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February 13, 2003     Hays Free Press
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February 13, 2003
 

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Page2 , Thee Pmn "durrent Events Februarv 13, 2003 'Buda-fyl'ng Buda ' Business grants in works BY BRENT STRONG Staff Writer IUDA-Free money. Simply -JJput, that's what the Buda's Economic Development Corp- oration (EDC) intends to give to small businesses in the near future. Warren Ketternan, Director of the EDC, said he wants to create a grant program to help small businesses in town with projects to improve their shops. , The dollar figure has yet to be koted on by the board, but Ketteman intends to give out enywhere from four to eight grants per year, possibly totalling , bout $25,000, to local business- i es. The grant money will be used if or replacing signs, mpainting and general improvements to a :lbuilding's appearance. Ketteman :said the program will help boost :[msiness in Buda and help the EI with increased sales tax venue coming from morn busi- nesses. The details are still to be i hammered out, but Ketteman anticipates applications will be vailable starting this summer. The City of Giddings is using a similar program and sharing its information with Ketteman. The grant program is the first of two programs brought forth by Ketteman. The other program, also for small businesses, centers around "gap" loans. Businesses coming up just short of money needed for working capital or larger improvement projects can apply for a loan from the EDC to make up the gap. The interest earned off of the loan payments would go into EDC's accounts and grow to accommodate larger projects taken on by small busi- nesses. The program is in the very early stages and will be dis- cussed at future EDC meetings in further detail. Under state statutes, a 4B corporation is allowed to make loans to busi- nesses. Ketteman said the pro- posed programs will mean a lot to the businesses of Buda. "I think we need to be con- cemed with getting a vehicle that will get the tax dollars back into the businesses" Ketteman said. The EDC's first order of busi- ness, however, is securing a bond for the land it's purchasing on the comer of FM 967 and FM 1626. The final contract was signed Tuesday night. The final survey totals the land at 78.328 acres for $1,174,920. The EDC also plans to pur- chase its offices at 100 Houston Street, along with the adjacent empty lot, pending approval from city council. The purchase of the building and lot would total $391,000. Outside of its own purchases, the EDC heard from Buda City Administrator Bob Mathis, who asked for $3-4 million to expand the city's wastewater plant for future development. The propos- al is under consideration and will be revisited at future EDC meet- ings. Finally, the EDC will table the Community ID program, which is used as a recruiting tool for retail businesses, because it can't find enough financial back- ing. The program would cost $60,000. Without the support of the city or the county, the EDC will wait for a rise in the econo- my before another attempt at the program. Buda Planning & Zoning approves Cullen development BY BRENT STRONG Staff Writer .] UDA-CUllen Country's :Lgeneral, development plan received a 6-0 nod at the Buda Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Ineeting Tuesday night. Only a zoning change and a pending council vote stand in its way of being the first project to submit a preliminary plat under the new Unified Development Code :(UDC). Traffic was among the major concerns voiced during the pub- ]ic hearing over the development. Residents said the development could add about ten percent to ,'the traffic on FM 967, which is muning about 3,900 cars per day. -Because of regulations through TxDOT, the subdivision will have to create a left turn lane to avoid slowing down westbound traffic. P&Z Chairman Byron Warren joined citizens in their concerns about traffic stemming from the development. However, because the subdivision complies with the , the P&:Z had no choice but to pass the plan. Water availability looms as another major issue for the devel- opment. The Feb. 18 city council meeting will take the P&Z's rec- ommendation into consideration and give the final vote on the general development plan. Before voting through the gener- al development plan, council must vote on a zoning change for the property from agricultural use to medium density residen- tial use. The P&Z also voted unani- mously to approve a manufac- tured housing ordinance. The ordinance will apply the same rules for manufactured home subdivisions as other subdivi- sions as outlined in the UDC. Another ordinance to be voted on will concern the city's rights to concerning substandard housing and the condemnation of proper- ty. In other P&Z news, the com- mission voted Ron Franklin as the new co-chair to the commis- sion by a 4-2 measure. Donna Martin-Brace received the other two votes, with one of those votes coming from Franklin. County Pay Raises, from page I an additional $351,474 slated to go toward their salaries. Exempt employees make up the remaining $47,860 of the rais- es, totaling $1,151,748. With more than half of the salary increases left to be paid for in next year's budget, the salary outlook remains bleak for elected officials, such as constables, who are trying to i reach parity with similar posi- tions in San Marcos. Hays County constables recently were denied a pay increase as the county prepared for the large number of raises for more than 600 non-elected employees. The pay raises g!enied for the constables are gimilar to those accepted for law enforcement officials in the hew pay structure. Before Tuesday's vote, Pet. It 3 Commissioner Bill Bumett showed Carter she had asked for pay raises on three separate occasions for her personal assistant. Bumett then asked Carter why she wouldn't afford other county employees the same privilege as her personal assistant. Carter's response was that she feels education should go a long way in dictating pay structure and she didn't feel Waters Consulting had done its job to justify the pay increases. Pay structures from other counties were used for compar- isons when similar position couldn't be found in San Marcos. Those counties includ- ed Bastrop County, among oth- ers. The other large topic of late has been the county's actions regarding Senate Bill 873, passed by the legislature in 2001. Tuesday, the court hired Greg Hudson of Thomas, Hudson & Nelson to offer legal advise on subdivision regula- tion in the county. No action was taken coming out of execu- tive session regarding regula- tion of subdivisions by the county. County Administrator Alan Walther said no time table has been set for the county's actions and the county is still weighing its options. In other developments: Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace Lamont Ramage was autho- rized to purchase furniture for the new addition to the JP office in Buda The county authorized the purchase of a Tiger TRUCKAT boom mower. New HEB, New Road? from page I Notice of Public Meeting On Thursday, February 27, 2003, Hays County, in conjunction with the consulting firm of Othon Inc., will conduct a public meeting to present and discuss the proposed reconstruction of Heidenreich Lane (from FM 150 to Bunton Lane for a length of 1.82 miles). In June 2001, Hays County voters approved a $47 million road bond proposition. This proiect is one of the " 13 county roads selected for reconstruction under this bond program. Commissioner Debbne I ngalsbe of Hays County Precinct 1 is familiar with, in support of, and worked to secure funding for the project. The reconstruction of the two 10'-lane roadway will include the following: Construction of two 12'-lanes with Z-shoulders; _- Improvement of the low water crossings and various cross-culverts; and Improvement of the vertical profile of the roadway to advance safety. The public meeting will be held at the Hemphill Bemantary at 3995 E. FM 150. From 6:00-6:30 p.m. displays of the project area will be available for review. During this time, OTHON staff and members of its project team will be available to answer questions. The technical presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be followed by a public comment period. You are encouraged to attend the public meeting. Comments concerning the proposed reconstruction are solicited. Comments may be presented at the public meetingor in writing on or before March 13,2003. Written statements may be submitted to Mr. Madhi E. Kar, P.E., Vice President, Othon Inc., 11111 Wilcrest Green Dr, Suite 128, Houston, TX 77042, mkasir@othon.com. All comments received at the public meeting, as well as any written comments postmarked on or before March 8, 2003, will be included in the official public meeting record and will be considered during future project development. Rease contact Commissioner Debbie I ngalsbe at (512) 393-2243 (debbiei @co.hays.tx.us), or Mr. Charles Othon, of Othon I nc at (713) 975-8555 (cothon @othon.com), if you have any questions regarding the public meeting and/or the project. If you have any special communication or accommodation needs and plan to attend the public meeting, please notify Mr. Othon at least seven (7) days in advance of the workshop. kO OTHON Is your school overcrowded? Hays CISD is proposing a $104.5 million bond issue for new elementary and middle schools, completion of improvements at Hays High School, completion of instructional space at Lehman High School, and major improvements at the district's existing facilities to accommodate enrollment growth. t Kyle llementary hool: Kyle Elementary School is expected to have 981 students by 2004-05 and 1,071 students by 2005-06. The school's practical capacity is 648 students. In the 2003 bond package, $3 million would be dedicated for improvements and additions at Kyle Elementary. Fuentes Elementary School: Fuentes Elementary School is expected to have 833 students by 2004-05 and 965 students by 2005-06. The school's practical capacity is 720 students. The 2003 bond package includes two new elementary schools to alleviate crowding at the existing elementary campuses. Hemphill Elementary School: Hemphill Elementary School is expected to have 885 students by 9.004 05 and 965 students by 2005-06. The school's practical capacity is 720 students. The 2003 bond package includes two new elementary schools to alleviate crowding at flac existing elcmcnta_ty campu:se:s. Tom Green Elementary School: Tom Green Elementary School is expected to have 669 students by 2004-05 and 711 students by 2005-06. The school's practical capacity is 554 students. In the 2003 bond package, $2 million wculd be dedicated for improvements and additions at Tom q3reen Elementary. Wallace M|ddlle hool: Wallace Middle School is expected to have 1,071 students in the fall of 2004 and 1,271 students by the fall of 2005. The school's practical capacity is 825 students. The 2003 bond package includes a new middle school to alleviate crowding at Wallace. What if the bond referendum d The District must provide facilities to allevi One option is to redraw attendance zones students from their neighborhood schools 1 lower enrollments. Another likely option wJJ portables at the crowded campuses, paid fc opeyations budget. Most likely this will reqt increase on the Maintenance and tiol tax rate. The bond election is Saturday, February 22. Early voting rul at most of the district's campuses. For voting informati, view the district's web site, www.hayscis Please exercise your right to Sponsored by the Community Alliance of Northern Hays Coul oesn't pass? tte overcrowding. md bus some :o schools with 1 be to place r out of the e a tax .as portion of the Is through February 18 )n, call 268-2141 or I.net. vote ,ty (CANHC). ingly using TIF to finance road : projects, rather than wait on cash- itrapped state agencies. However, Mattis said, TxDOT eventually Would have to be involved, as FM i626 is a state highway and it would be necessary to build access to and from the interstate. Along with construction of the FM 1626 extension, which probably would begin as a two- lane project before expanding in the future to four lanes, Mattis said the city is likely to look into adding road capacity over the interstate. At full build-out of the homes already in process, the City would have about half of its 13,000 homes on each site of the highway. Yet, the only access from one side of town to the other is along FM 150 and over the Bunton Overpass which is a noto- rious rash hour tangle. A proposed "big box" retail development along the proposed FM 1626 extension by San Antonio builder Rick Sheldon has been sidewacked by slow movement on the project. However, Mattis said he has been hearing a lot from Sheldon lately. Mattis added that the county could come to the city's aid with some of its $47 million in road bond money approved by voters in 2001. The county already has contributed $300,000 toward pur- chase of the right of way. "The county's already been a good partner in the project" Mattis said. "But it is a thing where I think we're going to have to take the lead" Meanwhile, Doucet & Associates representative Carey Bresler told Kyle's Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission Tuesday night that a site develop- ment plan for the HEB project, which had been scheduled for March, may have to wait until April. However, Bresler and Mattis both indicated that the project isn't in jeopardy. Under question- ing from P&Z Commissioner Kevin Foley, Bresler said the best estimate for the project's opening would be the latter half of 2004. Bresler added that the possible one-month delay in taking a site development plan to the city is due to the volume of work involved. "We've been trying to meet an aggressive schedule," Bresler said. "If we've fallen behind your initial expectations, we're work- ing hard to move it foi'ward"