Get to Know Buda’s New City Manager
Hello Buda! My name is Micah Grau, and I have the honor of serving as the new City Manager for the City of Buda. You might be thinking that my name sounds familiar. That is because I have been serving the Buda community since 2017. After the retirement of long-time City Manager Kenneth Williams, the City Council went through a search process and selected me from within the organization to take the helm. Prior to becoming the City Manager, I served Buda as an Assistant City Manager and Deputy City Manager.
[Hear from Micah on YouTube video.]
Buda was not my first stint in community service. Prior to joining the City of Buda, I served the City of Hutto for 10 years in various roles. I started my career working on the City’s budget before being promoted to Finance Director and eventually to Assistant City Manager. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M University and my master’s degree in Public Administration from Texas State University. I’m a “credentialed manager” through the International City/Council Management Association (ICMA) and serve on the Texas City Management Association (TCMA) board of directors.
My family and I love Buda. We love its small-town charm, the community events, the schools, the parks and trails, the downtown businesses and restaurants, the Buda Library, and arts activities and programs. We also love the convenience of having so much to do so close by, and the sense of community and belonging that come from the people in Buda. Buda is already a special place, and I am excited about its future.
Our City Council and staff are working very hard to serve you. Here are some of the things that we are focusing on.
Development Process and Managing Growth
As we all know, Buda is a desirable place to live, work and play. The City is reviewing new development applications for both residential and commercial projects. Stream Realty will be breaking ground soon on a nearly 60-acre light-industrial warehouse site located between West Goforth and I-35. The site will include approximately 1 million square feet of commercial space. Located adjacent to the city limits, United Properties is building approximately 850,000 square feet of commercial space known as Buda Midway within the Sunfield development. Both of these sites will add jobs and prosperity to the community.
Several residential projects are in various stages of approval and development. Sunfield, located just outside Buda’s city limits, is the most active site, adding hundreds of homes each year. The Porch at Du Pre located along Old Black Colony Road is completing subdivision improvements and will start vertical construction of homes in late 2022. The Colony at Cole Springs Road is a residential site consisting of approximately 500 homes. It will include several public infrastructure improvements, including realignment and reconstruction of a portion of Old Black Colony Road and Cole Springs Road. It also will include a new bridge over Onion Creek that will connect Cole Springs Road to FM 2770, with groundbreaking occurring in 2023.
Various other projects are under consideration but have not yet been approved.
Buda’s downtown is bustling with new construction activity on various new restaurants and venues that could be opening soon.
City of Buda staff is making adjustments to keep up with the fast pace of growth. The City Council approved two new planning staff and three new engineering staff as part of the 2022 Budget. We also are streamlining the development review process and updating the City’s development codes to provide a smoother process that results in projects that align with the City Council’s vision for Buda.
Comprehensive and Downtown Planning
In order to steer the future direction of the City and to help guide future growth, the City will be working on a new Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is the long-range plan that sets out land uses and long-term, 30-year goals for the City. We will keep the public informed through the City’s website and social media channels with information on how you can participate and provide input on these plans.
Bond Program Implementation
In November 2021, Buda voters overwhelmingly supported the City’s proposed $89.66 million bonds. The program includes $73.57 million for transportation improvements and $16.09 million for parks and trail improvements. The City Council appointed a Buda Bond Oversight Committee that is working with staff to implement the various projects. The design phase of some projects will begin this fall. Some projects could see construction begin in 2023 while others will take longer to plan and design. To learn more about the bond program and to see what projects are included, visit budabonds.com.
Community Outreach and Engagement
As City Manager, my focus over the next year is to get out and meet as many of you as possible. I try to attend as many community events as I can, so if you see me, come up and say, “Hi!” The City also will begin new quarterly town hall meetings in 2023 where we will present updates on various happenings around Buda, and residents and businesses can ask questions. I’m also working to build partnerships with our great community partners, including the Buda Economic Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce, Hays CISD, Buda Fire, and more!
If you would like to reach out to me, please feel free to do so at any time. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at 512-312-0084.