It seems every month in this space I’m writing about growth. This city is growing, that business is relocating, this budget is expanding. An issue never goes by where we don’t feature several articles highlighting some part of the community ballooning in size.
Quite frankly, it would be hard to cover anywhere in Central Texas without writing constantly about growth. Round Rock, Hutto and Pflugerville are especially notable for their exponential growth in the past decade.
But there is a flip side to getting bigger, a tension that rises now and then between economic prosperity and keeping a community what it used to be.
One such tension is the debate over bar hours. On one hand, some residents fear moving to a 2 a.m. closing time could take away from the safety and security of Round Rock. On the other side, some worry businesses are losing money closing earlier.
But the seams show in school districts as well. Pflugerville and Hutto ISDs are among the lowest-funded districts in the state on a per-student basis, in part because their property tax bases were lower six years ago when funding levels were frozen. As both districts have grown quickly, those levels are no longer enough, or, as the districts contest in a lawsuit, fair.
But growth can be good, too. Round Rock ISD is covering much of its budget shortfall this year through student growth. Round Rock will also soon be home to the Texas Bio Corridor Alliance, a group which could attract high-paying jobs and large companies to the area.
But we’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to decide just how much growth is good.
Blake Rasmussen, Market Editor, email@example.com