Myth No. 2- Water Contract
We’re going to break this down, fact by fact.
Fact #1- The Heart of Texas contract called for a 33% increase in water volume in August. This effectively takes that severe hike and others planned in the coming years, off of the table. The purchase of this water asset for Hutto preserves our future helping us to control our own destiny and stabilizes rates for long term. As our population grows, and more people share the load, we can then start to see water rates going down.
With the purchase of the system, our current rate study will need to be revised. While rate relief may not be immediate but will allow for long-term stabilization.
Owning our own water is like moving from a variable rate of financing to a fixed rate and sustains our water rates, eliminating the huge spikes that were worked into our decade old contract. So, instead of multiple double-digit water rate hikes, we now have the ability to stabilize our rates.
Fact #2- The total price is $59 million, plus the cost of issuance, and will be funded by bonds secured by the ratepayers. Therefore, instead of residents’ paying an outside company, the money collected through utility bills will be utilized to allow the citizens to own their own water assets and supply.
Fact #3- This purchase means that instead of relying on others to supply our water, or having to renegotiate when growth increases or slows down, the City of Hutto will be in control of an important resource and will be able to pursue economic development.
Fact #4- The $59 million investment in purchasing the asset is set to yield approximately $200 million in savings over the next 40 years. This is a needed action to allow the City to be competitive and diversify our economy, with the practice of a 3-to-1 return on investments.
The City is always looking for a way to provide good returns on our investments. The City now owns this resource, we can manage it in a responsible, sustainable way. While the City does not expect to sell large volumes of water, we will continue to look at strategic partnerships with our surrounding entities.
So, the bottom line. This myth is mixed. The City is purchasing the water system to ensure water rates stabilize over the long-term and the huge, double digit rate hikes contemplated in the current HOT water contract are minimized for a smoother trend line in rates.
For more information on the projected costs of the contract, please click here.
Myth No. 1- Innovation Business Park
We’re going to bust this myth with some facts about Titan Development's Innovation Business Park.
Fact #1- At one point the City did refer to Innovation Business Park as an industrial park. We were wrong to do so.
Titan Development does plan and construct industrial parks, however, our zoning ordinances aren’t going to permit an industrial park to be built here. This will be a business park, and zoned Light Industrial, which determines what kinds of businesses will move in.
Fact #2- Those zoning ordinances mentioned in Fact #1 are restrictive on what will and won't be allowed in zoned areas.
Innovation Business Park will be zoned Light Industrial. The industrial uses listed below are in the Unified Development Code (UDC) with definitions.
Light industrial use: manufacturer, predominantly from previously prepared materials, of finished products or parts, including processing, fabrication, assembly, treatment, packaging, incidental storage, sales or distribution. Examples of light industrial uses include the manufacture of electronic instruments, preparation of food products, micro-brewing, musical instruments, and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Light industrial uses do not include uses such as mining and extraction, petrochemical industries, rubber refining, motor vehicle and heavy equipment manufacturing, primary metal or related industries. Light industrial uses are permitted in the LI and I districts.
Heavy industrial use: use engaged in the basic processing and manufacturing of materials or products predominately from extracted or raw materials, or engaged in the storage of, or manufacturing processes using flammable or explosive materials, or storage or manufacturing processes that may involve hazardous conditions. Heavy industry also includes work processes involving solvents, solid waste or sanitary waste transfer stations, recycling establishments, junkyards, and transport terminals (truck and rail terminals, container storage). Heavy industrial uses are prohibited in all zoning districts.
There are a lot of other things that may be done in a light industrial setting, such as research labs, call centers, trade use, and warehousing.
Fact #3- Due to the lay of the land, the Innovation Business Park will have a relatively deep setback. The longer distance and the required berm with landscaping will ensure minimal noise pollution. The city does also have a noise ordinance, and Hutto PD has noise meters available to make sure businesses are abiding by the law.
Fact #4- We’re going to work with the developer and the architects to make sure we use smart lighting, like directional LEDs, to reduce light pollution. No one wants lights shining in their bedroom windows, and we're going to work hard to make sure the business park is as dark-friendly as possible.
This myth is BUSTED, but we'll make sure to update residents on progress.