HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — Last month, James Earp was named Hutto’s new city manager. As multiple development projects are underway in his new city, what will he do to manage its rapidly growing population?

Earp said he was drawn to apply for the Hutto city manager job because of his prior experience working for the City of Kyle. He said, while being an assistant city manager, he saw how the city adapted to a spike in its population — it’s a similar situation in much of Williamson County.

“I knew that Hutto would be facing a lot of the same challenges I had dealt with,” said Earp.

The city has doubled in population in the last decade, Hutto Economic Development Director Bob Farley said. Tech companies and other businesses that have set up their operations in the region are major factors leading to that growth. In the 2010 Census, about 20,000 people were recorded in Hutto. The 2020 Census showed a number closer to 40,000 residents.

Farley said Hutto’s proximity to Austin and its available, open land makes it a prime place for these tech and industrial businesses to set up shop.

“All of those things combined just kind of make up the perfect storm,” said Farley.

As the growth looks only to be expanding in the coming years, Earp said he’s trying to preserve Hutto’s small-town charm. He noted that at a back-to-school event he admired how all the neighbors knew one another, and maintaining those bonds is a top priority.

“What we want is to make sure is that we don’t lose ourselves in the process,” said Earp.

Earp’s new role follows some turbulence for those that came before him. He said he’s hopeful to have a much less tumultuous time.