Should I stay or should I go?

The Kyle File
by David Abdel

Hays Central Appraisal District recently released its figures regarding property valuations. Of course, as they often do, valuations are going up. Kyle is surging in population, development, economy and such. This is probably welcome news to many, as it is going to increase the coffers the city has to spend.

We know that Kyle is growing fast. We see it every day when we go wherever we go. Hardly a mile can be driven without seeing land being torn up and new structures emerging from the rubble within days. Inevitable, I guess. I would argue it could have been managed better, others would argue it simply cannot be managed at all. Ok.

I’ve pointed out both my frustrations at what is being built, how quickly it is being built, and what impact it can have on facets of our community. As I was having lunch the other day someone brought up how they plan to sell their home here in Kyle and move out of the city. They were excited because we are in a seller’s market, and they are going to make a significant profit on selling their home. I was happy they were happy.

What makes me unhappy, though, is all of those families, many of whom I know, that have lived in Kyle for generations and don’t wish to sell and move. Those families that put down roots here in an affordable home, went about making a living and raising a family, intertwining themselves with the community, and becoming a vital part of making Kyle what it is today. There would be no mega attraction to Kyle without all of these families making Kyle such a welcoming, close knit, attractive community. Many of these families want to remain here, and their children (whom I’ve had these conversations with) want to remain here, raise their families here, and continue to grow their stake in the community. The unhappiness I face is how much harder it is becoming to do that.

As our property values rise, the tax we pay does as well. You’ve all felt that when the bill comes. Frustratingly, it is becoming ever apparent that the cost of remaining in Kyle is too great a burden to bear, and we are losing families because of it. Families that bought affordable homes a generation ago, and having been working to maintain it while keeping up with the rising cost of living here are struggling to continue, and are faced with the decision of finding more work to keep up, or selling and moving.

Some would say, ‘well they can sell for a great profit, that’s a good thing.’ However, if you don’t want to leave your home, it’s not. Some people don’t view their home as a financial asset, they view it as a part of their family history. It’s where their children were raised and played. It’s where memories took place, good and bad. It’s a part of the culture of their lives, possibly for generations. They don’t want to leave. They don’t want to go find a new job, in a new town, away from everything they’ve known.

The chorus of “just the way it is-ism” looks at these souls and says there is nothing that can be done. We have to simply make way for the newer residents, with higher incomes to afford the new higher priced homes – or those with the financial means to keep theirs. Some will say they simply need to work harder, maybe take on a second job to pay the mortgage, not understanding that many already have second and third jobs, and every member of the family is working to provide. Are a bunch of new, higher paying jobs coming to Kyle? I concede yes. Will it help the rising tax bill of today? No. Not everyone in need is getting a job that covers everything, let’s not kid ourselves. A willful ignorance plagues many I’m afraid.

So, for the profiteers who are happy to leave Kyle behind in favor of cash windfall on their home, happy trails. For those struggling to stay in the town they helped make, alongside their family, clinging to the last vestiges of affordability, I hope a reprieve comes soon.

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