Hutto, Fast Growth And It’s Problems

Posted in HD-52, Landfill, SD 5, District 31, Had Enough Yet?, Williamson County at 2:21 pm by wcnews

The Hutto News has a couple of stories that are worth reading.

First this one on the ever-increasing population, Hutto growing, but how big?

The population signs in Hutto indicate it has 1,250 inhabitants - a figure that’s no doubt mismatched in this city where houses seem to sprout faster than weeds.

But just how large it’s grown depends on who you ask.

In 2006, the City of Hutto released a population estimate of 17,227. Matthew Lewis, director of community development for the city, said he based the 17,227 figure on housing unit estimates in the incorporated area of the city, where he found 4,904 housing units. His total estimates about 3.5 people live in each household.

Lewis’ estimate of the population within Hutto’s extraterritorial jurisdiction is 37,465.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its population estimates for Texas communities, assigning a more conservative estimated population of 9,572 to Hutto.

Link to the Texas spreadsheet here (.XLS). Not only is it Hutto, but Round Rock is estimated to be 92,000+ and Pflugerville at almost 30,000.

With that growth come issue like where to put all the trash created by those new residents. Which leads to the second article, Waging war over waste. It’s quite a bit of the same information that was written about at EOW last week. It does show the renewed actions by the coalition and it’s efforts to inform citizens of the county about this issue:

“Since local organizations are so well organized, we are seeking the county’s eyes,” Zac Trahan of Texas Campaign for the Environment said.

New efforts will focus on making all county residents aware of the landfill issues and broaden discussion beyond Hutto and Eastern Williamson County, Trahan said. A press statement released by TCE is peppered with quotes and concerns from individuals and city officials from Circleville, Round Rock and Leander.

Texas Campaign for the Environment has been in the fight since 2004, when county commissioners approved a permit application to expand the landfill from 225 to 575 acres and raise the height cap from 74 to 140 feet. At the time, the TCE canvassed the Hutto area, moving door-to-door to inform residents, Trahan said, but they have slowly backed out of the forefront of the issue as local grassroots groups took over the expansion protest. They will return to canvassing Hutto from now until August, Trahan said.

“Texas Campaign for the Environment has been less involved over the last seven or eight months,” said Jeff Maurice, chair of the landfill committee for the Hutto Citizens Group, a local grassroots organization involved in the coalition. “With the permit application reaching its critical stages, with the contract with Waste Management reaching critical stages, it is a good time to invigorate their efforts.”

The article does go into the coalitions partnering with one WMI’s competitor Texas Disposal Systems.

In a flyer mailed to county residents describing these key points, four Web sites are listed for more information linking to the TCE, the Hutto Citizens Group, and the site for A Better Wilco.

The fourth Web site, wmiinformation.com, links to several public sources and articles chronicling WMI landfill violations across the United States. A disclaimer at the bottom says the site was developed by landowners near the Williamson County landfill and is administered by Texas Disposal Systems.

“The county has made comments on a number of occasions that we are just puppets of TDS,” Maurice said. “However, I believe that in doing that, they are just trying to swing the focus away from the real issues of expansion and operation of the landfill, which is critical and will have a critical impact on our community.”

Noted. This is the classic smear the messenger, if they can’t win the argument they’ll smear their opponent. this information is of little consequence as long as the county continues to do business in secret and doesn’t allow competitive bidding on the new landfill contract.

Form more information on this issue be sure and check out A Better Wilco and the landfill page that has with loads of information by the Texas Campaign for the Environment.

And, last but not least, be sure and show up at Carmine’s Pizza in Hutto tonight at 6:30pm for the Hutto Citizens Group meeting.

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