Horseshoe Bay residents want new road plan

HORSESHOE BAY — A City Council plan calling for residents to shoulder the cost of upgrading local streets has some neighbors petitioning leaders to reconsider the idea.

Instead, street repairs should be paid from property taxes, say the residents, who will have the petition on display this week so it can be signed.

Former Councilman Buddy Schrader — who served on the council for a year after the city’s incorporation in 2005 — said he’s one of about a dozen residents circulating the petition.

“There’s just a matter of differences on how to solve a problem,” Schrader told The Daily Tribune Friday. “Pure and simple. We live in a neighborhood with various backgrounds, and we formulate opinions and differences. It’s just that simple.”

Last year, Mayor Bob Lambert submitted a plan calling for residents to pay for upgrades to their streets, including new pavement, curbs and gutters.

The city took over the streets from the Horseshoe Bay Property Owners’ Association last year. Previously, the POA collected fees from property owners to pay for street maintenance.

According to Lambert’s plan — available on the city’s Web site — residents could petition the city to have their streets upgraded for a fee based on the street frontage of each lot.

That fee would come to $35 per foot of street frontage, to be paid in a lump sum or through six financed payments.

Councilman Jeff Robinson said some residents have called for the city to use property-tax funds to pay for the improvements.

“Many of the folks who are supporting an ad-valorem tax plan feel that since the other POA residents use the (city) streets, they should share in the cost of the upgrade,” Robinson said. “There are no absolute rights or wrongs in these discussions.”

Using property-tax money to pay for street upgrades could also impact the city’s tax rate during the budget season this summer, Robinson said, adding the current rate of 33 cents per $100 is significantly lower than the 50-cent rate from 2005.

“The tax rate will surely be an important matter in this summer’s budget workshops,” he said. “The accumulated funds will likely be used for various aspects of improving streets, drainage, safety and low-water crossings.”

In the meantime, the city’s plan calls for repairs for high-use streets such as Horseshoe Bay Boulevard, Bay West Boulevard and Clayton Nolen Street to be high-priority upgrades, though it’s not yet known if residents living along those streets will be charged for the improvements.

Neighborhoods on streets branching off from those main roads likely will be queried about possible upgrades, according to the road plan.

In the end, Schrader said he’s confident both sides can reach a compromise.

“We don’t want to divide the community,” he said. “I think both parties are interested in taking the high ground.”

The petition will be available for residents to sign March 1-5 at Quail Point Lodge, 107 Twilight and at the Bottle Shop, 7503 FM 2147.

chris@thepicayune.com

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