The unanimous council vote came one day after the DSISD board of trustees also voted to approve Washburn’s appointment to the board, a move that board Vice President Mary Jane Hetrick called “perfunctory.” Washburn succeeds former interim Superintendent Nola Wellman in his new board position.
The TIRZ board serves to review and enforce the projects of Dripping Springs’ TIRZ—an economic development tactic used in growing Texas cities in which key development zones are assigned a base tax value, with 50% of tax value that exceeds that base amount in subsequent years to be reinvested in the zone’s infrastructure.
Dripping Springs has two TIRZ zones. The first covers the downtown area of Dripping Springs, including City Hall, the administration building for DSISD, Mercer Street and Old Fitzhugh Road. The second covers properties near Bunker Hill and Arrow Ranch.
According to the city, a high-priority project of the TIRZ includes the Town Center Project, which is intended to “redevelop underutilized property that is currently owned by the City of Dripping Springs and the Dripping Springs Independent School District near the western end of Mercer Street,” and to “strengthen the economic vitality of the Mercer Street Historic District and Downtown Dripping Springs as a destination.”
The TIRZ board includes nine members representing major stakeholders of the TIRZ, including the Dripping Springs Community Library District, DSISD, the city and the county. Members meet monthly and work to make recommendations regarding the TIRZ to council.