The need for housing in our community
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A WORD FROM THE MAYOR
One of the chapters in the Comprehensive Master plan discusses the need for housing. There is very little housing for sale in Pearsall and this is an area of need for this community. It’s been years since any developer built homes that were to be sold on the open market.
The city, at this time, is in the final stages of negotiation with a developer to put in affordable housing near Vaughan Road. The acreage is being platted for over 250 homes. This won’t happen all at once but over time, in stages. As stage one is built, completed and sold, stage two will start. Stage one will most likely be ten homes.
City leaders, back in 2012, in conjunction with Frio County, set up a TIRZ zone, Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, on the west side of town. This is a tool many cities across the state and nation use to incentivize developers to build in their communities. In a nutshell, land inside the zone allows a developer to be reimbursed for any infrastructure they put in place, which will be turned over to the city. They are reimbursed by future tax dollars generated from the development of that land. This means water lines, sewer lines, gas lines, roads, streets, street lights and sidewalks are built by the developer, at his cost. They, in turn, will be turned over to the city when complete. The construction process of this infrastructure is closely monitored by the city and our engineers to insure it’s completed to meet our standards. Once the infrastructure is in, the developer then builds homes on the lots he created in approved engineered and platted subdivisions. Over time, as tax revenue rolls in from these new homes, the developer submits his invoices for his infrastructure costs and he is reimbursed.
This format basically takes raw land that generates little tax revenue and turns it into residential homes or commercial businesses. The city provides utilities and collects those related fees. Once the developer is paid back, ad valeorem tax revenues start to flow to the city and county. The school does not participate in these zones, so their share of the tax dollars go to them immediately. This is a win on so many fronts; it provides new homes, spurs development, generates utility fees and tax revenue for all the local taxing agencies. All are important, but building new homes and having them available for families that want to live here is paramount to fill the need that will support our current population and future growth.
The city of Pearsall covers roughly 6,000 acres, the TIRZ zone is more or less 600 acres and is located on the west side of town, including a small portion of downtown. It is situated both north and south of Comal Street out towards the interstate. To date, the TIRZ zone has been inactive but with this development, we hope to use it attract developers and builders. On related news, the chamber of commerce that the city is supporting to establish, has been approved by the Secretary of State. This is another important step in economic development for Pearsall and Frio County.
God Bless the City of Pearsall, the County of Frio, the State of Texas, the United States of America and You.
Ben T. Briscoe
Mayor of Pearsall