Williamson County continues to grow with economic development partnership, official says

Williamson County Commissioners Court will meet Tuesday, Sept. 4, for a regular meeting.

Williamson County Commissioners Court will meet Tuesday, Sept. 4, for a regular meeting.

Since the Williamson County Economic Development Partnership formed about three years ago, the county has created thousands of jobs and brought in billions of invested dollars, said Ben White, president of the Williamson County Economic Development Partnership.

White, who is also the vice president of economic development for the Round Rock Chamber, presented an update of the EDP to the Williamson County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Tuesday.

White said Williamson County has added 9,135 jobs since the start of the partnership, including anticipated jobs when current projects are completed. A majority of those jobs are in service, hospitality and retail industries, but White added the EDP hopes to change that to manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical heavy sectors, as property taxes have proved to be more stable than sales taxes.

The county has also brought in more than $2.5 billion in investments through its ability to convince investors that Williamson County is the best place to relocate or expand their businesses.

“If a company lands in one of our communities, we’re all going to win. So we need to work together in order to land as many businesses in Williamson County as we can,” White said. “It doesn’t matter where they land as long as it’s in Williamson County.”

The partnership is between eight cities—Cedar Park, Georgetown, Hutto, Jarrell, Leander, Liberty Hill, Round Rock and Taylor—and the county, where they work together to bring businesses, jobs and investments to create growth in the county as a whole instead of competing with each other.

“This is a unique partnership that you don’t have in many counties across the state,” White said. “As we know, the cost of government only goes up and if we don’t grow these communities, taxes will rise as well. So this is a way to combat higher taxes.”

Project highlights

    • Cedar Park- Hyliion Project brings in $5.75 million and 229 jobs. Hyllion is a clean-tech energy company.

  • Georgetown- Holt/Caterpillar Project brings in $20 million and 129 jobs. Caterpillar sells heavy equipment, and the dealership would be the largest in the U.S. selling new and used equipment, White said.

  • Hutto- Titan Development is a $23 million in initial investment, which will bring more business space.

  • Jarrell- Flasher Equipment brought in $1.7 million and 17 jobs with its expansion project.

  • Leander- Leander is the future home of the Texas Bullion Depository headquarters, which will bring in $12 million in investments and 300 jobs. The nation’s first state-administered gold depository began operating in Austin in June but will move to Leander in 2019.

  • Liberty Hill- Liberty Hill opened with 75,000 square feet of office space going up. White said the community started with almost no empty space. This will allow for businesses to grow and expand.

  • Round Rock- The Kalahari Project is a $550 million project that will bring in a hotel, a water park, convention center, restaurants, bars and retail areas. It will also create 1,000 jobs. The project is projected to finish October 2020.

  • Taylor- The Valero Project—a regional fueling facility—is a $40 million investment that will bring 20 jobs.