River Place makes district, tax official

20180221_River Place Limited District

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

There were 770 ballots cast and River Place residents overwhelmingly approved the River Place Limited District and the tax rate on Election Day, May 5.

“Obviously 770 voters, that turnout is significant, more than what we anticipated in this type of election. Thanks to all of those who did vote,” said Scott Crosby, a River Place Limited District board member as well as the president of the River Place Homeowners Association.

There were 758 River Place residents in favor of ratifying or authorizing the continuation of the River Place Limited District and 12 opposing it, Crosby said.

There were 754 residents in favor of, and 16 against, the maximum tax rate of $0.50 per $100 of assessed value. This tax will fund the district’s maintenance and operation of the neighborhood’s parks, trails and solid waste services.

Not all River Place residents were be able to vote for the Limited District or its tax rate. The HOA covers more residents than the Limited District.

Although the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the city of Austin and the River Place Municipal Utility District provided for a maximum $0.50 per $100 valuation ad valorem tax, the subdivision’s River Place Limited District officers voted unanimously April 4 to instead cap that property tax at $0.15 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Since the ballots for the May 5 election were prepared before the Limited District’s April 4  resolution, the ballots showed $0.50 per $100 valuation as the maximum, said Crosby.

The River Place Limited District became effective Dec. 15 after the community’s annexation by the city of Austin became final. The River Place MUD Board of directors became the River Place Limited District Board.  

Three long-time board members did not seek re-election — Lee Wretlind, who has been leading the community nearly since its beginning in the mid 1980s, and Pat Reilly, and Claudia Tobias, who have each served the community over a decade.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank them,” Crosby said. “This commitment is hard to find.”

There were three open seats on the five-member, River Place Limited District board and only three residents running for those. Each board member term is four years.

The three new directors Tim Mattox, Ivar Rachkind and Jennifer Mushtaler will be sworn in at a meeting tentatively set for May 22, when officers will also be selected. These three are also all board members of the HOA.

“We now have four of the five limited district directors also are directors of the HOA,” Crosby said.

He said that there are economies of scale with having the overlap in leadership between the two organizations. They can have a common set of directives and it helps streamline the decision making process.

“The community really doesn’t understand what the HOA does versus what the limited district does,” Crosby said.

But with this type of leadership between the two organizations, River Place can have one landscaper and be unified on these types of decisions, he added.

The Limited District has reserves totaling $950,000, funds that would have gone to the city of Austin if the Limited District did not get approved.

“We can use those reserves to supplement the tax rate going forward in an attempt to keep the taxes as low as possible,” Crosby said in an earlier Four Points News report.

The funds transferred to the Limited District will be used to pay for large projects including replacing playscapes, renovating park fields, resurfacing a basketball court and possibly resurfacing parking lots in the next few years, Jistal said in that report. It will also go toward emergency expenses, he said.

At the end of the life of the Limited District, the reserve fund should be exhausted, Wretlind said.

Going forward, the limited district board is looking at priorities.


“The board has to focus on first on parks and sports fields and get them ready for the summer,” Crosby said. “Then re-engage the traffic committee, and then jump onto the budget for next year since September 30 is year-end.”


A trail committee was formed last summer and it made recommendations on rules of the trail, usage, traffic control and safety.


“Those recommendations were not approved by the limited district, or at the time the MUD Board,” Crosby said. “The plan going forward is to re-engage the (trail) committee, revive the recommendations, and then vote on them.”  


The River Place Limited District board meetings will also move to evenings.


“The move to evenings is to try to get the community involved to get input and feedback from them,” Crosby said.

River Place Limited District board member Lee Wretlind, who is a former River Place MUD board member, discusses the reserve fund the new district has. Leslee Bassman

Board members from the River Place Limited District and the River Place Homeowners Association met for a joint meeting April 4 to discuss the upcoming election that will include ratifying the Limited District as well as its property tax rate. (from left) Tim Mattox, Ivar Rachkind, Scott Crosby, Pat Reilly, Lee Wretlind, Claudia Tobias and Art Jistal. Leslee Bassman