By: Dave Edwards, TIRZ Board Chairman
If you’re familiar with the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone or TIRZ, then you may know it’s a funding mechanism the City of Dripping Springs is using. There are two areas or “zones” that have been created. I’ll go more into detail about how it works later in this post.
The City continues to make headway with the TIRZ projects. Most recently, the Dripping Springs City Council approved the Old Fitzhugh Road Concept Plan on August 21. This plan seeks to preserve the rural character of the current street while improving traffic flow, pedestrian access and safety, and drainage issues. It will remain a two-lane road and will complement the improvements made on Mercer Street several years ago. The plan has an eight-foot wide walking trail on one side of the road, and the road will have curbs on one side to direct water flow into the natural drainage areas. Below is a rendering of the plan.
It’s important to note that this concept plan was developed after receiving and implementing input from property owners on Old Fitzhugh Road during three well-attended town hall meetings earlier this year. To accommodate the input of local citizens, the TIRZ board utilized an experienced team of engineers and planners who have worked with the city over the past several years.
As a historic district, Old Fitzhugh Road is an older street in need of street improvements. These improvements will complement the ones that have been completed in its neighboring historic district—Mercer Street. The next step in the implementation of the plan, is to explore local, state and federal agencies for funding of the improvements.
The TIRZs were established by the City Council in late 2016. A TIRZ works by locking in the dollar amount on property tax revenue received by the City for the specific zones drawn by the city by ordinance. When property values rise over that locked in figure, then a predetermined percentage of the tax revenue in those zones is redirected to a TIRZ fund overseen by an appointed board and used for planned projects. As a result, money is available for transportation and infrastructure improvements that benefit the two zones from where the tax revenue is collected. These projects are focused to provide infrastructure improvements that will allow for responsible growth while preserving a sense of community.
About the Blogger
Dave Edwards currently serves as Chairman of the TIRZ Board. He has lived in Dripping Springs for 35 years and retired from his job at Broadway Bank in Dripping Springs in 2016. In addition to his serving on the TIRZ board, Edwards is also on the board of directors for the City’s Economic Development Committee. He is a former board member for the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce. Edwards is married to Becky Edwards and they have two daughter who live in Austin and four grandchildren.