COVER: An artists’ rendering of a corporate campus in the proposed La Cima development west of San Marcos. Economic development officials say the potential 330,000-square-feet in office space would help land new employers needed to offset San Marcos’ abundance of lower-wage retail jobs. ILLUSTRATION by WAKEFIELD, BEASLEY & ASSOCIATES
by BRAD ROLLINS
City and county officials agreed last week to fast-track annexation of the proposed La Cima development, bringing apparent resolution to an issue that has repeatedly threatened to derail months of hard-nosed negotiations.
Under a written proposal delivered a week ago to Hays County commissioners Will Conley and Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, three San Marcos City Council members signaled that they are willing to recommend approval of the 2,400-home subdivision if “all property within the proposed La Cima development [is] annexed at the time a final plat is recorded.” County officials replied with a counterproposal that for the first time yields to city officials’ instance on an accelerated annexation timeline.
“City will receive property taxes to help support service [increased] service demands …. [and] city will receive all economic and demographic benefits of having a development such as La Cima located within the city limits,” reads a one-page outline of terms titled “Subcommittee Position.”
San Marcos councilmen John Thomaides, Wayne Becak and Ryan Thomason were appointed on June 3 to act as an ad hoc committee overseeing negotiations of a development agreement with La Cima Development Group LP, formerly organized as Lazy Oaks Ranch LP. In theory, the committee can only advise the full council on the La Cima contract but its three members are one less than a council majority — assuming, of course, they ultimately vote in accordance with their own recommendations.
Various decisionmakers in the La Cima discussions have said an annexation timetable loomed as a “deal killer” as negotiations entered their fourth month. Time will soon tell if the county’s acquiescence on the subject will generate momentum or merely a mirage of it.
 2014 total certified property assessments in the city of San Marcos, according to the Hays Central Appraisal District.  The city’s total tax base when La Cima is fully built-out, based on the upper-end of a $750 million to $1 billion in estimated additional property value.