While Texas and Williamson County have not been hit as hard an many other places around our country, it appears some of those issues are starting to “trickle down”. Several issues in Hutto were chronicled late last year. Growth slows in suburbs.
Few Texas towns grew faster than Hutto in the past decade.
A small farming community of 1,250 in 2000, the population has swelled to more than 17,000 as young families moved there in droves in search of affordable housing.
Nearly 950 new houses were built in the flat, treeless fields from mid-2005 to mid-2006.
Home builders started construction on just under 500 new houses in the 12 months ending in September, and city leaders expect that number to fall further in the coming year.
Today, the narrow country lanes once clogged with heavy construction trucks and obscured with clouds of dust are largely clear.
Few new houses were halted in progress, but a few subdivisions were abruptly abandoned, leaving paved cul-de-sacs lined with streetlights but no houses.
City officials originally projected that Hutto would collect more than $1.5 million in development and permitting fees in the 2007-08 budget year. Instead, the city collected $782,409 , and city leaders expect that amount to drop to just below $767,000 this year.
Financial troubles among national retailers are compounding the problem, and many are likely to postpone entering these markets as they weigh their own economic health and the fact that residential populations aren’t growing as quickly as once projected.
Blaming the economy and scarce financing, Atlantic Coast Developers said it will almost certainly postpone beginning construction on its 466-acre Crossings of Carmel Creek project at Texas 130 and U.S. 79, which it had announced would start next year.
When fully built, the Crossings of Carmel Creek would include 6 million square feet of retail and office space, 2,100 residential units and 900 hotel rooms.
Round Rock’s outlook is not as rosy as it used to be, Hope shines through in tough times.
Despite what economists are calling the worst recession in three decades, Round Rock’s assistant finance director, Cheryl Delaney, says the city is financially strong and still on-target to meet its FY 2009 budget.
“We have some of the lowest tax and utility rates in the area. We have excellent tax reserves. The pay-as-you-go capital program has saved our taxpayers approximately 10 cents on the tax rate,” Delaney told elected officials and city employees at their winter retreat Feb. 18. “And the thing we’re most excited about is our recent general obligation bond rating upgrade from AA to AA plus. I think that was significant that in this in environment we were able to have this upgrade.”
Round Rock’s FY 2009 budget shows a certified taxable property value of $8.1 billion.
Currently beginning her work on the city’s 2010 budget, Delaney is estimating a 3 percent decrease in taxable property value for the upcoming fiscal year – down to $7.8 billion – including new property added to the tax roles.
Sales tax also represents a significant portion of the city’s general fund revenue in the FY 2009 budget at $49 million, with Dell Inc. making up $19.5 million and all other sales tax revenue the remaining $29. 5 million.
For the upcoming fiscal year, Delaney is estimating a 7 percent year-to-year decline in the computer giant’s sales tax revenue and a 3 percent decline in all other sales tax revenue.
As a result, Delaney is currently anticipating a $3 million revenue shortfall in the city’s 2010 budget – assuming no new programs are added.
The TDP is reporting that Taylor Tax revenue slips.
Monthly sales tax revenue for the City of Taylor has fallen sharply since last year’s figures.
Property tax money also continues to flow in at a slower-than-expected pace, City Manager Jim Dunaway said, and city funds sitting in a bank are gaining an abysmal 0.7 percent interest rate.
The most recent sales tax revenue collected, $235,160, generated during December, typically the strongest month of sales because of the Christmas season, dropped about 40 percent from last year’s figures.
This graphic from the AAS recently on area sales taxes shows a mixed bag.
Austin and Round Rock both saw large drops in sales tax revenue in December, but some other Central Texas cities had healthy gains.
The cities that had increases included Kyle and Leander, which have seen new retail openings in recent months.
Now much of the budget woes of a particular city or county has to do with what their projections were for property values and sales tax revenue for the future. It’s doubtful many, if any, predicted slight increases, much less them going down significantly. But that’s the point of the stimulus is to keep the burden from falling even more on the middle class and the poor throughout our country. By the way have you seen how much it costs for a speeding ticket nowadays, it outrageous, not to mention those toll road fines, Woman receives toll road bill for more than $11,500.