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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.