Williamson County voters will decide next month whether to invest $447 million into one of Texas’ fastest growing counties.
There are two propositions on the ballot: One focuses on transportation-related improvements, the other on the acquirement and renovation of parkland. Williamson County does not anticipate the county's tax rate will increase if either of the props is passed.
Here’s what voters will be asked to decide:
Prop A: will authorize the county to issue and sell bonds not to exceed $412 million for the purpose of constructing, improving, extending, expanding, upgrading and/or developing roads and other transportation-related improvements. Some of the projects include the Parmer Lane interchange at SH 45 and improvements to Forest North Roadway. See a full list of the proposed transit and park improvements here.
Prop B: will authorize the county to issue and sell bonds not to exceed $35 million for the purpose of constructing, improving, renovating, acquiring land, buildings and facilities for park and recreational purposes including, but not limited to, parkland, open space/preserve land, trail acquisition, pedestrian and bike trail improvements. There a few projects selected, including the Williamson County Exposition Center and the Berry Springs Park and Reserve in Georgetown. Read the full notice of election for Williamson County here.
Williamson County’s population in 2000 was just shy of 250,000, according to census data. It ballooned to more than 420,000 in 2010. The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) expects the population to grow to nearly 1 million by 2030.
“Williamson County is the fifth-fastest growing county in the State of Texas,” County Judge Bill Gravell said. “Transportation safety and mobility, whether through roads or trails, is important to maintaining the outstanding quality of life we enjoy.”
The county's Commissioners Court formed a citizen bond committee last spring, which held several meetings to discuss needed repairs and the merits of a bond election. In August, commissioners approved an election for the propositions.
The committee originally recommended $640 million in projects and repairs, but the Commissioners Court brought that number down to $447 million.
Jason Ball, the president of the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce, said the bond money could help improve the flow of people and products around Williamson County as the population increases.
"That allows us to recruit more people into the region by having lower congestion of traffic and more community amenities for them to use as citizens here," he said. "It also allows more people to drive into the area that might be living somewhere else in the region."
This will be the fourth time in 20 years a bond for roads and parks is put before county voters. The previous votes came in 2000, 2006 and 2013.
There are three remaining open houses for Williamson County residents to see the proposed road and park projects:
- Thursday, Oct. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Williamson County Cedar Park Annex, 350 Discovery Blvd., JP 2 Courtroom, Cedar Park
- Thursday, Oct. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the J.B. and Hallie Jester Williamson County Annex, 1801 E. Old Settlers Blvd., Round Rock
- Tuesday, Oct. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Deputy A.W. Grimes Law Enforcement Training Center, 8160 Chandler Blvd., Hutto