“The Story of Hutto” may have saved the best for last. This chapter of our series focuses on the 4th (and final) City of Hutto pillar: Create the Highest Quality of Life.
It’s no secret that Hutto is already a great place to live and has been for decades. But we’re striving to go from great to excellent! Day in and day out, City Council and staff are working hard to continue to make Hutto a “city of choice,” meaning a place where people want to live, work and shop. The FY 2023 proposed budget reflects this in four primary areas: parks and recreation, library, public safety, and transportation.
Parks and Recreation
One of the hardest hit areas during the City’s staff and budget cuts in 2020 was the Parks and Recreation Department (Parks & Rec). Almost all City-sponsored programs, events, camps and sports leagues were suspended or cancelled. As the City continues to recover, Parks & Rec has gradually started to bring back more staff and programming.
The FY 2023 budget includes funds to hire a recreation superintendent, who would be responsible for overseeing a gradual re-launch of City sports leagues, programs and other recreational activities for residents of all ages, as well as the expansion of programs already back up-and-running such as our ever-popular summer camp. A parks and recreation director position is also budgeted to oversee all aspects of the department, as well as work with the Parks Advisory Board and the Parks Foundation on improvements to and upkeep of our parks and trails.
With these additions and supporting materials, Parks & Rec will be able to bring back the youth basketball league this fall, adult softball leagues, and hopefully also a family campout event, Thanksgiving Camp, Winter Break Camp, and Resolution Race, among other great programs. They’d also bring back an enhanced Christmas Tree Lighting event in Downtown Hutto and other special experiences that make living here so wonderful.
The Hutto Public Library continues to bring back services and programs at a sustainable and responsible rate. Coming off a summer schedule that saw consistently high attendance at a variety of Library events, the FY 2023 budget includes plans to hire a full-time children’s librarian.
A vital role for any public library, the children’s librarian is central to the creation, planning, organizing and producing of Library programming aimed at kiddos of all ages. Programs such as story time, book clubs and game days provide children the opportunity to interact with literacy-based programs, helping ensure their success at school. These programs also provide families an avenue for their little ones to interact with others and work on the development of their social skills.
In addition, the children’s librarian will provide programming for elementary-age students, as well as young adults. This will give youth of all ages access to literacy and technology-based experiences outside of the school setting, further elevating the role of the Library and enhancing the quality of life for the whole community.
Feeling safe and secure plays a major role in the overall quality of life for residents of any city. Here in Hutto, we’re thankful for the women and men of the Hutto Police Department for their efforts in ensuring our community remains a safe place to live. The FY 2023 budget is designed to support those efforts.
Three additional police officers are budgeted for traffic control. These officers would focus primarily on roadway and traffic-related issues, helping to keep residents, workers and visitors safe as the number of vehicles on Hutto streets continues to grow. Traffic control officers are tasked with keeping roads safe from accidents, debris and other hazards, ultimately helping improve the flow of vehicles on City roads.
These three additional officers benefit the Hutto community not only by assisting with traffic control, but also by freeing up time for Hutto patrol officers to perform their traditional duties of patrolling the community and keeping our beloved neighborhoods safe.
If you’ve been following along with this “budget book,” fixing our streets has been a major theme so far and now continues in Chapter 4. While improving and expanding local streets and roads (as outlined in Chapter 3) plays a major role in improving the overall quality of life for residents, this section will focus on a subset of transportation: Mobility.
The proposed budget has included the necessary funding for the City to conduct a thorough transportation development study, with a particular focus on mobility. Think of mobility as the ability of residents and workers to easily access the programs, amenities and services the City is working so hard to bring back. The goal of this study is to analyze whether people can physically get to places like the Hutto Public Library, City parks, City Hall, Historic Downtown and other areas where services and programs are being offered through means other than a vehicle.
Pending the results of the study, mobility improvements will be gradually phased in during FY 2023 and beyond, paving the way (literally!) for folks in all areas of Hutto to better access the wide variety of amenities that the City has to offer.
While this may be the last chapter of our budget book, it’s certainly not the end of our story, or your chance to participate in the budgeting process. Stay tuned for our epilogue, where we’ll take a look at how the City tax rate figures into our story.
- Thursday, Sept. 1: The City Council's first official public hearing on the proposed budget, and the first of two readings to eventually adopt the budget
- Thursday, Sept. 8: A special called meeting of the City Council to consider the proposed tax rate
- Thursday, Sept. 15: A second/final reading to adopt the budget, and a formal vote to adopt the tax rate