Hays County and San Marcos officials will partner in the coming years to establish a 25-year Transportation Reinvestment Zone (TRZ) to help repay borrowed funds from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
The city and county will be involved in a future project to build a loop connecting Interstate Highway 35 to State Highway 80 in an effort to reduce congestion. TxDOT officials will provide the $48 million in funds required for the project up front, said Steve Parker, director of finance for the city. The city and county will be splitting the cost of the project in half, Parker said.
Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, Precinct 1, said the creation of the TRZ is a method to fund large transportation projects. The property taxes for the county and city will be split and a portion of the money will go toward TxDOT to repay the initial funding, Ingalsbe said.
This will not affect land owners’ tax rates and will only apply to properties bought after the project is completed, Ingalsbe said.
“The (initial) partnership is going to be with TxDOT and Hays County for the road construction,” Ingalsbe said.
Parker said Hays County officials are currently working with TxDOT to finalize an agreement with proposed plans for the FM 110 TRZ. Once an agreement is set with TxDOT, Hays County will work with the City of San Marcos to finalize the responsibilities each party will perform in relation to the TRZ, Ingalsbe said.
“We have a preliminary agreement, but we have to get that formalized in writing,” Parker said.
The estimated cost for the construction of FM 110 is $60 million, Ingalsbe said.
Hays County hired TXP Inc., an economic and public policy consulting firm, to conduct an analysis for the TRZ, according to Ingalsbe. The analysis identified properties currently located along the new proposed construction site for FM 110 and the taxable value for other nearby properties.
According to Travis James, vice president and economist at TXP, the analysis included a breakdown of “land use” categories with corresponding acreage and total taxable values.
The analysis estimated possible revenue Hays County and San Marcos officials will generate as a result of the TRZ for FM 110. The analysis indicated exempted properties along FM 110 totaled 1,014 acres with a taxable value of zero dollars and unidentified properties make up a total of 454 acres.
Ingalsbe explained the exempt properties in the analysis are governmental properties that do not pay taxes or are properties that are part of another TRZ for the City of San Marcos. Ingalsbe said the unidentified properties are owned by individuals who pay taxes, however TXP Inc. was not able to identify the owners at the time of the analysis, and they will be found at a later date.