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May 15, 2013     Hays Free Press
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Section D CLASSIFIEDS " PUBLIC NOTICES SERVICE DIRECTORY HaysFreePress.com May 15, 2013 Buda council at odds during annexation precedence battle BY MOSES LEOS III moses@haysfreepress.com The battle for preventing precedence over the sale of fireworks came to a head at the May 7 Buda City Council meeting. Contentious debate ensued as members deliber- ated on allowing fireworks store owner Chester Davis a variance to sell his wares with- in the city limits. On April 30, Buda annexed the land where Davis' fireworks store current- ly sits, making it illegal by city ordinance. On the table were three sep- arate motions regarding Davis' case. Option one was deemed the, "do nothing," choice, where the council would opt to forgo any decision. Option two was an extension of the "do nothing" choice, adding a 5,000-foot ban to sell fireworks outside of the city limits. Op- tion three allowed a 90-day variance to Davis, as well as the 5,000-foot barrier. The road to the council's ul- timate decision to grant Davis a 90-day variance was quar- relsome with the addition of the 5,000-foot barrier causing some dissension among mem- bers. Council member George Haehn disagreed with the measure, believing the city overstepped its bounds. "In my opinion ... the con- stitution is clear, you cannot dictate to someone if they do not have a voice in the deci- sion," Haehn said a few days after the meeting. "That was my issue. People that live out- side of city limits have no voice in the city. They cannot vote, so they are not represented." According to council mem- ber Eileen Altmiller, the ra- tionale for the 5,000-foot ban was to ensure this situation is not repeated in the future. Air- miller said other cities, in par- ticular Austin, Kyle and Hous- ton, use this ban to avoid that problem. Those examples did little to persuade Haehn. "The city should not have ability to dictate to people out- side of (the city limits) what they can do on their property," he said. Initially, Haehn fully sup- ported the "do nothing" op- tion. However, a question posed to the city attorney raised a concern about other businesses taking advantage of the variance. "There is no legal precedent to other businesses," said Buda CityAttorney Erin Higginboth- am. "It is fireworks specific." Her response prompted Haehn to change his mind. "I proposed going with Op- tion Three, but did not like the 5,000-foot ban," Haehn said. He then offered a fourth, or "hybrid" option, as Mayor Todd Ruge called it, which is Option 3 without the 5,000- foot ban, that Haehn said al- See FIREWORKS STORY, pg. 4D Clothing entrepreneur and Buda Chamber of Commerce member Susana Cabrera shared her the clothing industry in China. BY MOSES LEOS III moses@haysfreepress.com An interest in Chinese culture inspired 26-year-old entrepreneur Susana Ca- brera, who spoke at the Buda Chamber of Commerce. Cabrera recently opened a second clothing store, Hong Kong Di- rect (HKD), in Austin - the first is in San Antonio. She joined the Buda Chamber hoping to extend her market into northern Hays County. From an early age, the mysteries of the exotic land piqued her interest, as did running her own fashion business. So much so, she studied and majored in Man- darin and Business Administration while attending the Univer- sity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Yet, her busi- ness owner father, Juan Pablo Cabrera, wanted his daughter to find her own out- look on the business world. "He asked me, 'what will you do to set yourself apart from everyone else?'" Cabrera said. "He felt that I needed to do something different." That same person who challenged her gave the inspiration for her next move. Often, Cabrera noted the compliments her father received when he wore designer, tailored shirts from Hong Kong. However, their high price tag made the shirts a rare luxury. For Cabrera, owning her own reason- ably priced designer clothing business became a goal - and she knew she had to go to the manufacturing source to ac- complish it. In 2007, she set out to learn every- thing she could by heading to China. For the better part of three years, Cahmra split time between traveling abroad and PHOTO COURTESY SUSAN CABRERA experience of learning about, and working in, going to school. Cabrera started off in cherished this position, as it allowed her Shanghai, as her expertise in Mandarin to learn the ways these shirts and other provided a good starting point. Howev- designer clothing are manufactured. er, she had to adapt to the many cultural "I was able to perform my job, as changes within China. well as observe production, such as the One particular instance involved stitching process and how it was done," shaking hands and how it differs from said Cabrera. "I also had a chance to American customs, learn about the management styles and "In China, when you shake hands, how to receive product." you look down and [do] not make eye From the humble factory villages, contact, especially where the workers are determined and with superiors," said willing to work hard, to the bustling "China is a Cabrera. "Comingcities, where the final product is show- from San Antonio, cased, Cabrera saw every aspect of how well-developed I was always taught designer clothing is made. to make eye contact The best experience, she said, was country; in some when greeting some- talking with tailors, finding out where one with a hand they obtain their fabrics. It also allowed ways, more shake. I definitely her to find out what it takes to make a had to adapt." quality product. Once she adapted, "Reputation is big in fashion. If your than the United she quickly fell for product is not well made, yon lose all States. what the countrycredibility," she said. "I learned that I Things are had to offer. Particu- needed to find a true partnership with a starting to change larly, the difference tailor;tofindsomeonewhocanmeetmy in the way of think- standards. Someone to help me grow, as ing in the country much as I help them grow, too." at #~^~^,,|^,-, IllblLUll~;~, compared to theShe met her eventual tailor, Ferdi- n] United States. hand, who helped her learn where to aspeor.e are "Personally, I en- find the best fabric. Cabrera then corn- joyed the way of posed herbusinessplan. startingtofight thinking the Chinese After returning to the United States, showed," she said. Cabrera created Hong Kong Direct for better L--_ ____ nours, "They live such an (HKD). In her mind, the corporate as- honest lifestyle; they pect of designer, tailored clothing stores and better believe so much Kar- drives up the cost. Her business keeps ma." the cost of product low by directly deal- They are In addition, Ca- ing with their clientele, removing the pay. brera enjoyed the middleman. rebelling for better relative safety of the "Our goal is to make it as accessible country, saying she and affordable to anyone," she said. standards..." felt,"verysafe,"walk- Ultimately, her journey across China ing in the streets late helped her build the foundation of her in the evening. Liv- business. The ability to work in Shang- -Susana Cabrera, ing in San Antonio hai and Hong Kong"blew her away," she owner of Hong Kong Direct in Austin helped her appreci- said. ate the hustle and However, she understands people hustle of the bigger cities - something have many misconceptions regarding she said many of her classmates did not products developed in China. In addi- understand when they traveled with tion, she believes the implementation her. of sweatshops and low-wage labor fac- However, Cabrera understood shetories are slowly going away. was no mere tourist. Her goal to start "China is a well-developed country; her own business continued to drive in some ways, more than the United her. Eventually, Cabrera traveled to States," Cahrera said. "Things are start- Hong Kong- a major center for designer ing to change at factories, as people are shirts production, starting to fight for better hours, and While there, she took up eleven jobs, better pay. They are rebelling for better mostly as a factory inspector, which standards - a trait I look for when I deal required her travel frequently. Yet, she with factories." lege savings FINANCIAL FOCUS Adnother school year Is rawing to a close- so if ou have young children, they're one year closer to the day when they head off to col- lege. And both you and your children need to prepare for that day. Your kids can do so by developing good study habits. As for you, it's never too soon to start preparing for the high costs of higher education. Just how costly is college? According to the College Board's figures for the 2012-13 academic year, the average cost for one year at an in-state four-year public school is $22,261; for a private school, the comparable expense is $43,289. And if college costs continue rising faster than the general inflation rate, these fig- ures will increase substantially in the years ahead. Of course, it's entirely pos- sible that your kids will receive some scholarships or grants, which can significantly lower your out-of-pocket price tag. Nonetheless, it's probably a good idea not to count on your offspring getting a"fffll ride" to school - which means that you may want to start exploring college-savings vehicles. Fortunately, you have some attractive options, one of which is a 529 plan. When you contribute to a 529 plan, your earnings ac- cumulate tax free, provided they are used for qualified higher education expenses. (Keep in mind, though, that 529 plan distributions not used for qualified expenses may be subject to federal and state income tax and a 10% IRS penalty.) Furthermore, your 529 plan contributions may be deductible from your state taxes. However, 529 plans vary, so be sure to check with your tax advisor regarding deduct- ibility. A 529 plan offers other benefits, too. For one thing, the lifetime contribution limits for 529 plans are quite generous; while these limits vary by state, some plans allow contribu- tions well in excess of $200,000. Plus, a 529 plan is flexible: if your child, grandchild or other beneficiary decides against college or vocational school, you can transfer the unused funds to another family mem- ber, tax and penalty free. While a 529 plan may be a good choice for building re- sources for college,.it's certainly not the only choice. For exam- ple, a Coverdell Education Sav- ings Account, like a 529 plan, can generate tax-free earnings if the money is used for higher education expenses. However, you can typically only put in a maximum of $2,000 per year to a Coverdell account. Another college-savings pos- sibility is a custodial account, See FINANCIAL FOCUS, pg. 4D BY ANDY SEVILLA In Hays County, however, double- San Marcos, which took in the larg- Payments-to-date in 2013 amounted $1,686,363.04, up 14.78 percent from digit growth resonated throughout its est dollar amount in May sales tax al- to $5,600,851.09 for Hays County, a the $1,469,138.74 figure over the same andy@haysfreepress.com borders, and May's figures show Buda locations, sawa22.13 percent increase 13.07 increase from the $4,953,263.58 period in 2012. grewtallestinmonthlyandpayments- thisyearfromthesamemonthin2012, it received over the same period last May sales tax allocations represent The recently released state comp- to-date percentage growth. Combs will allocate $2,265,999.63 to year. monthly sales made in March, but troller's sales tax allocation numbers Despitebringingintheleastamount San Marcos this month. Last year, San In spite of undergoing the lowest also sales made in January, February show Hays County and its corridor of money in May sales tax allocations Marcos brought in $1,855,319.24 in percentage growth in May sales tax and March by businesses that report cities experienced double-digit eco- compared to the other two corridor May collections. The 2013 payments- collection over the same month in taxes quarterly. nomic growth this month, notwith- cities- Kyle and San Marcos- and the to-date for San Marcos also show an 2012, Kyle took the second place spot This month, Combs will distribute standing reports of a statewide slow- county, Buda saw the largest percent- increase of 11.80 percent from 2012. in percentage growth experienced in $668.5 million in monthly sales tax ing trend, age growth from the previous year. Thus far, this year, San Marcos has 2013 payments-to-date over the same revenue to local governments, a 5.6 "Sales tax collections were up in a Combs will return $346,543.13 in received $10,106,180.55 in sales tax al- period in 2012, surpassing San Mar- percent increase compared to May range of sectors from construction May sales tax collections to Buda, locations, compared to $9,038,965.22 cos and Hays County's percentage 2012. And highlighting continued and manufacturing to restaurants," a 26.76 percent increase from last it receivedin2012 over the same time growth, economic growth in Texas, Combs State Comptroller Susan Combs said year's figure - $273,363.71. Buda's period. Kyle took in $413,729.92 in sales said state sales tax revenue in April on her website. '~s expected, the rate 2013 payments-to-date amount to Hayscountycollected$1,272,315.69 tax collections this month, a 12.33 was $2.5 billion, up 3.9 percent com- of growth in state sales tax revenue is $1,724,241.49, a 17.13 percent in- in May sales tax collection, an 18.52 percent increase over last year's May pared to April 2012 - meaning more moderating compared to double-digit crease from last year's $1,472,004.87 percentjumpfromthe$1,073,463.10it figure - $368,315.46. In payments- expected growth inlocalgovernment growth rates we recently experienced, figure, over the same time period, collected in the same month last year. to-date, this year, Kyle has accepted sales tax collections next month. 4-