Kyle State of the City address touches on economy, roads

Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson delivered the annual State of the City Address at the Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon at the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center on Feb. 26.

Johnson spoke on topics ranging from economic development to water usage to road repairs. At the beginning of the address, Johnson waxed sentimental about her first State of the City address in 2011.

"Looking back on my notes, I recall how passionate I was about a certain City Council policy statement just a week prior to that big event," Johnson said. "In the document, council outlined our economic development goals and envisioned our city as a full-service community. I'm happy to say that two years later, we are on our way to fully realizing that goal."

In 2012, 38 new businesses moved into Kyle, 11 of which were in the medical field. There are more new businesses expected to open in 2013 as well, including Ross Dress for Less, New Haven Assisted Living and Memory Care and others.

Johnson took a break from the news of positive economic development to discuss the city's increasing water consumption. In 2012, water consumption in Kyle increased 22 percent to 9,519 gallons per account, and it will not be long before the city must examine "stricter enforcement" of water restrictions, she said.

Johnson then switched gears to celebrate the recent deal between the Gonzales County Underground Water Conservation District and the Hays-Caldwell Public Utility Agency, a partnership between San Marcos, Kyle and Buda dedicated to securing long-term water rights for the area. Under terms of the deal, the HCPUA will be able to pump about 9.2 million gallons per day to the three cities.

"This good news, along with Kyle's expanded purchase of [Guadalupe-Blanc o River Authority] water two years ago, means that short term, Kyle is not in any danger of running out of water," Johnson said.

Johnson closed her address on the topic of the road bond election that City Council called Jan. 29. The bond election includes $35.3 million of construction and about $16.6 million of financing. Johnson said the improvements to the five thoroughfares—Goforth, Bunton Creek, Lehman and Burleson roads and Marketplace Avenue—had been a long time coming.

The improvements will be paid for through property taxes. According to City Finance Director Perwez Moheet's tax impact analysis, the effect on the average homeowner's annual property taxes would come out to about $259.48 over a six-year period. These estimates, however, assume zero growth, and Johnson said if the city continues growing at its current rate, the impact will be substantially lower.

"If sales tax collection increased 6 percent annually, along with a 2 percent annual rise in property values, the property tax impact would be about 9 cents, or $127 dollars annually," Johnson said.

Johnson said if the city's sales tax collection continues growing at 12 percent annually, along with a 2 percent annual increase in property value, there would be no effect of the bond on property taxes.