Hutto Councilman Michael Smith resigns amid tax concerns

Hutto Mayor Pro-tem Michael Smith

HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — Hutto Mayor Pro Tem and City Councilman Michael J. Smith resigned from his post Monday, days after a KXAN investigation revealed outstanding tax issues and a questionable affidavit he filed in the Williamson County Clerk’s Office.

Smith said he was not aware of the tax issue until KXAN contacted him Feb. 27. Days later, Smith said he paid the taxes, and he was working to rectify any taxation issues.

In a March 3 Facebook post, Smith said he was in “constant contact” with Mayor Doug Gaul and the city attorney, and he was going to work with them on “whatever course of action is determined to be in the best interest of the city.”

KXAN first reported Smith had $146 in unpaid city and county taxes associated with his former day habilitation business, Beyond The Limits, dating back to 2014. Smith filed to run for reelection in May, while he still had unpaid taxes, according to Williamson County tax assessor-collector records and Hutto City Secretary election forms.

“After consultation with Michael to verify the facts and consultation with our City Attorney, Michael Smith submitted his resignation effective immediately,” Gaul said in a prepared statement Monday. “We would like to wish Michael the best of luck in the future and thank him for his years of service and dedication to the City of Hutto.”

According to the Hutto city charter, a candidate may not file to run in an election and be in arrears in the payment of taxes due to the city. It is not clear if Smith is still a candidate in the May election. City of Hutto spokesperson Jill Cloud said she did not have details on how the resignation would impact Smith’s place in the City Council race, and his candidacy is a “personal matter.”

According to the city charter, a majority of the City Council “shall appoint a qualified replacement to fulfill the remainder of the vacant term should the remainder of the term be less than one year.”

In addition to the outstanding taxes, Smith filed, and signed under oath, an affidavit in the county clerk’s office stating he was not associated with three unique documents in the county’s records. A KXAN review of those documents found that one was clearly a state tax lien related to Smith and his former business, Beyond the Limits. Smith said there was an error, and he had rectified the situation.

Smith’s former day habilitation center, Beyond the Limits, is closely linked to his former group home business, A Step Beyond. Both of those companies were shut down by the state in 2015, after state investigators found numerous serious issues, including possible falsification of a background check and mishandling of patient medication.

Smith told KXAN he had taken issue with the Department of Aging and Disability Services report, but he would not comment on the allegations in it. “Any mistakes that were made we’ve dealt with the consequences from that, and we have moved on,” Smith previously told KXAN.

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