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Granite Shoals shoots down sewer plant; puts Maier in mayor’s seat

GRANITE SHOALS — Voters turned down a proposed wastewater treatment facility by 60 votes during the May 14 election.
Meanwhile, Councilman Dennis Maier is the new mayor.
Residents voted 346 to 286 against issuing $18 million in bonds to build a new sewage treatment facility. The plan called for the plant and associated lines to be built over several phases.
“Bond propositions are difficult to pass,” Mayor Frank Reilly said. “There was a lot of misinformation passed out by anonymous sources and other means and that’s unfortunate. I can’t think of a better (plan) we could have come up with for the facility.”
Reilly chose not to run for re-election so he could focus on getting the bond issue approved.
City leaders were poised to issue the bonds last fall, but residents delivered a petition with the appropriate number of signatures to have it placed on the May ballot.
Despite the defeat of the measure, Reilly said it was a close vote.
“It will be up to the new City Council and mayor to decide what they want to do now,” Reilly said.
Proponents said the plant is needed to attract new business and to prevent seepage from the city’s thousands of septic systems into Lake LBJ. Critics charged the details kept changing, such as moving the facility off city-owned land.
Meanwhile, the new council includes only one new face after the May 14 results rolled in.
Maier held off challenger Peggy Metzger in a close mayoral race, 320 to 287.
Maier had been the Place 3 councilman. Newcomer Eric Tanner will now fill that seat, beating Don Harrison, 351-228, to win.
Place 1 incumbent Shirley King held on to her spot by beating challenger Terry Hartman, 360-243.
Incumbent Carl Brugger ran unopposed for Place 5.
While the bond election didn’t go the way Reilly hoped, he was pleased residents took the opportunity to participate in the future of the city, he said.
“I’m pleased with the voters coming out. I’m glad they elected incumbents including picking Mr. Maier as mayor,” Reilly said. “I think that reflects well on the incumbents and the direction the city has been heading. Passing a bond during a recession is tough."
Reilly and other proponents fear the courts may someday order Granite Shoals to build a sewer plant to protect the lake, and he wanted residents to see it completed without outside pressure.
"We decided to push forward with it because the community has waited so long and any more delays would increase the costs of the project and put the city at risk for possible fines," he said.