Hutto amends parks, development fees

Hutto city council voted Dec. 7 to approve increases to fees related to its park's facilities and fields.

Hutto city council voted Dec. 7 to approve increases to fees related to its park's facilities and fields.

Hutto City Council voted Thursday night to raise several fee schedules for public park facility rentals, development fees and other fees outlined in the city code.

On the same night, council also voted to reallocate capital project funds from the 2017 fiscal year budget to the 2018 fiscal year budget.

Hutto Parks and Recreation Director Larry Foos presented increases to the city’s public facility rental and reservation fees to council members and defended the hikes, alleging that they are in line with fee schedules of similar cities.

“There hasn’t been a fee increase in a long time,” Foos said. “[They are] in line with what the market shows.”

Private, nonresident individuals and organizations will pay $250 for all-day use of Hutto’s public fields under the new fee schedule. Public recreational leagues will not be eligible for these fees and already have agreements with the Parks and Recreation Department, according to Foos.

Council member Terri Grimm cast the lone vote against the measure to raise the fee schedule for Hutto’s public parks and facilities.

“All I see is increase, increase, increase," Grimm said Thursday night.

City council also voted to increase fees related to development services, including fees for site division, zoning fees, building plan review fees, map and document plans and more.

“These fees have not been changed in probably three to five years,” said Helen Ramirez, director of Hutto Development Services Department.

Ramirez stated that most of the fees are for "larger, more sophisticated projects" and confirmed that the fees could still be waived in the future in the interest of economic incentives.

Though Ramirez said the cost of doing business in Hutto will remain competitive, she told council members that she believed that some of the fee increases were even "too conservative".

“We’ve actually gotten some comments that are fees are too low and that we’re not competitive in the market," Ramirez said.

Much of the Hutto City Council meeting Thursday night was dedicated to discussions regarding financial decisions. Council members voted to approve a final amendment to Hutto's 2017 fiscal year budget to include an increase of more than $550,000 to the city's general fund.

The 2017 budget will also see a $6.1M decrease to the city's utility fund and a $5.1M decrease to the capital improvement fund. Hutto officials said both decreases are due to bond proceed and project timing.

Council additionally voted to approve Hutto City Manager Odis Jones to spend up to $8M in bond proceeds on the Co-Op District for infrastructure improvements, equipment expenditures and more.
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.


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