Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A sea of rooftops and higher taxes a-comin'

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Driving around the county yesterday we saw this headline in a local newspaper of dubious repute, but still it makes the point: 'Kyle taxes to double in two years.'
The Kyle/Buda areas are growing exponentially. Driving through the area, it's hard not to notice the sea of rooftops and non-stop construction of brand name department stores and restaurants. (So many rooftops and so few solar panels on them!)

Soon the Buda area will be seeing the arrival of U. S. Foodservice – commissioners court yesterday voted 4 to 1 (Judge Sumter voting no) to approve a special property tax & road construction deal as a welcome gift to the company (see the story below).
Those Buda citizens who opposed the project, and petitioned for a local referendum, must be feeling pretty dejected right now. We are told Foodservice will contribute around 37 new low to moderate income jobs.

Alrightee then, let the growth continue along the I-35 corridor, in one of the county's so-called economic development zones (the Hwy 290 stretch is the other one) where it makes sense to grow, so long as there's enough affordable water to go around and the political power stays balanced. Sadly, there's nothing pretty or creative about the growth on the east side – just the same old sprawl we see everywhere. And so far, no one has delivered on commuter rail to help cut down on the traffic jams and tail pipe emissions.

As the headline suggests, growth is putting heavy pressure on the public purse to keep up. That's part of the pattern.
As we can plainly see, GROWTH DOES NOT COME FREE. We would venture to say that their combined school, city, county taxes have tripled over the past 8 years. We will check with Dripping Springs City Hall to see when the announcement will be made of a doubling or tripling of its current tax rate, to begin paying for the city's new (relatively) and very expensive central sewage system.

These two regions of our county are not exactly excellent models for growth. On the upside, they are providing some very good and important lessons for the Wimberley Valley to heed as it continues to struggle for its own vision of growth through these sizzling hot summer dog days.


Anonymous said...

Just to see the arrogance and closed-minded attitudes of the "greenies" of Hays County -

Dear FA Friends, Neighbors and Members,
Sadly, Bob Ochoa of The Hays County RoundUp points out the failures of Dripping Springs and the Buda/Kyle areas in dealing responsibly with growth as models of what Wimberley should NOT do in the future.
When one hears of the DS Chamber of Commerce fighting the HTGCD and County on 6.5 acre lot size per well limits, while 9 acres is recommended and science indicates 27 acres is more realistic, it is no wonder we shake our heads in frustration at our politicians' and civic leaders short-sighted ignorance. And meanwhile, well-drillers are now running for County office.
The continued economic success of western Hays County is not based on over-development and greed-placed empty Home Depots on down town corners, but rather on preservation of those things that brought us and keep us here. The beauty and character of the area. The harder it is to develop here and the resultant lower densities and higher open spaces based on available utilities or lack thereof, are what will drive up the value of existing homes. Over-building will eventually degrade the character of the area and the greater potential value of our homes at the same time. It will also drive up taxes to unsustainable levels simply because we have politicians who are not only unwilling to say no to developers, but rather like Hays County commissioners Barton and Conley, actually believe in and encourage the no holds barred approach.
Please read on...

Funny isn't it how those who think that they are better than others have racist, elitist tendencies. People in Dripping Springs who are moving here want services here rather than having to drive twenty and thirty miles to get the services that they are going to spend money on any way. Environmentally, the gas that they burn (i.e., fossil fuels) pollutes the air the further they drive. Not to mention safety on 290 or going east to San Marcos. How about keeping the dollars local for the local communities to benefit from instead of taking our sales tax dollars to Austin and Travis County? Why not create even entry level job opportunities in Dripping Springs (or Kyle and Buda)? The people like Baxter who are elitists (and probably closet racists) think that they are better than others who don't have their "green" credentials, who just work to pay bill and want some of the conveniences of living closer to home. The community benefits and the residents benefit.

Who could be opposed to that? Except the elitists of the "environmental movement" of Hays County. Who represents them in office? Who represents the rest of us? Who will you vote for in the next election?

Anonymous said...

Most federal, state and local elected officials act out of power and greed. Their careers are dedicated to the acquisition of both.

It is little wonder that here in Hays County we have similar issues with our commissioners.

Conley, Barton, Ingalsbe and Ford need to be replaced. While Sumter has her issues, at least she does stand up for the people from time to time.

I urge citizens to get rid of the 4 Marx Brothers and vote-in others who may work to better all our lives here in the county.

The way things are today, the chance is slim to vote in candidates who will work for the community good. However, Conley, Barton, Ingalsbe and Ford have done very little for the people in Hays County.

Soon we will be paying double taxes because of poor planning and wealthy special interest direction.

So, in the next several elections vote-out the bums and let's try to vote-in real change for the better.

Don't crowd me said...

You bloviators, numbers 1 & 2, keep spewing the same right wing crap against environmentalists, and voting out the bums. Strap your oxygen ventilators back on and start thinking of something new. Voting in a water well driller from DS (Whisenant) as your next county commissioner from precinct 4, or that joke Jones, a realtor from Dripping, as our new county judge, are not the solutions. More BS and double the special interests. Conley and Barton carry lots of questionable ethical baggage and should be unloaded for the sake of honesty, very simply. Same for Ingalsbe. Look at the problems straight on: Limited space, limited water and resources and rising taxes for ever and ever. Can you give any examples of low paid workers who can really afford to live decently in these parts today? Your simpleton black and white approaches just ain't gonna cut it. Promoting growth around here promotes gentrification. Now that's racism.

Anonymous said...

Hey "Don't Crowd Me" - the b.s. rules that are proposed to be adopted creates the inability to offer more affordable housing due to the very reasons that market conditions dictate.

Again, the enclave mentality of the enviro-Nazis is apparent for all to see as they apparently accept the idea of their elitism being acceptable, but failing to realize that their elitism is also racist at its basis.

Anonymous said...

I think a whole new animal has joined the farm. It is the “Liberal Snoot”. Once snootiness was attributed to wealthy conservatives but no more. Liberal elitists have multiplied in great numbers and invaded Central Texas from California and Houston. Their disdain for the common folk regardless of race shows they are not racists; they just hate anyone in a lower socioeconomic group. They do however, like and take advantage of the cheap labor that comes here illegally from below the border. Is that racist?

Don't crowd me said...

Come on, #4, the only "market conditions" we have are those set by the developers of high-end subdivisions. Take another hit of oxygen, take your blinders off and look around. Drive thru Belterra - small lots, big houses and very big prices. Too crowdy and snooty for me. Soon to come, the development out around the Salt Lick . . . bigger lots, bigger houses and much bigger prices. Checked the price of raw land lots lately? Your argument of "more affordable housing" just "doesn't hold water." Check your local real estate listings. Seen anything lately for under $200,000? If you have, it's probably cause the well's gone dry. Developers not only are setting the market conditions, they are driving up appraisals year by year along with our property taxes. You must belong to the brandy sippin' elitists club if your carrying their fast diminishing water for them.

Anonymous said...

"Don't Crowd Me",
What an idiot. Belterra will be the future of development in Hays County if the new rules the County is proposing are adopted. Read carefully, the development rules they are proposing making 6.5 acres the minimum on wells may make sense, but they are leaving the door open for developments to come that bring their water and wastewater with them. (MUDs, etc.)

As for homes less than $200K, there have been two new homes recently constructed in the City limits of Dripping Springs that went for $150K recently - redevelopment of a mobile home area, the area is apparently on sewer, and City water.

More of that - public sewer, older neighborhoods, etc. - can help provide housing options other than mobile homes for people to live in.

As for the elitist attitude, you scum-sucking pig, you confess to your hypocrisy by the very attitude of wanting to keep poor people out by not providing a way for the market to provide for their housing needs. What other option would you provide you pinko? Government housing? Just more government encroachment into our lives.

Don't crowd me said...

No. 7, you must be a State Certified Lamebrain, or a real estate agent or an employee of city hall. You seem to be on top of things up there in DS. The MUDs will stop once we tell Rose and Wentworth to quit sponsoring that special interest/big money developer legislation – or vote in someone else who will stop it. Rose seems very capable of stopping any help to our groundwater district or aiding counties with more regulatory controls. But thanks for finally offering a good idea, housing options in the old neighborhoods with water and sewage hookups – a teeny weeny area. Great! Now what are you going to do in your outlying areas where DSWC/LCRA AND city sewage hookups are virtually cost prohibitive except to the rich and famous? You see, Lamebrain, this whole web you keep spinning is a Catch 22. Comprende? This is not a question of MARKET conditions, which is complete nonsense, it's a question of WATER conditions. If you ain't got the water, stop the development or spread out the lot size to conserve the (ground)water. And if you ain't got water that is affordable then what's the point of affordable housing?

Anonymous said...

You nailed it, ‘Don’t Crowd Me’. No. 7 must be from the DS Chamber of Commerce. In other words, ignorant, greedy, profiteers. What will they do when they have suckered enough of the “lace curtain rich” into Hays County to completely destroy the environment and resources? Answer: Move on to another unsuspecting area with soulless hungry real estate agents, builders and politicians.
Anyone contemplating moving to Hays County should be aware that they might not have water to drink and may have to carry off their own S**t.

Anonymous said...

Real Estate is my game; but lamebrain I am not. Obviously you are one of the few, the foolish, and the sell outs - otherwise known as an Obamacrat - cursed be his name! - I would be willing to make you a bet that you are not only flat wrong, but idiotic too. How about if the County passes its new rules, that the very thing that I say will happen does - more densely packed development with lake water and sewer, more development that makes this place look like Round Rock or Pflugerville.

Jon Thompson said...

Wow. A whole lot of dust-up over development. It will be interesting to see how it will all end up. Six and a half acres? Nine acres? Five acres?

Is there water or no water? More wells, or fewer wells? More septic or more centralized (or as a nod to David V. - decentralized)?

One thing is for sure, development probably won't slow down; it is sad that the State won't give more local control for water issues regarding development, but that is the way it goes for now until we can get the Legislature to re-write their regulations for rural or semi-rural/semi-urban areas (note Hays County, and other Hill Country counties).

I think that most of the new rules are hard to peg as to exactly what effect that they will have on development. New rules are funny that way; but my take on these last set of rules are that they aren't that much different from what we have currently with a few exceptions of clarifying what the rules are.

I think that I agree with the post from someone else on another topic that this division that is being created is helping no one, and only serves to create more tension where there doesn't need to be. Whoever benefits from the division, it isn't good for the citizens of Hays County.

Anonymous said...

You two sound like fools, fighting each other over development by being aggressive to one another.

You have obvious good intentions but you fight each other instead of working together in the community's best interests.

Don't you see that is exactly what those in charge want? They want a division among the people. The old saying, "United we stand, Divided we fall." is accurate.

Get wise to the ongoing issue. It's NOT about Democrat and Republican. It is about both parties NOT doing the right thing for the community.

Only with extreme pressure from the people will this mess ever have a chance of being resolved in our best interests.

Don't crowd me said...

That is wise counsel Jon Thompson. I think Real Estate Gamer has just about lost it. I completely agree with your point about the division thing. Not good for the health. But how does one get the people to "wise up" on the issues and trust that intelligent things will get done? We got limited space, water and resources. We got growth that brings higher taxes and uses up our limited resources. (I include, btw, our very nice hills, views and vistas as limited resources). We got developer and real estate interests. We got more growth. We We got current residents with vested interests in preserving what we got and maybe don't want to pay higher and higher taxes to make room for more rich people that are gonna raise our taxes even more. Then we got the politicians. Let's look at Will Conley, Pct. 3. I hear he's pretty good at constituent services and getting private roads paved. But he's bullheaded and lousy at talking to folks with opposing viewpoints and hammering out decent compromises. He's also just loaded to the brim with Ulterior Motive and can't keep a commitment to a fellow politician if his life depended on it. How, oh wise one, do we get past this kind of crap so that all of us can do what's in our community's best interest. I know there's just got to be a solution in there somewhere.

Jon Thompson said...

"Don't Crowd Me" -
How about that maybe people of all political stripe would stop talking AT each other or PAST one another, and instead talk TO one another? Instead of when someone disagrees with another, the party with whom one disagrees doesn't take it as an attack, and then retaliate with more attacks, which then just ratchets up the rhetoric and the harsh feelings.

This is played out for the last twenty plus years on the national stage - Republicans in power, Democrats in power, both doing the exact same thing in regard to politics - doing their own agenda rather than an agenda that is good for all that all can buy into (yes, a centrist position - not too far left, not too far right - almost like what we saw in the 3rd and 4th year of President Clinton's first term after the Republican's won the House and Senate). They both have corruption in their parties that is condemnable and atrocious, and which both conveniently forget about when confronted with their own sins when pointing out the others.

What can we learn from this? That at the local level where we live together and share together the hopes and dreams that are really closer to the same than either care to realize, we MUST work out our differences and govern in such a way that makes sense for all parties concerned.

Specifics this morning? No. Ideas? Always. Though I hope and trust that I am not alone in this category. There appear to be level-headed people on both sides (and on no one's side) in this ruckus, but either all parties need to be heard and taken seriously. The war of words and outright war-like attitudes that belittle and besmirch people's reputations and intentions MUST stop or else we will never move beyond this impasse. It will continue from one election cycle to the next and will continue to be a vicious circle that only damages and destroys our great democracy.