City Government has a number of standard words and phrases that you may or may not have heard of. The following is a list of some of those terms together with an explanation of their meaning, which will help you understand the workings or City Government.
CCN - Certificate of Convenience and Necessity
A Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) gives a CCN holder the exclusive right to provide retail water and/or sewer utility services to an identified geographic area. Chapter 13 of the Texas Water Code requires a CCN holder to provide continuous and adequate service to the area within the boundary of its CCN. Municipalities and districts normally are not required to have a CCN; however some municipalities and districts do have a CCN. A district or municipality may not provide retail water or sewer services within an area for which another utility holds a CCN unless the district or municipality has a CCN for the area.
A CCN does not mean the area served by the CCN is under annexation agreement or will be forced to accept utility services offered by the municipality.
CDGB - Community Development Block Grant
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.
The CDBG program works to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses. CDBG is an important tool for helping local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities.
The annual CDBG appropriation is allocated between States and local jurisdictions called "non-entitlement" and "entitlement" communities respectively. Entitlement communities are comprised of central cities of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs); metropolitan cities with populations of at least 50,000; and qualified urban counties with a population of 200,000 or more (excluding the populations of entitlement cities). States distribute CDBG funds to non-entitlement localities not qualified as entitlement communities.
Over a one-, two-, or three-year period, as selected by the grantee, not less than 70 percent of CDBG funds must be used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons. In addition, each activity must meet one of the following national objectives for the program: benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or address community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community for which other funding is not available.
EDC - Economic Development Corporation
Economic development corporations are generally established to assist existing and new businesses located in a particular geographic area through a variety of activities including grants, loans, information and expertise, or creation of development opportunities. EDCs are funded through sales tax revenue.
Hutto's EDC is both a Type A and Type B, expanding the types of development and assistance available to business looking to Hutto for opportunities.
The Type A sales tax is primarily intended for manufacturing and industrial development. EDCs may use Type A revenue to fund land, buildings, equipment, facilities expenditures, targeted infrastructure and improvements for projects including:
- manufacturing and industrial facilities, recycling facilities, distribution centers, and small warehouse facilities;
- research and development facilities, regional or national corporate headquarters facilities, primary job training facilities operated by higher education institutions, job training classes, telephone call centers and career centers not located within a junior college taxing district;
- certain infrastructure improvements that promote or develop new or expanded business enterprises;
- aviation facilities;
- commuter rail, light rail or commuter bus operations;
- port-related facilities, railports, rail switching facilities, marine ports, inland ports; and
- maintenance and operating costs associated with projects.
With voter approval, Type A EDCs may fund projects eligible under Type B without voting to abolish the Type A tax and impose the Type B tax. In this situation, a Type A EDC must publish notice of its intent to fund a Type B project, hold at least one public hearing and conduct a special election.
Type A EDCs also may seek voter approval to spend Type A sales tax funds to clean up contaminated property.
A Type A corporation cannot assume, or pay principal or interest on, debts that existed before voters agreed to establish the EDC.
The Type B sales tax may be used for any project eligible under Type A rules and several other project types, including quality of life improvements. Type B corporations may pay for land, buildings, equipment, facilities, targeted infrastructure and improvements for:
- professional and amateur sports and athletic facilities, tourism and entertainment facilities, convention facilities and public parks;
- related store, restaurant, concession, parking and transportation facilities;
- related street, water and sewer facilities; and
- affordable housing.
To promote and develop new and expanded business enterprises that create or retain primary jobs, a Type B EDC may fund:
- public safety facilities;
- recycling facilities;
- streets, roads, drainage and related improvements;
- demolition of existing structures;
- general municipally owned improvements; and
- maintenance and operating costs associated with projects.
Type B EDCs also may seek voter approval to spend Type B sales tax funds for a water supply, water conservation program or cleanup of contaminated property.
ESD - Emergency Services District
The ESD is an independent governmental entity with the power to levy a tax to provide fire protection and/or emergency medical service in a rural, or formerly rural area. ESDs ensure adequate funding for local fire, EMS, rescue, and other emergency services, and spread funding needs for emergency services among everyone that might receive those services.
Many ESDs started as rural fire prevention districts and in 2003, the Texas Legislature declared ESDs the preferred method for delivering fire protection and emergency medical response. All remaining rural fire prevention districts were converted to ESDs.
HPC - Historic Preservation Commission
The Historic Preservation Commission works with ongoing development in the community to support incentives for revitalization, protect historic properties and structures in the City of Hutto, and provide education to today’s youth who stand to inherit the future of Hutto.
LOI - Letter of Intent
A letter of intent (LOI) is a document outlining the general plans of an agreement between two or more parties before a legal agreement is finalized. While a letter of intent is not a contract and cannot be legally enforced, it signifies a serious commitment from one involved party to another.
A letter of intent serves as a distilling process to encourage all parties agreeing to the LOI to think about their goals, ability to commit, resources and issues prior to a legally binding contract being produced and signed.
MMP - Mobility Master Plan
A mobility plan is a comprehensive plan developed to address mobility needs within a City.
The City of Hutto’s Mobility Master Plan includes walking needs, biking needs, transit and freight needs. This plan includes a prioritized list of improvements for each travel need, and identifies the lead transportation agency — City, County, State or TxDOT. The plan also recommends land use density by functional classification of city streets and sets the standards for street and walkway spacing, as well as access management.
The plan also includes recommendations for traffic impact fee program to fund transportation investments to serve growth, and incorporates stakeholder and community outreach throughout the entire planning process.
MOU - Memorandum of Understanding
Like a letter of intent, the MOU is a document outlining the general plans of a agreement between two or more parties prior to signing a legally binding contract. In the United States, a LOI and a MOU are often used interchangeably.
MUD - Municipal Utility District
A Municipal Utility District (MUD) is a political subdivision of the State of Texas authorized by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to provide water, sewage, drainage and other utility-related services within the MUD boundaries.
MUDs vary in size, but they generally serve master-planned communities of a few hundred households. Overall, Texas has more than 1,200 special districts, many of which are located outside of city limits where there are no municipal services.
PARD - Parks and Recreation Department
The Hutto Parks and Recreation Department is committed to the well being and increasing the quality of life for the citizens of Hutto through beautiful parks, trails, events, and programs. Hutto Parks and Recreation hopes to provide activities and programs for all residents of Hutto to enjoy.
PID - Public Improvement District
A Public Improvement District is a defined geographical area established to provide specific types of improvements or maintenance which are financed by assessments against the property owners within the area. PIDs provide a development tool that allocates costs according to the benefits received.
PUD - Planned Unit Development
The term Planned Unit Development (PUD) is used to describe a type of development and the regulatory process that permits a developer to meet overall community density and land use goals without being bound by existing zoning requirements.
The PUD designation is requested by the developer and applied at the time a project is approved. The PUD may include provisions to encourage clustering of buildings, designation of common open space, and incorporation of a variety of building types and mixed land uses.
A PUD is planned and built as a unit thus fixing the type and location of uses and buildings over the entire project, and may benefit the community with more open space, efficient site design, and lower costs for the developer.
TIRZ - Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone
TIRZ stands for “Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.” TIRZs are used as forms of tax increment financing, which is an economic development tool to incentivize both development and redevelopment. A TIRZ establishes a “base tax value” for a designated geographic area when the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone is created. Once that base tax value is established, a TIRZ reallocates the additional ad valorem property taxes in the zone.
When a TIRZ is created, the city records the sum of the ad valorem property tax at the time of the TIRZ creation for the properties within that zone. The City records that number as the “base tax value.”
Each year, within the TIRZ, the property taxes collected up to that “base tax value” number continue to go into the City’s general fund, as most taxes do.
As properties in the TIRZ develop and become more valuable, any additional property taxes collected, over and above that “base tax value” number, go directly into a TIRZ fund. Those TIRZ property taxes can only be used within the TIRZ, and can be used for infrastructure, facade programs, landscaping, street-scaping, or practically any type of public enhancements to the zone.
ZBA - Zoning Board of Adjustments
In general, the board of adjustment is the body established to handle several different issues pertaining to City zoning. These issues include hearing appeals of decisions rendered by zoning administrators, interpreting unclear provisions in the zoning ordinance, deciding on applications by landowners to permit buildings or land uses which vary from the zoning regulations, and in some cases, reviewing applications that require the exercise of discretion, such as special exceptions to an ordinance.