Monday, December 19, 2011

Commissioners, Salamanders, and other Cave Bugs


I have lived in Williamson County since 1996. A native Texan, born in Austin and raised in Temple and Post, I have cherished the way of life I found in the Rockwellian little village of Georgetown. My wife Sara and I moved here because she was working at Scott and White Hospital in Temple and I was with the Attorney General's office down in Austin. It was a palatable drive for both of us. Georgetown offered a quality of life that was copacetic with our traditional values and hopes to raise our children in a small town atmosphere.
Georgetown Salamander

I saw promise in Georgetown. Williamson County is strategically located between Austin and Ft. Hood. In other words, it sits right smack dab in the middle of a HUGE state government and one of the largest military installations in the world. For a young man that liked to dabble in real estate, the location could not have been more prime. The area boomed over the next 12 years until 2008. Fueled by the success of DELL and a massive influx of California refugees, Williamson County growth skyrocketed to one of the fastest in the nation.

 But it went too far, too fast. Urban Sprawl has run roughshod through the county. Yet, water supplies are limited and the unbridled growth negatively impacts our natural resources putting us all at risk of disastrous results.  Low-density residential development in rural and undeveloped areas strains taxpayer burdens, requires infrastructure, and demands debt.  Cities could not expand fast enough and many of the new developments in the county were out of city jurisdictions and required new layers of government to be created like SUDs, MUDs, and ESDs. 

In 2007 I approached the owner of a 170 acre piece of land on the end of Twin Springs Road (where I live).  The owner said he would sell for $1 Million dollars.  Now, at the time, I thought $5800 an acre was too high considering the density of the cedars and the development difficulties associated with the topography.  Imagine how surprised I was to find out that the county bought the land.....for 2.3 million dollars just 2 years later and after the real estate bust.  $13500 per acre?  I was suffering from both taxpayer frustration and disgust that I had not bought and turned the property.  There's a sucker born every minute and then there's elected officials wasting our tax dollars.  

Why? The Commissioners of our county wanted to build roads faster and made a deal with the Feds to protect some land so that they may destroy the rest. But the plan backfired. A required study of the property uncovered a small new species since named the Georgetown Salamander. Along with the bone harvester spider and a little cave bug that were anticipated, these little creatures may help check the uncontrolled growth that has been so detrimental and expensive.  Most people in precinct 3 live here because it is not overly developed like the southern part of Williamson County.  If we had wanted to live in Pflugerville, we would. 

You can bet our current commissioner, a bought and paid for servant of the road lobby, is having nightmares about this little bug crawling through her campaign donors wallets.  I'm not so sad. If I have to ride a salamander in my crusade against Urban sprawl, saddle up Sally. 

I need your help in spreading the word about our commissioner's sprawl policies that have landed us $1.17 Billion dollars in debt (third most of any county in Texas).  Please donate to our campaign and help me stand our ground in Precinct 3.  

1 comment:

Betty Saenz said...

Hi Gregory- My husband and I are registered WILCO voters. I am just curious to hear more about your plans if elected. I went to the Endangered Species program at the Georgetown Chamber the other week. Have you heard of Randall Arendt? I like his ideas for developments done the proper way.