by BRAD ROLLINS
Hays County will abandon ongoing and planned road projects in the city — including rerouting FM 150 East and widening Dacy Lane — if the Kyle City Council does not agree to pay money it owes for the projects, County Judge Bert Cobb said on Monday.
In a pair of take-it-or-leave-it proposals the city council will consider on Tuesday, the city would pay $2 million as its share of the $8.2 million projected cost of widening Dacy Lane and $3 million plus the cost of buying right-of-way to reroute FM 150 to intersect the Interstate 35 access road at the Center Street overpass.
In concessions that county officials say they made to help out the cash-strapped Kyle municipal government, the city share will fall proportionally if the projects come in under budget, as they are expected to do. As another concession to Kyle, the county will agree not to build water and wastewater lines developer Barshop & Oles needs to develop the property unless the company, which owns much of the land the extension will cross, agrees to donate right-of-way, savings Kyle would realize off the bottom line.
But if the city council does not accept both proposals, the county will walk away from the projects, including leaving Dacy Lane partially completed.
“The people need to hold [the Kyle City Council] accountable. I’ve given up on them acting reasonably or in a manner that makes sense. We’re going to hold their feet to the fire and they’re going to have to decide what’s important to them. They vacillate from day to day and I can’t build a road on vacillation,” Cobb said.
There was never any doubt what the city’s share of the projects is, Pct. 2 Commissioner Mark Jones said, until Kyle officials found themselves in a precarious financial position. Now the city is trying to wiggle out of its obligations because of its budgetary woes, Jones said. The county wants to offer the city assistance in the form of its concessions allowing for the proportional cost savings, Jones said, but it will consider all options, including suing the city, if it tries to renege on its obligations.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to hold the city accountable for what they’ve agreed to. We’ve been moving forward in good faith with the city on these contracts but we have to look after the county’s best interest. We’re confident that the city is going to do the right thing,” Jones said.
Dacy Lane between Bebee Road and Kyle Parkway is scheduled to open on Friday, Sept. 23. But the last phase, between Kyle Parkway and Goforth Road, will not be started without a signed agreement between the city and county on both Dacy Lane and FM 150, Cobb and Jones said.
The county on Friday stopped all work on construction of a connector between the access road and Kyle Crossing north of Kyle Parkway, Jones said. The county on Friday stopped all work on construction of a connector between the access road and Kyle Crossing north of Kyle Parkway, Jones said.
Cobb said the outcome of the Dacy Lane and FM 150 realignment agreements would not impact the larger $29.6 million package of improvements to Interstate 35 included in a 2008 voter-approved bond package, including construction of access roads in the Center Street area and making access roads one-way throughout the city. Nor will the Dacy/FM 150 issue impact a completely unrelated planned project, installing more interstate entrance and exit ramps, for which the county is trying secure funding from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Hays County has committed $40,000 to that project.
Hays officials say they are confident that Kyle has already given them grounds to opt out of their interlocal agreement on FM 150 for breach of contract.
NOTE: This is a breaking news story. We will update it with reaction from city of Kyle leaders when it is available.
UPDATED 4:39 p.m. MONDAY, SEPT. 19: The story was updated to note that the county says its negotiations on the FM 150 realignment and the Dacy Lane widening will not impact other planned projects along the interstate corridor, including construction of a new access road in the Center Street Area.