Former Hutto Economic Development Corporation board of directors under police investigation

A Hutto Police vehicle sits outside City Hall.

A Hutto Police vehicle sits outside City Hall.

Hutto Police Chief Byron Frankland confirmed Thursday night that a criminal investigation is being conducted to look into possibly illegal allocations of public funds. Frankland said the Hutto EDC office is currently a crime scene and the Hutto police have a certified forensic auditor working on the investigation.

Hutto City Council subsequently voted Thursday to conduct an investigation into alleged improper use of taxpayer funds by the former Hutto Economic Development Corporation.

Council members Tom Hines and Nate Killough gave prepared statements in support of the resolution, which allows the city manager to support Hutto police in their investigation. Much of the focus of the council's statements surround the "megasite," a 1,200-acre property with access to rail and water.

Additionally, council members spoke of alleged questionable expenditure of taxpayer money by members of the former EDC board, including travel expenses, meals and tickets to an NFL game.

"The facts that have been uncovered are disturbing at best," Killough said. "The former board cost the city and its taxpayers more money. There are other expenses that, although not illegal, raise ethical questions."

City council voted in July to change Hutto's EDC from a type A board to a type B, effectively replacing the board members. The move was done, according to Hines, to attract new types of businesses to Hutto.

"I believe the council took the legal and necessary steps," Hines said Thursday. "[The former EDC board] refused to move in a direction as advised by the city council."
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.