by BRAD ROLLINS
Seeking to capitalize on Seton Medical Center Hays’ opening last month in Kyle, San Marcos city leaders have expanded a forgivable home loan program to include employees of the hospital who earn at least $40,000 a year.
Established through a Chapter 380 economic development agreement with Seton Hays, the program offers $5,000 in “down payment assistance” to qualifying hospital employees who move inside the city limits from elsewhere and buy a home. Twenty percent of that loan would be forgiven for each year the homebuyer remains employed by Seton Hays; the entire loan would be forgiven after five years.
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This is interesting and certainly may bring some homeowners to San Marcos. I am not sure what end result it is intended to bring about. If the goal is for San Marcos to become a bedroom community for neighboring cities (not that there is anything wrong with that – I’ve lived in some very nice bedroom communities), this may contribute. If the goal is to bring more skilled workers to town, in the hopes that jobs will follow them, it is an interesting strategy, but I would be curious to know if anyone has done it in the past.
Personally, I’d still love to see a program designed to lure people to town who have a successful track record of improving graduation rates for economically disadvantaged Hispanic students and getting them on a path to college and/or careers. I think that is an area where a small group of people could have a tremendous positive impact on the community.
In the end, I’m happy to see some activity, which at least gives an indication that issues like the low income levels in San Marcos and low home ownership levels are being taken seriously and that people are putting some creative thought into ways we could get some positive momentum.
Or maybe the City of San Marcos City Council is being influenced by San Marcos Realtors.
As of Nov. 2nd, there are 248 homes available in San Marcos compared to 343 available homes in Kyle (at a median price of $179,900 in San Marcos compared to only $145,650 in Kyle). This will give the San Marcos real estate market an edge.
And two weeks before the City Council elections. Nice timing.
But hey, if San Marcos wants to be the bedroom community for Kyle – go for it. Kyle can provide the jobs. Sister San Marcos can provide the beds and higher education.
You raise an interesting point about realtors, although SMABOR has members in Lockhart, Luling, Wimberley, Kyle and Buda (one reason I find their endorsements of candidates suspect). So, I am not sure it would be a case of favoring San Marcos realtors over Kyle realtors, so much as (possibly) catering to area realtors in general, by trying to stimulate home sales.
Frankly, at the risk of drawing out all sorts of angry comments, I think anything that sways the balance from out of town (state) rental owners to actual owner-occupied properties will probably be good for the neighborhoods.
I am just hoping there is a greater benefit to the whole community.
It is a sad day when the city council has so little faith in San Marcos that it feels it must pay people to live here. They could invest the same money to fix things in town (the schools, high utility rates, lack of commerce, etc.) for everyone. Instead, those of who have lived in San Marcos for some time must pay more in taxes in order to coax others to join the community. Not every creative idea is a good idea.
No, not every creative idea is a good idea, but it is evidence that the issue is being taken seriously.
I did suggest incentives for people who can fix the schools.
What? So is this a good idea or not? Maybe just an exercise in creativity? What kind of creativity? Creating havoc maybe?
I don’t know if it is a good idea or not. I am not sure what it is intended to accomplish. That was my point.
Sorry Ted. Sometimes I’m a bit dense. Guess I’m just wondering if it wasn’t a poke in the eye to Kyle. And maybe I’m wondering further if San Marcos thought they somehow deserved it… and if so, why? OMG – I’m having Odellian thought patterns! I need more coffee. Promise to straighten right up. I will LOSE THOSE THOUGHTS!!!!