Construction increases, building permits decrease in Burnet County
Construction in Burnet County is up by 15 percent, according to a report given to the Burnet County Commissioners Court on July 12 by Herb Darling, director of Development Services. The same report indicated that building permit applications were down 12 percent from May 2021, potentially due to a lack of available lots.
“What we’re seeing right now is a lot of the development that was done one or two years ago is starting to reach buildout,” Darling said during the Commissioners Court’s regular meeting Tuesday.
He attributed the 15 percent increase in construction to the massive amount of development that has taken place in Burnet County over the past few years. According to Darling’s report, 150 to 200 new addresses were added per month so far in 2022.
The 12 percent decrease in permit applications in May 2022 is most likely due to a lack of available lots and the fruition of current development projects, he continued.
“Some of these newer subdivisions will start to come online, and those permit numbers will rise again,” Darling said.
The Old Thomas Ranch community off of Texas 71 in southeast Burnet County is as an example of future development, Darling said. The community is a project of Hines, a global real estate developer based in Houston. Work is currently underway on a massive suburban development with portions in Travis and Burnet counties.
The proposed development will have 1,600 to 1,800 lots spread across roughly 2,200 acres with 546 of those acres in Burnet County. The development will have its own centralized water and sewer systems.
While Burnet County is seeing rapid growth and development, Darling told DailyTrib.com that water availability will be the limiting factor in future development.
“You’ve got to have the infrastructure to support the development,” he said. “The three most important things in development are water, water, and water.”
IN OTHER BUSINESS
The Burnet County Commissioners Court discussed a reduction in property taxes, American Rescue Plan Act funds, and personnel requests as they relate to the budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Due to an increase in property evaluation throughout Burnet County, the Commissioners Court is zeroing in on a property tax reduction of 0.02 cents. The increase in property evaluation leads to an overall increase in revenue, meaning that, even with a tax reduction, Burnet County will have more funds for the upcoming budget. Overall, the tax rate will be reduced from 0.3999 cents to 0.38 cents per $100 dollar evaluation.
Burnet County was awarded $9.3 million from the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, and these funds contribute heavily to the ability of the county to make capital improvements and purchases. ARPA was signed into law in March 2021 by President Joe Biden in response to the economic hardship brought on by COVID-19 shutdowns.
“My goal has been to use those funds to invest in assets that are long serving,” Burnet County Judge James Oakely said at the meeting.
The ARPA funds are slated to be used for nine new Burnet County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles and county government building repairs. All ARPA funds must be spent by December 2024.
SAFETY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Burnet County was presented with the 2021 Excellence in Safety Award by the Texas Association of Counties. Only 12 out of 412 TAC members received this award in 2021. This award is given to TAC members that have adhered to stellar safety standards, training, and emergency action plans. By receiving this award, Burnet County could see a reduction in required worker’s compensation contributions.
FIRST RESPONDERS MONTH
The Commissioners Court recognized July as First Responders Month in Burnet County.
“It amazes me the horsepower that arrives whenever there has been an accident,” Oakley said about emergency workers first on the scene. “You’ve got volunteers and paid professionals showing up to help somebody that they don’t know.”