UPDATE: PfISD voters reject ACC annexation

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Update 10:15 p.m. Kevin Pakenham, spokesperson for Pflugerville Residents for Responsible Taxation, a group that led efforts opposing Pflugerville ISD’s annexation into the Austin Community College district said he was pleased with the effort that went in to opposing the proposition.

“Regardless of the outcome, we’re happy about the impact we’ve had,” Pakenham said. “From day one we’ve been an absolute grass roots campaign about getting the message out about what a bad deal that ACC proposed with this annexation. We want to thank all the supporters, volunteers and voters.”

Tammy Smith, chairwoman of Pflugerville Pfriends 4 ACC, in support of annexation said she worries that the results of this election will leave Pflugerville ISD behind other area districts.

“We are disappointed,” Smith said. “Education is at the core of success for a person and community. When no one is left behind, we all get ahead. With this loss, Pflugerville will get left behind. The ISDs of Austin, Round Rock, Leander, Manor, Elgin, Del Valle and Hays have already joined ACC. Their students and workforce benefit greatly from the tuition reduction. This is a huge blow for Pflugerville; one that I hope we can recover from, but not a long time.”

Update 9:24 p.m.: Pflugerville ISD residents have rejected Austin Community College’s annexation proposal, according to Travis County election returns. With 93.71 percent of votes recorded, the measure was rejected by 53.45 percent of the vote.

Original post: Unofficial early voting totals show Pflugerville ISD voters rejecting a proposal for annexation into Austin Community College’s taxation district by 53.47 percent.

If annexed into the ACC district, PfISD residents will see a median increase of $268.63 in property taxes and a decrease of about $3,312 per semester, if enrolled in the college.

Election Day results are expected to come in shortly after 7 p.m. Community Impact Newspaper will update results as they continue to come in.

The results, as reported by Travis and Williamson Counties, are unofficial until canvassed.

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  1. Re: UPDATE: PfISD voters reject ACC annexation

    Hi Iain,

    I believe you are reading the election results incorrectly. As of now, only 227 votes from election day have been counted. You’re using the participation rate as the percentage of total votes counted:
    Total Race Participation: 25,153 of 26,846 total votes cast or 93.69%

    The way I’m reading the results, there is still a long way to go!

    Thanks,

    Carrie

  2. I bet the developers plopping down mega apartment complexes with hundreds and thousands of new residents who are also bedfellows of the good ole boys at the PCDC are happy now that they are saving so much on taxes every year. I wonder if someone got a pay off for that. I loved seeing all the signs on businesses front lawns. I am not supporting a single business that isn’t interested in funding the future of Pflugerville. Fact: The future is the children. I hope Kevin and his affordable education hating friends are ready to deal with what happens in a town where the population of people aged 15-25 is booming but there is no where for them to go for affordable education, no good jobs, and absolutely NOTHING to do.

    Are new multifamily residential developments receiving reduced or deferred real estate taxes? Where is the info available for the general public on where the funds in this city are going and where secret tax favors are being made? It is awfully fishy that there are nothing but mega apartment complexes with hundreds of units going up all over town and a bill that benefits the children of long-term residents that actually live here in this town gets voted down. If we had a real newspaper in this town maybe someone would report on that. Great step backward, Pflugerville.

    • @ Pfresident. If you and other folks feel so guilty about not paying enough taxes, why not create a website or some type of non profit where folks like you can contribute what you would have paid in taxes yearly and apply them to Pville students going to or wanting to go to ACC?

      I for one do not want my taxes going up more than what they are already. Glad this was defeated along with Beto.

    • Buisness owner

      I voted no. The tax rates are too high, and so are you if you think the rest of us should be forced into paying. Glad it failed.

    • Everyone in Pflugerville can go to ACC, no one is denying them. Motivated, smart students that want cheaper tuition can move a few blocks north or south of Pflugerville and get in-district tuition.

      ACC has campuses in Round Rock and on Metric which are at the most 10 minutes away. ACC does not need a campus in Pflugerville.

      Motivated people who want good jobs go to the locale where the good jobs are…that would be Austin. Companies are begging for people, the unemployment rate is 2%.

      • Well, as my post implied, kids will be leaving Pf and those that stay will take all the “wonderful” jobs in Pflugerville. Let’s look at the percentage of high-quality jobs available in Pf and no I don’t count retail at grocery stores, auto shops, fast food restaurants and gas stations high-quality jobs. Community impasse should report if there is some incredible number of high yielding sustainable jobs available for kids with no college education that are low income. We are at over 60,000 people with a growth rate between 8-12% every year, correct? PCDC giving handouts to major corporations that will generate 25 jobs over the next 10 years is a pathetic investment. Why are all the handouts going to companies bringing their own workforce and promising very little to Pf, or companies that are complete scams and failures (Hawaiian Falls) ok but a so-called “hand out” to Pf residents and Pf children that will actually use it to improve their lives and this community is not? What sort of handouts are being given to multi-family rental unit developers in Pf? It sounds like it is only scary “socialism” when it benefits the lower income brackets, but repackaged as “incentives” when it helps Bubba’s cousin developer looking to create 250 rental units or some corporation looking to expand their footprint and looking for a gullible community willing to foot the bill. You know what, that is exactly what the corporations and shady backroom Bubbas reaping the benefits want you to believe, good job, you bought into it. If you are anti-socialism, and over 65, you are welcome to donate all of your social security and not accept it. Also, go ahead and stop paying your taxes, I guess. No need to pay into programs that help manage the roads, the police force, the local government for the collective good and benefit others in the community.

        Oh and before anyone assumes I voted for ACC because I have kids that benefit from it. No, I don’t have kids. I just see the benefit in expanding the value of the community in which I live. Look around Pflugerville, it’s pretty clear that putting value in this community isn’t Pflugerville’s top priority and hasn’t been for a very long time. This is a highway town that people come to for gas and that truth falls squarely on the shoulders of those who have been put in place to make beneficial decisions for this city. No improvements to certain areas of Pflugerville for over 15 years and yet, tons of money keeps getting sunk into new East Pflugerville roads and new East Pflugerville development. Pflugerville is a display of urban sprawl, questionable backroom incentives at the expense of its citizens, and bad city planning at its finest. I drove through Hutto recently and Woah! It has surpassed Pflugerville in amenities for its citizens in the last 6 years. Funny how the population of Hutto is so much smaller and yet so much more is getting done there, must have something to do with who is pulling the purse strings in Pf. Well, I got sidetracked, but just pointing out if you are so opposed to high taxes, how about starting to hold Pflugerville accountable for how our taxes are being used/misused presently.

        The average $200 – $268 per household a year tax increase would have been between $16-$22 a month for ACC. If that is a lot of money for people, I hope that means you don’t have a smoking habit, a drinking habit, or any other ridiculous way you spend money on yourself because you just valued that addiction or entertainment over bettering people’s lives. I pay that amount between my Netflix and Amazon subscription combined, as I am sure most people do as well. If you pay for the horrible cable/internet in this town as I do, you likely pay 3 X the amount of this ACC tax yearly. After you look at what the average household spends well above that ACC tax amount annually on, that amount really would have been nothing for the trade-off. If I had kids, I would not move here for all of the reasons I mentioned before, but now also including this rejection of affordable education and the mindset behind it. I moved here because it was cheaper than Austin, the end. Nothing else here of interest. I can’t say that I have ever met anyone under 40 in the last 8 years that lives here that has said otherwise. My neighbors that moved here in the 80s/90s moved here because they liked the small town feel and community. I am sure it was great back then when it was a very different type of town. (They voted for ACC by the way. Their kids are all past college age.) I am sorry, but the truth is this isn’t a small town anymore, I wish it was. It’s time to start planning and preparing for the future and the population growth that is happening.

        We need more genuine progressive efforts to improve this community. Pf doesn’t have the appeal of a small town or the amenities of a larger city and is stuck in this state of highway urban sprawl purgatory. It has affordable housing and less crime (for now) but looking at the numbers of residents aged 15-25 on the rise and nowhere to go, that is going to play out statistically if they stay here and are not able to improve their quality of life. Really disappointing, but not surprising I guess, it is Pflugerville after all. *sigh* The end.

        • P'ville citizen

          Extremely well written response especially this part:

          “It has affordable housing and less crime (for now) but looking at the numbers of residents aged 15-25 on the rise and nowhere to go, that is going to play out statistically if they stay here and are not able to improve their quality of life.

          Unfortunately many echo the mindset of the rest of the country, a level of selfishness which just grows by the day. Everyone just cares about themselves and their taxes that’s it, this is the same thought process that has landed our current President which gave huge tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations however, many have already forgotten or turned a blind eye. Now, a small tax increase to help the community access college cheaper comes up on the ballot and everyone goes apesh*t and yell socialism because it doesn’t benefit many of them personally. How pathetic? I’m not saying this proposal was perfect but the level of push back and selfishness makes me sick. As Americans we rise or fall together, many forget this until some tragic event hits close to home and puts everything in perspective again. News flash folks, it’s a global economy now, we aren’t the only leader anymore, we need every advantage we can get.

    • I can very much understand any motivation that the mega-apartment developers would have had to fund the anti-ACC annexation effort. An extra ACC tax would just raise the cost of the rent they have to charge, making their apartments less competitive in the market. However, if PCDC spent a single nickel of our taxpayer money lobbying against the ACC annexation, I would LOVE to hear about it. That would be a huge betrayal of every residential property owner with kids attending ACC.

      • “However, if PCDC spent a single nickel of our taxpayer money lobbying against the ACC annexation, I would LOVE to hear about it.

        ——

        Well, Berney, I would love to hear about it too, but unfortunately, the only rag we have in this town is Community Impasse and you know they are basically owned by the PCDC right? They are only here for the real estate moguls that pay for them and local businesses that want to post ads and coupons, real reporting especially when it comes to the PCDC doesn’t happen. I can’t remember one time when Community Impasse revealed anything that wasn’t beneficial in some way for the PCDC or showed them in anything but a positive light. It is all thinly veiled promotions, adverts for the glorious shinings of the workings of the PCDC and info about the new businesses receiving handouts coming to town. Does RoundRock have a real paper? Does Cedar Park? Why doesn’t Pflugerville?

        As far as real estate moguls running these apartment units of thousands of residents being able to stay competitive and offer lower rent courtesy of being able to skirt another tax that would have benefited actual long-term Pflugerville residents. Good for them, but that hardly seems great for Pflugerville. People moving here only because the apartments are cheaper? People that will likely only stay in PF for 1-3 years with no connection at all to the community. Is there a limit on how many rental units vs homes that Pf is allowing developers to create? It sure doesn’t seem like it. How many thousands of rental units went up this year? What kind of town will this be when every decision the city makes is for the favor of the developers that live in Dallas or California or where ever instead of long-term residents that pay taxes to own a house here? You know what happens? Hawaiian PFAILs.

  3. Beto (my nickname as well)

    “Education is at the core of success for a person and community. When no one is left behind, we all get ahead. With this loss, Pflugerville will get left behind…”-Tammy Smith. I find this statement difficult to understand, citizens of Pflugerville are not denied the opportunity to attend ACC.

    I’d like to share information regarding an existing Pfisd and ACC relationship…dual credit is allowed. You are welcome to text the following, if you have any questions. Text @phsacc to 81010 for Dual Credit Updates. (re: Pflugerville High School)

    no need for tax increase,

    Albert

  4. Kenneth Boylan

    Why not implement a sin or gas tax or some other creative means it would be miniscule. In principle I am tired of seeing us homeowners targeted through our property taxes as the panacea for whatever financial needs come down the road.

  5. Such a shame. It makes our community less desirable and puts additional hardship on those trying trying to get a degree without coming out the other end tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Closes the door to many.

    According to ACC website tuition and fees for 15 hours is $10,890 for an out of district kid (Pflugerville) while someone only a mile or two away can pay $2,550. It’s literally cheaper for students to move out of Pflugerville to an in-district area to attend ACC – if they can do that. If I were considering where to live and buying a house – being out of district would definitely sway me away from Pflugerville.

  6. @JXB

    Its your mindset that is a shame. The reason why it is cheaper in other areas is because those areas take resources from people and then give them to another. How is it fair for residents that wont be utilizing ACC to be paying for YOUR kids!? Its nothing more than socialist wealth redistribution, and I’m glad it failed. People are fed up of the free hand outs at our expense.

    • P'ville citizen

      Hey Patriot, I don’t have kids and I pay taxes which fund schools and other things I don’t benefit from. You see me crying? That’s how it works, it’s been like that for decades. People with your attitude are part of the problem, you’re quick to throw out the “socialist” word however where were you when hawaiian falls got all those tax incentives and they bailed??

      More like “unpatriotic”.

  7. Independent guy

    Fascinating results for that ACC annexation vote! I wonder what would happen if they gave the same voting opportunity to existing ACC in-district property owners to renew or reject their current annexation.

  8. Thank you fellow residents that helped defeat the ACC tax scam. Other cities around are also doing fine not being part of the ACC mess. Once in the tax district, it will continue increasing. The semester saving for maybe 1-2 years for a student savings verse a tax we all pay (even if you are not attending) continues for as long as you live here. Makes no sense. Plus ACC needs to be looked into for the $$$$$$ they are getting and what they use it for, it’s not hard to see, just open your eyes.

  9. Chronic Complainer

    – I agree with everybody who thinks it’s not fair that kids should be priced out of a college education, as is currently the case for many.
    – I agree with all the property owners who think that property taxes are already too high – they are!
    – I agree with everybody who thinks that there are great benefits to having a highly educated workforce
    – I agree with the state for sending less money to ACC because of the state’s new “pay for performance” strategy.
    – I agree that many kids who live in Pville are using Austin and Round Rock addresses to avoid the ridiculous out of district rates
    – I agree that kids who do very well can get scholarships, and take ACC classes in their high schools for almost nothing, but most community college kids are not that good.
    – I agree that local business had a lot of incentive for pouring money into the effort to defeat annexation, and that isn’t fair. Who paid for that big billboard sign on Pecan street? That must have cost some serious money.
    – I agree with those who say there are very few good white collar jobs in Pville, and that needs to change
    – I agree with everybody who criticizes PCDC for past disasters like Hawaiian Falls, when the money wasted on that project could have put quite a few local kids through college, or at least subsidized their tuition.
    – I agree with anybody who suggests that PCDC may have had motivation to lobby against this annexation to make their job of attracting new businesses to the city easier – even if such an effort hurts local kids who want to go to college.
    – For all you local businesses that put money into supporting annexation, please stand up and make yourself known, so that we can better patronize your business. Conversely, if you are a business that put money into defeating annexation, please stand up so that we can boycott your business.

    No matter what side you’re on, this issue isn’t going away. It’ll be on the ballot again, hopefully with a better offer. Pville just sent a massive shock wave through the ACC boardroom. Hopefully this will also cause Austin taxpayers to demand a better deal for their ACC tax dollars. Nuff Said.-

    • I would also like to know who paid for the Anti-ACC billboard on Pecan. As Berney from above stated:

      ” if PCDC spent a single nickel of our taxpayer money lobbying against the ACC annexation, I would LOVE to hear about it. That would be a huge betrayal of every residential property owner with kids attending ACC.”

      If only we had an organization on the side of the Pflugerville residents that would be willing to investigate these things. Maybe someone at ACC has access to finding out this info and reporting it back to interested parties? We know Community Impact won’t be doing it.

  10. Charlene Cooksley

    In defense of PCDC, I seriously doubt if they lobbied against that ACC annexation. That would have been an absurd thing for any government supported entity to do with our tax money. Admittedly, PCDC has made some TERRIBLE mistakes in the past with our tax money (i.e., Hawaiian Falls), and they probably hold the record for the most failed business dealings of any EDC on the planet. However, no matter how much they are despised by the general community, they’re still way too smart to get involved in local politics. That said, I do wonder which businesses in this town helped pay for that big expensive anti-ACC sign on Pecan street, by Pflugerville High. Do any of those Anti-ACC businesses require college degrees from any of their employees? Any local business that that doesn’t want to support our college students doesn’t deserve my patronage.

  11. PFinking about the Pfuture

    Absurdities and the PCDC seem to go hand in hand, so I wouldn’t be surprised. If government agencies can misuse public funds, then entities supported by the government that are supposed to report back to those agencies certainly can abuse them as well. Are you familiar with the case of Charlene Corley? She was a government contractor that defrauded the US Department of Defense out of millions of dollars. She was selling 20 cent screws to them for thousands of dollars and she got away with it for years. It all started when she made a mistake on an invoice and realized that no one ever noticed, then she took advantage of it. So apparently, it is only a bad /absurd idea to some people if they get caught. Anyway, it wasn’t that long ago that we heard about the tax fraud investigations happening with the Pflugerville Tax office. That place was closed for a month or two while investigations were ongoing.

    “The grand jury stated in the report that it found evidence of “inadequate supervision, poor accountability, bad management and outright negligence” that enabled the loss of likely millions of tax dollars.

    “We recognize the longstanding operational weaknesses,” Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough done fast enough [to address the issues].” – from CI article on Travis County Tax Office fraud investigations

    So basically there isn’t enough oversight and shady people with access to our tax dollars are just getting away with abusing public funds left and right. I really wouldn’t put it past them. You can’t blame me for being suspicious. We need more oversight and transparency in this town.

  12. My husband and I lived in Pflugerville for 8 years. When we decided we were going to have a family, we immediately looked for a house in Round Rock or Austin (Wells Branch area) because we didn’t like the Pflugerville school district and it wasn’t in-district at ACC. Pflugerville is missing out on long-term residents by not offering the same amenities surrounding towns have.

  13. Why isn’t there a ACC campus being built in Pflugerville last time I heard we were the 11th fastest growing city in the nation for gods sakes? Find the money somewhere else other than on the backs of homeowners for a change after all we are building hotels, restaurants, a 45 acre mixed use domain concept. Some may say I’m comparing apples to oranges but I say creativity is a beautiful thing. Lets get up to speed…….

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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 reporter for Northwest Austin.
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