Newspaper Archive of
Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
February 27, 2003     Hays Free Press
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February 27, 2003

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Columns/Letters to the EdlterlCurrent Events e 8v Bon MATINS Buda City Administrator Not a week goes by that I don't sit down with a prospective developer to discuss the commercial and residential opportunities in Buda. While they want to talk about set backs, water quality, stormwater man- agement, etc the critical issue is whether the city can provide water and waste waster service to the development. And, that is one of the critical questions fac- ing the city. More specifically, how do we pay for this growth? The most obvious answer would be to have the developers pay for everything. Unfortunately, that is not consis- tent with state law. A city can only recoup a portion of the cap- ital improvements projects or infrastructure improvements through what is called impact fees. The Texas Local Government Code provides the statutory requirements for implementing and updating impact fees. The maximum fee amounts are calculated as the highest that can be lawfully levied by a city, given the prospective capital improve- ments plan, cost of existing and new utility capacity, and an allowed credit to new customers for capital contributions made through rate payments. In lay- man terms, this means that the developer shares the cost of cap- ital improvement. Over the past four months, we have been working with a contractor to establish the devel- oper's share (impact fees) and the city's share (water and waste water rates). That information is being presented to the city coun- cil at the March 4 council meet- ing. Over the years, the city has had a very low water and waste water rate and it was not uncom- mon to supplement the short fall in these two funds from the reserves. This allowed the rates to stay low, but did not create any reserves for future system expansion or upgrades. Our lat- est waste water plant expansion was funded primarily through the impact fees, but was supple- merited by the reserves. The new rate structure will take into account the city's ten-year capi- tal improvement program and the projected impact fees col- lected through developments. Do we have the option to just say no to new developments, commercial or residential, and retain our low water rates? Possibly, but the growth would still happen around Us. If a city doesn't provide water and waste water, the developers and land owners have other options. When they exercise those other options (i.e. on site waste water plants, contracting with other water providers, drilling wells, septic, Municipal Utility Districts, etc ) the city looses control of growth. We can no longer mandate water quality controls, density, road struc- tures, and more importantly, land use itself. If it isn't in the city limits, our oversight is lim- ited to drainage. Plus, if it isn't in the city limits, we collect no taxes - sales or property. So, there are risks associated with saying no. Is that really an option? The water and waste water rates established today will be one of the more critical invest- ments the city makes in our future. There is a great deal of commercial interest all along IH-35. There is no crystal ball, but the companies looking at Buda have good track records, and you can see the sales tax potential. It will rise significant- ly in two to three years. The potential increases will over- shadow the increases we received from HEB and the related developments. We have to be patient and support that growth through capital invest- ments projects. Buda is prospering while other communities are seeing a downturn in their economy. While others had a drop in sales tax, we are experiencing double digit increases over previous years. The economists are opti- mistic about Northern Hays Country growth potential over the next five to ten years. The Council has laid out a course to allow us to reach that potential, but it will require an investment from each of us. Be sure to acy in The Free Press We are nearing our next round of elections for Hays School Board, Kyle City Council and Buda City Council. All partici- pants are encouraged to submit a press release announcing their candidacy for their respective seats. However, candi- dates are limited to one press release each prior to the elec- tion, and those press releases will be limited to less than 700 words. Please submit a fresh photo with candidate press releases. Six weeks from now, on April 10, The Free Press and our joined-at-the-hip predecessors, will celebrate our 100th birthday. Through the centennial year, which begins April 10, we will frequently share with our read- ere some of the social, political and economic history that has marked the passage of time since Thomas Fletcher Harwell arrived in Kyle to establish The Kyle News in the historic old David Young store, which until recently housed the Kyle Police Department. This newspaper was operat- ed as The Kyle News through both World Wars and the Great Depression, after having absorbed the area subscribers who had read the Buda Echo at the turn of the century and then the Buda Star from 1909 until 1919. During the terrible drouth year of 1956, the name was changed to The Hays County Citizen to strengthen its county- wide readership. Then in 1978, as a result of selling off the San Marcos por- tion of The Citizen to a national chain that also owned The San Marcos Record, our name was changed a third time and we became The Free Press. During the past 25 years of operation as The Free Press we have maintained our offices at four different locations, including the old bank building in Buda which is best remembered as the one that gained fame when a young woman who was a University of Texas student robbed it 75 years ago. We also officed at another Buda location and in the downtown Kyle busi- ness district before building our Mountain City office halfway between what was then the Buda and Kyle city limits in 1985. We are the oldest newspa- per in the county, predating the San Marcos Record by nine years. Publisher Bob Barton cel- ebrated his 50th year of involve- ment with the newspaper earlier this month. Both of our Associate Publishers, Sandra Grizzle and Cyndy Slovak-Barton have been slaving away here for more than 20 years. Production Manager David White has been directing our operations since he wan- dered in nine years ago to bor- row the phone. And Circulation Director Margot Porterfield has graced us with her presence for nearly seven years. Our com- bined 110 years of involvement in newspapering in this part of the county has enriched our own lives and aids in our quest to present the news to our readers in a fair and equitable manner. Next week we'll reflect on some of the early day Hays County newspaper editors, including the one who killed his wife and the future congressman who got drunk and burned down The Hays County Times back before the turn of the century. NAILS All Hand-Filed Acrylic Fiberglass Manicures Pedicures No Drills No Pain r i i i i l m GIFT ITEMS Sterling Silver Jewelry Purses Candles Hair Products and More Ig I I I I I I l, 11940 Manchaca Rd Suite 104 Next to Texican Cafe Texas History, from previous page national polls. After the Wildcats fell earlier that evening, the top spot was theirs for the taking, but the Miners lost a heartbreaker to the same Seattle Redhawks they had beat- en by a dozen in January. Twenty-four hours later, Texas Western met the Oklahoma City Chiefs in the first round of the NCAA tourna- ment at Wichita, Kansas. Still reeling from the upset of the pre- vious night, the Miners quickly fell behind by 11 points. Haskins called time, gave everybody a good chewing-out and sent Hill, benched for a cur- few violation, into the game. The guard from Detroit respond- ed with 24 points to ignite an 89- 74 comeback. The next stop on the road to the Final Four was Lubbock. Two thousand supporters came from El Paso to cheer on the Miners, who had their hands full with experienced Cincinnati. Texas Western prevailed in over- time thanks to six points from Willie Cager, a product of the New York playgrounds whose playing time was limited by a heart murmur. The Kansas Jayhawks, who had eliminated Southwest Conference champ SMU, pro- vided an even tougher test the following night. The weary Miners needed 22 points from Hill, 17 rebounds from David Lattin and two extra periods to eke out a one-point win. To hear Adolph Rupp tell it, the KentuckY-Duke semifinal was the only game worth play- ing six days later in College Park, Maryland. Neither Utah nor the upstarts from Texas had a ghost of chance against his sharpshooting Runts or the Blue Devils, or so he said. When the Wildcats disposed of Duke, Rupp thought his fifth NCAA title was in the bag. To the old segregationist, whose teams remained lily-white in defiance of his own university president, the last act with Texas Western, which vanquished Utah 85-78, was nothing more than a distasteful formality. Rupp was right about one thing. It was no contest. Bobby Joe Hill scored twice off two successive steals to put the Miners ahead for good. Taking full advantage of their superior speed and quickness, they stretched their lead to 11 with three minutes left. Any objective observer had to admit the game was not as close as the final score of 72-65. At the Kentucky basketball banquet two weeks later, the master of ceremonies told the sea of sad faces, "At least we're still America's number one white team." That was small consolation for Adolph Rupp, who said on his deathbed in 1977, "I often wake up in the middle of the night wondering what I could have done to turn the tide." Coach Haskins was the toast of El Paso and the target of every bigot with a pencil. The 40,000 poison-pen letters he received may have set a new record for hate mail. The Miners went 22-7 in 1967 but were snubbed by both the NCAA and NIT. The defending national champions had to watch the tournaments on television. Don Haskins resisted the temptation of a fat paycheck at a big-time basketball school to stay in E1 Paso. His UTEP (the name change came in 1967) teams had a winning record 34 out of 38 seasons, won 20 or more games 17 times and took 21 post-season trips. He retired in 1999 with 719 victories, fourth best among active college coaches. Vol. III of "Best of This Week in Texas History" available for $10.95 plus $3.25 postage and handling from Bartee Halle, 1912 Meadow Creek Dr Pearland, TX 77581 Your home is one of your most important assets. You've worked hard building its equity. Now it's time to let that equity work for you. A Wells Fargo home equity account is an intelligent source of money and can be used for everything from home improvements to making important purchases, from funding education to consolidating bills. Current rates are lower than they've been in years. And the interest is usually tax-deductible*, so it's tax-smart too. 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