer board for overpumping its 55 million gallon permit by 89 million gallons in the year ending last Aug. 31. "It only seems logical that payment of the amount sought by the BS/EACD in full settle- ment is the best way to a quick and final solution that will allow the city to move forward and properly give its full attention to future water development and resource management issues," Kyle Pumpage Fine, pg. 3 Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis points out to city council the differences between the Edwards Aquifer Authority and the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. (photo by Bill Peterson) Read Buda voters"lips - No new taxes BY BILL PETERSON Editor UDA--It's back to the draw- ing board for Buda's city gov- ernment after voters in Buda over- whelmingly tamed back a proper- ty tax increase of more than 50 percent in last Saturday's election. By a margin of 227-98, Buda voters elected to force the city government to tax property at the Fiscal Year 2003 rollback rate of 13.1 cents per $100 of assessed value, down from the rate of 21.99 cents approved by the city council last September. Buda City Administrator Bob Mathis said the city is forced to trim more than 10 percent of its general operations budget as a result of the vote. Mathis and council will have to save $180,000 out of a general operating budget of $1.7 million, which doesn't include water and wastewater ser- vices that are supported by fees. Mathis said the city either will be forced to cut services, dip into a reserve fund of little more than $500,000 or forego capital pro- jects, such as a wastewater reten- tion pond that had been included in the budget. "That's not one of those things we can put off," Mathis said. "Our facility is sitting next to the Onion Creek." Local agitator Tommy Peer checks out the public postings on the front door of Buda City Hall prior to the tax rollback election. (photo by Bill Peterson) The election was the first of two major tax elections scheduled for the area in February. Presumably, the result in Buda casts doubt on the prospects for a $105 million bond election called by the Hays CISD for Feb. 22. But Hays CISD interim Superintendent Marvin Crawford remained hopeful that the voters will see the school district's appeal differently. 'q'hey're defmitely separate issues, completely," Crawford said. "I think our voters in the dis- trict will look at the situation and Tax Rollback Election, pg. 12 Opposition over Hays bond issue is vehement BY BILL PETERSON Editor AYS CISD - The rhetoric is blowing hotter than ever now that early voting has begun on a $105 million school bond sought by the Hays CISD. Lots of statis- ing and others are growing faster. While those numbers are daunting, the Hays CISD is in the agonizing position of being the state's 118th-fastest-growing dis- trict from 1996-2001, according to the Texas Bond Review Board, even though its property wealth tics are being offered to the pub- lic. Of course, you can make statistics say just about anything you want. Below, we attempt to pick through some of the issues and arguments brought forth in the debate. Opponents of the bond issue say the Hays CISD's debt per stu- dent, which has soared to $21,552, ranks ninth in Texas. The school district doesn't dispute that figure. Bond opponents say passage of the bond issue will push debt per student past $26,000, compared with a state average of $5,697. The use of a "state average" doesn't truthfully depict the Hays CISD's performance, relative to other districts in its circumstances - and that's not to say the Hays CISD has been a sterling per- former in that regard, either. Bond debt is tied to anticipated growth. Some districts are going through stagnant growth, others are shrink- ::::i::ii!::;iliiiitit,ili ranks 586th out of .... , :: ,  .......... 1,034 school dis- !i::i:: ,i!lii:iii tricts in Texas. That's a combina- tion that almost guarantees high debt, and it definitely points to the need for more local retail business and industry. High debt is a common prob- lem for high-growth districts, even though faster growing near-by dis- tricts - like Pflugerville, Georgetown and Boeme - aren't nearly as burdened as Hays. Then again, they have more property value, which, in turn, helps them support debt. Frisco, the state's fastest-growing school district, ranks 122nd in property wealth and has a debt rate per student of $30,589. But Frisco grew 167 per- cent from 1996-2001, compared with 29 percent growth at Hays. Leander's debt per student rate stood at $16,257 before voters approved a $189 million bond Buda weighs possibilities on huge MUD developments BY BRENT STRONG Staff Writer DUDA The possibility of a Umall coming to Buda could rely almost entirely on the estab- lishment of four Municipal Utility Districts (MUD). These disllicts would bring in people around the proposed site of the Simon Mall, which would, in turn, create more interest from the mall to come to the area. The MUDs are the brainchild of devel- oper Steve Bartlett, who was involved in the Circle C properties of Gary Bradley fame. If Buda accepts the petition to establish the MUDs, it would like to establish what is called an "in city" MUD for the proposed com- mercial land in MUD #1. The "in city" MUD allows the city to col- lect sales tax from the property while the developer collects the property taxes. The area called MUD #1, which is located on valuable land just off of IH-35, would mean 1,100 multi-family and single- family homes along with 300 retail locations. That not only would give the city a boost in its tax base, but it would also mean more jobs for the city. If the city decides to not honor the petition to establish MUDs, it must deliver city services to the homes requesting them. Property tax rates for people living in the MUDs will be any- where from 70 cents per $100 of assessed value to $1.00 per $100 of assessed value, according to Buda City Administrator Bob Mathis. That rate is significantly higher than that of Buda, which rests at 13.10 cents per $100 of assessed value. MUDs are funded by the developer through bonds that are repaid through the property tax as the district continues to near full build-out- Mathis expects a 15- year build-out, assuming the mar- ket and economy support that rate. When a city annexes land that is part of a MUD, the city assumes all the debt of the district. The city is trying to avoid taking on a debt of that magnitude. "A city should not ever assume the debt and create a negative draw on its revenue base," Mathis said. "A city should only do it when it's economically feasible." Buda is waiting on Bardett to file a petition requesting water and wastewater service from the city. Buda will then prepare an engineer- ing report detailing its ability to pro- vide water and wastewater service to the MUD. Negotiations would then begin as to whether or not Buda will have an "in city" MUD. The above map shows the location of the five local Municipal Utility Districts and the site of the proposed Simon Mall.