San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 22nd, 2008
Hays County Blog: Barton schedules ‘town meeting’ in Buda

STAFF REPORT

BUDA – Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton (D-Kyle) is holding something of an open house Saturday (July 26) in the form of a “town hall” meeting with his constituents.

The meeting will take place at the Buda Elementary School upper campus from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Barton is asking constituents from his entire precinct, which includes Buda and Kyle, to attend the meeting, where he will update them on developments in county government.

“My office is in Kyle, so I’ve scheduled the meeting in Buda, for balance,” Barton said.

Though Barton has scheduled the meeting with the next budget in mind, as the commissioners court begins budget workshops next week, he also wants to discuss the other burning issues, especially transportation. Barton has divided the meeting into nine different issue segments, so constituents can come and go as their favorite issues are discussed.

Following is the schedule:

Overview: Growth Trends & Challenges: 10-10:15 a.m. – A look at population projections, local and regional trends, how that compares to recent history, and the inherent challenges for Hays County government if it wishes to maintain local character while adapting to growth.

“Being Here, Getting There”: Roads & Rail: 10:15-10:40 a.m. – Traffic counts, forecasts, and regional employment projections. What that means for Hays County and what the county is doing about it: precinct projects, “routine” road paving and maintenance, innovative state partnerships, and the upcoming bond election. Also, regional rail opportunities.

Parks, Water Protection and Open Space: 10:40-10:50 a.m. – The county is spending $30 million on parks for recreation and acquiring land for open space and water quality protection. Close to half has been obligated to projects already. Barton will discuss where it’s been spent – and where the remainder might go.

Break and Questions: 10:50-11 a.m. – Refreshments. Bathroom break. A chance to play “Stump the Chump” (Barton’s words) on issues covered so far, or miscellaneous concerns that aren’t on the agenda for later. There’ll be some time for questions during the topic sessions, as well.

Law Enforcement and Emergency Services: 11-11:15 a.m. – What level of protection does the county want? How much security should it pay for, strive for? This will include a brief review of budgets for the sheriff’s department, and a summary of other emergency and law services – the courts, the district attorney, emergency management, ambulance coverage, fire districts, constables, fire marshal.

Health and Community Services: 11:15-11:30 a.m. – A review of the county’s public health mission, with a few thoughts on how that might change, or be re-imagined, as the county changes. Barton will look at options facing the county – and basic services that aren’t likely to change. This session will include a brief review of social service and community service agencies funded by the county, from libraries to shelters for battered families.

Land Development, Regional Legislative and Planning Initiatives and New Subdivision Regulations: 11:30-11:45 a.m. – The briefest background on what Texas counties can and can’t do to manage land use. Then just the highlights of schedules and happenings on proposals for regional green space planning, a county habitat conservation plan, legislative proposals affecting county planning, court cases, and the upcoming adoption of new regulations for subdivisions and development in Hays County.

Budget, Taxes and You: 11:45-noon – Recent trends in the county tax rate and assessed value, plus a preview of budget workshops for Hays County and a rough-cut look at what a bond proposition might cost.

Questions, Answers, Feedback: Noon-12:30 p.m. – Here’s the chance to work in questions that haven’t been asked before now, or to shout out (figuratively, not literally, would be best) which programs you love and which you hate.

“It’s a two-way information swap,” Barton said. “I want to brief my constituents on what the county’s doing, but I’d also hope for feedback and opinions.”

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