by WES FERGUSON
Austin Community College is moving forward with construction of its new campus in Kyle after clearing the final legal hurdle last week.
A yearlong challenge to the college’s Hays CISD annexation election ended Jan. 13 when the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear a local dentist’s petition for a review of his lawsuit.
“With this decision, the college can secure financing and break ground,” Cobby Caputo, ACC’s legal counsel, said in a prepared statement.
ACC says it has completed the schematic design phase of construction, is developing a budget estimate and expects to secure bond financing for the project by late spring.
Nearly 60 percent of voters approved the annexation in November 2011, but local opponent Ray Wolbrecht argued the language of the ballot measure did not adequately inform voters of the full tax impact they could face by joining the taxing district.
In a statement released this week, state Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, agreed with Wolbrecht, saying he does not believe the measure would have passed if the ballot had mentioned the new tax associated with annexation.
“Unfortunately, the language used on the ballot is usually complicated and confusing, and people often aren’t aware that certain measures in local elections may result in a tax increase,” he said. “It’s vital that the ballot language clearly explain any potential tax increase and what the impact of that increase will be.”
The college district’s tax rate is 9.46 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
Wolbrecht said the merits of his case were never heard because the suit and subsequent appeals were dismissed on technicalities.
“It’s clear to myself and supporters, now more than ever, just how easily money and political connections can silence the voice and suppress the righteous concerns of the people,” he said in a prepared statement.
ACC has entered the design development phase of construction, an estimated three-month process during which the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, data cabling, security, fire alarm, and emergency power infrastructure systems of the building will be developed.
College officials have said they hope to serve about 2,000 students at the planned campus, located on 96 acres on Kyle Parkway near Kohler’s Crossing in the commercial portion of the Plum Creek development.Email | Print