SINTON – The Sinton City Council members had their hands full on Tuesday evening as they voted on a several-step process that will eventually lead to great things coming to the city.
The first step was to vote on an ordinance to include the entire 2,400-acre tract of land owned by Steel Dynamics, Inc. (SDI) into the Sinton’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).
The next step was adopting an ordinance establishing that portion of land as the industrial district which then allows Sinton to turn around and negotiate industrial district agreements to provide certain services.
“There’s several things that are happening,” Sinton City Manager John Hobson said. “Some are some are good for the cities and some are good for SDI.
“SDI did not want to be annexed into the city, of course. They don’t want to pay the taxes and that’s legitimate.
“As I explained to them, based upon Corpus Christi’s past actions – not to say that it could happen but you never know – Corpus Christi’s ETJ is right at the city of Taft right now. And it wouldn’t take much for that ETJ to expand possibly at some point in time down the road to include their property.
“So, that was how I stressed to them the importance of going ahead and extending the ETJ.
“I said you can either choose to be part of us or you can be forced to be a part of Corpus.
“There’s that possibility.”
Sinton now has the obligation to provide water and sewer services to the SDI facility, which Hobson said was not an issue as the company will pay for the extension of the lines from the city to the facility themselves.
He also noted that they will only be providing potable water and not be providing industrial waste services. The six or so million gallons a day the steel plant uses will come from the Mary Rhodes Pipeline which delivers water from Lake Texana and the Colorado River to South Texas.
“We’re thankful they’re here and all these good things are happening, but at the same time, it’s going to put an impact on our city and those impacts are going to have cost,” Hobson continued.
“And as I stressed to them, you’re creating this impact but you’re not contributing to my budget in anyway.
“So that’s where we came up with the payment in lieu of taxes project where, over a 15-year period, they’ll contribute $6,300,000.”
In 2021, the first year SDI will be in operation, they will pay $240,000 – roughly 25% of Sinton’s current tax revenue. SDI will pay that amount for three years.
For the fourth through eighth years the number jumps to $360,000 a year.
From years nine to 11, it will be $420,000. In year 12, $480,000, year 13, $600,000, and in years 14 and 15, it will be $720,000 a year.
“We feel like this is a gain for the city,” Hobson continued. “We’re not losing anything.
“You know the water and sewer extension, like I said, is all paid at their cost. They’ll pay a water and sewer bill just like any other resident or business in town, so it’s really a win for us and it’s a good deal.
“We’re very thankful for them to be here.”
One of the big issues that Sinton is facing – as well as the entire Coastal Bend – is housing.
Hobson said he hopes local people will get some of the 600 jobs being created by SDI, but when they can finally afford a nicer home, where will they go?
Odem Trust, located on the east side of Sinton, is currently hashing out plans and working with a developer to create more housing.
“We want locals to get those jobs and we want those people that have those jobs to either move to Sinton or upgrade from their first house maybe to something different, but we don’t have that available,” Hobson said. “So that’s one of the hardest things that we’re pushing right now is to get that.”
He also added that Sinton won’t see major growth happening all of a sudden, but it is coming.
He mentioned that more than a few other industrial facilities are looking at the area near SDI to bring new industry and, with that, more jobs.
He urges business and property owners to step up and make the investment to keep up their properties and be ready for the changing landscape.
“I mean, in even just five years from now, you’ll be able to see a visible difference in this community, I have no doubt about it.
“So by the time it’s all said and done, this is really big and I’m just glad to be part of it.”