What is Anderson Mill Limited District?
Anderson Mill Municipal Utility District (MUD) was created in 1973. Municipal Utility Districts are one type of special district allowed by Texas law. MUD's are overseen and regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). These special districts are governed by a Board of elected residents of the district. They have taxing authority to assess property taxes in the district to cover the costs of any bonded indebtedness and for maintenance and operation of the district facilities. The districts must follow all state and federal laws concerning local governments such as Open Meeting and Open Records laws; these special districts are require by law to have complete financial audits done annually. They are a type of local government that is formed to have a specific purpose; for Anderson Mill MUD that was to provide municipal type utilities for the Anderson Mill area: water, wastewater, drainage control, street lighting, and parks and recreation facilities and programs. Upon annexation by the City of Austin in 2008, the Municipal Utility District was converted to a Limited District under a Strategic Partnership Agreement.
The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) with the City of Austin (COA) created the Anderson Mill Limited District (AMLD) upon the annexation of the Anderson Mill Municipal Utility District. The Limited District was then ratified by the voters of the district in an election held on May 9, 2009. The ratification also authorized the District to levy property taxes to carry out its responsibilities.
The Limited District has three primary responsibilities:
Where did this idea of a Limited District come from?
The Anderson Mill Municipal Utility District was created in 1974 in a Creation Agreement with the City of Austin (COA). State law provided for cities to annex areas, including MUD's whenever they chose to, many MUD's and their residents did not want to be annexed by the cities, but state law did not give them any say in the matter. Anderson Mill MUD and many of its residents did not want to be annexed, they had come to enjoy parks, swimming pools and many other recreational facilities and programs that they felt were maintained to a higher level than the COA maintained it parks, also, they feared that the COA was not yet prepared to provide adequate police, fire and EMS services this far out from the center of the city. The residents felt that by having a local elected Board of Directors they had more of a say in how the parks and facilites were operated, the Williamson County Sheriff's Department was providing good police coverage and the Jollyville Volunteer Fire Dept was an excellent provider of fire protection. In 1995, several neighboring MUD's were annexed by the COA and many of their residents were very vocal in their displeasure with annexation. The residents of Anderson Mill saw this and for many it reaffirmed their desire to NOT be annexed.
The COA considered annexing Anderson Mill several times over the years: 1983, 1987, 1993, and in 1997. Public hearings with residents were held in some of these instances, some of the primary issues for the residents have been fire protection, police, EMS, parks and pools. The Board of Directors of Anderson Mill MUD had attempted to document the level of services through those years to make sure the city had an established standard to meet. The Board’s goal has always been to be sure that the COA had the capabilities in place to provide the same level of services to which our residents were accustomed. In 1995, when the Texas legislature passed the Strategic Partnership Agreement provision in the Texas Local Government Code, Sec. 43-0751, the board saw it as a way for a smooth transition to annexation, and the provision for a Limited District was a way to assure that the parks and pools would remain as our residents want them. This law did not change the fact that the COA could annex Anderson Mill, but it did allow for a negotiation on the timing and the transition of the annexation, and while it did not guarantee adequate police or fire protection, it did allow the control of the parks and recreational facilities to remain under local control. The cost was a Limited District property tax. Prior to the ratification election, the Board of Directors had a number of public hearings and announced that the initial tax rate would be $0.13 per $100 assessed property valuation - the same rate that it is six years later in 2014-2015. In 2014-2015, this amounts to around $200-220 per year in taxes for the average home in Anderson Mill Limited District.
What does the Limited District Offer?
Some residents feel that this Limited District tax is too much, and that we should depend on the COA to maintain our parks and facilities. Many other residents, especially those who are frequent users of our facilities or programs see the value in the Limited District's management of our parks, pools, and programs. While AMLD is a form of Local Goverment, and is NOT a Home Owner's Association (HOA), it can be compared to an HOA. HOA's typically own the parks and greenbelts in their area, and perhaps a pool which is open three months of the year, and perhaps one or two tennis courts, and the HOA maintains these facilties with the collected HOA fees from each home owner. The Anderson Mill Limited District has about 60 acres of parks and greenbelts all mowed at least every two weeks, two pools open year round that have 110,000 to 120,000 visitors each year, eight lighted tennis courts, six miles of hike and bike trails, six playgrounds, three sand volleyball courts, two basketball courts, a fitness center, a community center, an outdoor racquetball court, a senior center, and many programs, such as: yoga classes, water aerobics, swim teams, learn to swim programs, tai chi classes, several different fitness classes, a Summer Camp for kids, an After-School program, Movies in the Parks, Movies at the Pools, and a number of different neighborhood activities. The District taxes cover the maintenance and operation of all the facilities and modest activity fees are paid by those who join in the programming. If you compare the Limited District taxes to typical HOA fees ($300-$500 per year) and what you get for each - Anderson Mill Limited District is a bargain.
Anderson Mill - Where Community Matters
Anderson Mill is a unique community, even without considering the Limited District, there are nearly 3500 homes in the district, two elementary schools, a middle school, and Westwood High School, and within the boundaries of Anderson Mill. Westwood HS is a one of the highest ranked schools in the nation. The International Baccalaureate program is available from elementary through high school at Anderson Mill Elementary, Grisham Middle School and then at Westwood HS. The parks and greenbelts meander throughout much of the area, so no home is too far from green space.
Our events held in the parks or pools offer the opportunity to join together with the community to enjoy Movies in the Parks, or Concerts in the Parks, or even the Float Flick - our movies in the pool, or come to our Spring Festival, or 4th of July celebration, or Neighborhood Day. Fun activities with music, games, food trucks and gathering with your neighbors.
Highway 183, State Highway 45, Capital Metro Lakeline train station closeby, and Capital Metro bus service provides access to many major employers in the Austin Area. Shopping is nearby with Lakeline Mall less than a mile away, or a short drive to the Arboretum or the Domain. Everything anyone could want from a neighborhood - Community.