Here’s Why You Care About the Municipal Wastewater Treatment System

IMG_3746

Mercer Street, Dripping Springs, Texas

The Dripping Springs Keller Williams business center was honored to host the town mayor, the city engineer, and the deputy city administrator one morning a couple of weeks ago at our weekly office meeting. We had invited them to tell us everything they knew about the wastewater situation, both current and future plans. Would you be surprised if I told you I enjoyed the presentation?

Until thirty years ago, Dripping Springs was an unincorporated ranching community that, with the exception of the gas stations along U.S. 290, pretty much aspired to be left alone. Funny what the growth of the nearby metropolitan area did for those aspirations. The mayor joked that, after he was elected, he was surprised to discover that being the mayor of a small town consisted of more than drinking coffee and showing up for parades! Evidently, he has now become an informal expert on municipal wastewater systems.

Dripping Springs’ growth is very dramatic: many thousands of houses are permitted to be built. The current downtown area of Dripping Springs is extremely charming with early 20th-Century buildings being re-purposed for businesses that fit the needs of 21st-Century residents. BUT. The businesses can’t get the building permits they need to expand. WHY? The wastewater treatment system can’t keep up.

The city has applied for a permit from the state to treat and discharge a whole lot more wastewater than it currently does. This city has invested in a system that cleans the water even cleaner than Onion Creek, into which it could discharge the water. Dripping Springs’ wastewater is much cleaner than Austin’s discharge. You would expect that Dripping Springs would be motivated to dump treated wastewater into Onion Creek, but there’s something even better. Developments and subdivisions are contracting to buy the treated effluent to store on their properties for use in landscape and sports field irrigation . The water is being reused in ponds for fishing, and in other surface storage schemes.

Eventually, because water is so precious in this semi-arid region, the city will be able to take this treated effluent and then run it though the water treatment plant for household and business taps in town. This sounds repugnant, until you realize that is exactly what happens to the effluent now, courtesy of natural waterways and ground percolation. City effluent discharged into rivers all over the region, as well as private septic systems spraying or trickling onto the surface, are re-captured by downstream municipalities which treat it for drinking water. What nature does in its own time and place can be duplicated in a more focused way by each municipality.

This attention to wastewater and to drinking water is what will allow the region to sustain the growth it is experiencing.

Now if we could just solve our transportation situation….

West of Weird

Guess ‘weird’ is a matter of opinion, but I went on my first “West of Weird Property Tour” with lender Trey Powers today. ‘Weird’ is a self-proclaimed descriptor of Austin, and Dripping Springs is west of Austin, so…. you get the idea.

The big draw for me was a twelve-and-a-half acre property with large home right in the middle of the new Arrowhead Ranch subdivision. This is close in, and I mean Close In to ‘downtown’ Dripping Springs. The ranchette and subdivision are beautiful, with live oaks, wet-weather streams, and rocky outcroppings.

The ranchette is the remnant of the ranch which contains the main house, built in 2000, with horse barn and amenities. Somebody has GOT to buy this for a bed-and-breakfast or related retirement project right in the middle of the town which calls itself the “Wedding Capital” of central Texas. Please call me if you know someone who wants to buy this jewel.

IMG_3995

Entry

IMG_3996

View outward from the front of the house

IMG_3999

Nice pool off the outdoor kitchen, no?

IMG_3997

Yes, that’s a library with fireplace through the door in the center of the photo.

IMG_4008

Example of good planning: the antler chandelier can be lowered by pulley for cleaning.

IMG_4010

These were the ones that weren’t standing in the middle of the road when we were leaving.

While we’re on the subject of views, the first home we looked at this morning is lovely- spacious and only one story with this view from the back verandah:

IMG_3991

The title company could find no restrictions on what could be built on this property, so you could have your own business and a lovely home. But, please keep in mind that if you have no restrictions on your property use, your neighbors have none on theirs. Anyone up for a little acreage on a hill with a beautiful Texas hill country view from the house?

You can find me at 512-970-9121.

EXTRA: Here’s something to do this weekend. I am the president of The Austin Mosaic Guild and I am always promoting this art and this organization of wonderful people. We were invited to exhibit with the Texas Society of Sculptors at its annual Sculptfest, so, if you feel like dining at The Oasis this weekend, you can see and purchase indoor or outdoor sculptures to complement your new hill country views.  Here is the link with photos and hours and address:

Sculptfest 2017

More Than a Credit Score

Roberta and Jimmy at home in Kerrville

A Blast from the Past- Kerrville, TX

I was updating my home-buyer’s packet, and I reached out to a knowledgeable lender, James Dowis, of Infinity Mortgage here in Austin, to ask him what I need to tell people to prepare before they go home loan shopping. James, being the ever-helpful person he is, promptly responded with these suggestions:

For all pre-qualifications:

 

  • 2016 & 2015 W-2’s and/or 1099’s.
  • If you are a business owner please provide your 2015 and 2016 K-1’s
  • 2016 & 2015 Filed Personal Tax Returns, all pages and schedules
  • Most current 30 days paystubs
  • Most current 2 months bank statements, including account number, name and address, all pages
  • Copy of your driver’s license
  • Copy of your existing mortgage statement and most recent property insurance bill, if you currently own a home and plan on retaining it

 

When I first talk with the borrower I ask questions including if they have been involved in a foreclosure / bankruptcy /divorce and I alter my document requests to possibly include the following:

 

  • Copy of your divorce decree and child support orders, if applicable
  • Copy of the Trustee Deed from when your foreclosure was finalized
  • Copy of your bankruptcy documentation showing your discharge date

 

For underwriting, we would also need:

 

  • Explanations of large non-payroll deposits.  “Large” typically means 25% or more of gross monthly income.
  • Transaction log from bank statement showing the earnest money check was cashed.

 

All deals, every one, require different documents based on the unique scenarios.  If gift funds are received we need documentation on that.  If the borrower is married but the spouse will not be on the loan there are documents needed for that.  So, we collect the basic items, review them along with the application and then ask for the remaining items.

I hope this helps you buyers out there on this “Mathematical Monday”. Thanks, James!