Bill makes way for rainwater catchment incentives

Possible legislation filed by a local state representative could pave the way for potential tax abatements for those who install rainwater catchment systems.

Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) this month filed House Bill 1334, which calls for a local option exemption from property taxes for a “portion” of appraised property that’s attributable to installation of a rainwater harvesting system.

The bill aims to offset the potential increase in property value when a person or business installs a rainwater catchment system on their property.

Isaac said it “increases the property tax burden” and estimated that rainwater systems could add $10,000 to $20,000 to a property owner’s valuation.

He added there’s a catch-22 for many counties, including Hays, which promote conservation.

“They would like for homeowners to be able to be exempt from that evaluation to promote conservation and reduce the property tax burden,” Isaac said.

The popularity of rainwater catchment systems is growing, particularly with private residences and schools, Issac said. He also said developers go to him to amend utility districts to allow residents to potentially install rainwater catchment systems.

Isaac said homes in Wimberley and Dripping Springs use rainwater catchment systems for their entire homes.

“Some people don’t want to be dependent on municipal run water systems, they don’t want to be dependent on water companies,” Isaac said. “It comes right out of the sky. That’s what they exist on and it’s amazing. I’d like to see more of that.”

Isaac said one of his priorities is to “make sure we’re protecting our water supplies and groundwater supply.”

“It will continue to grow and usage will continue to increase in Hays County,” Isaac said.

Legislation could maintain ‘iconic look’ of Hays County highways

Isaac has also added language to an existing bill that could designate RM 150 and FM 1828 as “scenic highways.”

Should the roads attain that designation, Isaac said it would limit what can be placed on the side of those roads.

An example is limiting the number of billboards in order to “maintain the scenic appearance of the road.”

“People that ride motorcycles and drive cars see the Hill Country,” Isaac said. “We want to try to maintain the beauty of those roads.”

Issac said his chief of staff has been working with individuals in Driftwood regarding the legislation. He said a similar bill had been crafted “years ago”, and he saw a chance to add those Hays County roads.

“Hopefully, we will work with them to gain support and work through the legislative process,” Isaac said.

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