by WES FERGUSON
The city of Buda is preparing to annex the largest business in northern Hays County in a race to lock up future sales and property tax revenue in the area.
Nearly a decade of negotiations have failed to result in a development agreement with Texas Lehigh, city officials say. The city council has now authorized its staff to move forward on the annexation without delay.
“I’m disappointed we have to do the involuntary annexation, but it is what it is,” council member Sandra Tenorio said during a city council meeting Tuesday.
During a break from the meeting, another council member likened the annexation to a shotgun wedding. Council members and staff said they would consider a last-minute development agreement with the company but would not wait for it.
“We will continue on without interruption,” said Assistant City Manager Brian LaBorde. “We should be getting surveys any day now.”
City officials are approaching the annexation with a new sense of urgency after realizing last fall that they stand to lose all of Texas Lehigh’s potential sales tax revenue if they do not bring the cement company into Buda’s city limits before another entity, such as Hays County or the Buda Fire Department, can lay claim to the same tax.
“I think there’s a race to get that,” council member Cathy Chilcote said.
Appraised at more than $60 million, Lehigh is more valuable than any other business or property in Hays CISD.
City staff said they would pursue the annexation of Centex Materials, a smaller neighbor of Lehigh, at a later date.
Wes Ferguson is editor of the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Hays Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.