What’s in a TIRZ? Dripping Springs looks at town center model

A proposed town hall center that could include a new library, city hall and district administration buildings was given the green light by Dripping Springs ISD leaders last month.

On Sept. 25, Dripping Springs ISD’s board of trustees unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a new town hall center. The center is proposed to consist of a new city hall and district administration building, as well as a 30,000 square foot library.

The proposed Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone in Dripping Springs would fund the new town center, which will house a new city hall, library, DSISD administration building and more. (courtesy rendering)

The town center is one of four main projects initiated by the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ).

Other future projects include U.S. 290 and Ranch Road 12 improvements, Old Fitzhugh Road and drainage improvements and improving downtown public parking.

A TIRZ is a political subdivision of a municipality or county in the state of Texas created to implement tax increment financing.

They may be initiated by the city, county, or by a petition of owners whose total holdings in the zone consist of a majority of the appraised property value.

Similar to other government entities, a board comprised of directors appointed by the city oversees the TIRZ.

Rather than raise taxes to pay for projects, the TIRZ would focus on development in the area that would help pay for these projects.

“The city believes that a TIRZ is the best mechanism by which to partner with the county and also with private sector developers to plan, fund, and construct the needed improvements over the long-range time horizon such an ambitious undertaking might require,” David Edwards, chair board member of the TIRZ said.

The TIRZ in Dripping Spring was initiated by the city in mid-2016. However, DSISD and the Dripping Springs Community Library have teamed along with the city to help fund and plan projects within the zone.

According to the MOU regarding the town hall center, the city is obligated to help fund $175,000 for the project, while the library would need to fund $50,000.

In turn, the TIRZ board is obligated to compensate the library and city with funds accumulated from development in the area.

Edwards said the need for a Town Center rose due to rapid population growth. Other factors include the city, library and DSISD looking for new facilities.

Edwards said the projects would not displace any local businesses.

“This project will include downtown parking, city hall site acquisition as a portion of the Town Center project and constructing a new civic building (library),” said Edwards. “The City, County, and Library will be able to fund a large building site for a building complex with city services and a new 30,000 sq foot library building.”

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