Hutto Council approves additional funds for Williamson ESD No. 3

Hutto City Council members authorized the payment of approximately $100,000 in additional funding to ESD No. 3 during a  council meeting Jan. 21.

City Manager Karen Daly presented the resolution and outlined payment details to be paid over a one-year period. She said the resolution was a temporary solution to delay a potential sales tax increase from the ESD.

On Oct. 21, 2015, the Williamson County Emergency Services District No. 3, also known as Hutto Fire and Rescue, ordered a sales tax election for May 7, Daly said. The election order included levying the full two percent of local sales tax in the unincorporated areas of their service district, she said.

"This ESD election could have a very detrimental effect on the city’s ability to grow outside its existing boundaries,” Daly said.

She referenced a Jan. 12 joint task force meeting, which included officials from the city, county, Hutto ISD and the ESD, that addressed alternatives to the potential sales tax increase planned for the May ballot.

“At the meeting, it was agreed that the city could supplant the sales tax dollars that the ESD would have received in the sales tax election if the ESD would consider canceling the May 2016 election, “ Daly said.  “The resolution before you authorizes the payment of $8,333.33 per month, for one year, in exchange for the cancellation of the May 2016 election. Please keep in mind this is a temporary fix, and the work of the task force is still greatly needed.”

The resolution passed by a unanimous 6-0 vote.

Earlier in the meeting, Bill Brown, ESD No. 3 board president, outlined a series of events that led to his endorsement of the proposal and highlighted his position of what it would take to cancel the proposed sales tax increase.

“In the meeting, they asked what it take to postpone this election for one year. So, give us $100,000, to show us you’re committed to working with us, over the next 12 months, payable in monthly installments and I will take that back to my board and see if they would be willing to delay this election and work something out," Brown said.