by Jim Camp
This 2020 election offers “Hays Co. Proposition A”: an opportunity for voters to create new parks, protect open spaces, and preserve natural areas. At haysparksforpeople.com you can find out more about this bond for sixteen parks and open space projects.
By voting for Proposition A, Hays citizens, young and old, can continue to build a lasting legacy for the beauty and enjoyment of our natural areas. Prop A celebrates and protects Hays County rivers, creeks and springs, as well as invests in recreation, sports fields, trails and public water access. Water quality protection in the San Marcos and Blanco r ivers, more fishing for families, and a skate park for our youngsters are just a few of the benefits of Prop A.
The Hays County Commissioners Court in early 2020 appointed ten citizens to the Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission (POSAC). In early March, POSAC began meeting via Zoom to discuss criteria and scoring for projects and how to meet the goals and priorities of the 2012 Master Park Plan. POSAC held 11 public meetings from March through July and devoted up to 700 hours to presentations, study, analysis, evaluation and recommendations. POSAC also went on several COVID-safe site visits. In August, the Commissioners Court approved POSAC’s recommended 16 projects. POSAC applauds the court’s citizen-oriented process, transparency and belief in letting the people decide.
In the 2007 Parks and Open Space bond election, citizens voted by a 2-1 margin with 68% approval. After voter approval, the Parks and Open Space Advisory Board (POSAB), appointed by the Commissioners Court, met publicly for months as projects were submitted. POSAB recommendations were approved by the Commissioners Court for the Buda, Kyle, San Marcos and Dripping Springs areas as well as places in between. Working with the Commissioners Court and Hays County staff, POSAB was able to leverage citizens’ investment of $30 million in bonds, matched by local partners and in-state and federal agencies, totaling $76 million. Our tax rate did not go up with this bond. Hays citizens and visitors have enjoyed these spaces for 12 years.
In 2000, the county population was 97,589. The 2020 census population is estimated to be 230,000. We need to put aside land for the people’s recreational uses and preservation of our treasured natural areas before it disappears. The price of land purchases will be significantly higher in the coming years. Business and financial experts agree that this $75 million bond issuance will not increase the tax rate of 0.4337 per hundred dollars (2018-2019).
We are told by legal and financial experts that if COVID-19 is still a burden in 2021, and the economy stagnates, then the issuance of bonds can be held back. But realty, business and economic indicators say that Hays is one of the most attractive counties in Texas to live. Improving quality of life through more parks and open space only increases our county’s appeal.
By voting for Proposition A (page 2 on the ballot), you are choosing to invest in our communities, outdoor recreation, and protection of our Hays County heritage. You, your family and future generations will be able to enjoy and cherish our county’s iconic landscapes, water features, and recreational areas.
Early voting is from October 13-30. Election Day is November 3. For more information on voting, visit: https://hayscountytx.com/download/departments/elections/2020/nov_03_general/Vote-Centers-03-Nov-General.pdf
Hays Co. Parks and Open Space Commission 2020, 2007, 2001.
Hays Co. resident since 1984