JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
GRANITE SHOALS — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials spoke about some recreational opportunities during the Granite Shoals City Council’s regular meeting July 14.
At the top of the list are improving boat ramps at city parks and grants that are available to help with costs.
City Manager Ken Nickel said the city has enough land near the water to build massive docks. His concern, however, is having enough land for additional parking.
“I’m not sure we have enough land to do what they were talking about, the expansion of land for a multi-vehicle boat ramps,” he said. “Smaller grants will help with the boat repair ramps.”
One of the possible grants is a 75/25 percent match. That means for every $1 the city spends, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has a grant that will give $3.
Nickel added that the extra revenue brought from hosting bass fishing tournaments — “that raises revenue for our businesses; thats a good thing” — has officials considering the possibilities. That industry, he said, is estimated to be $9 billion annually.
“There are a number of major tournaments on Lake LBJ,” the city manager said. “Now, it’s finding out what kind of grants (TPWD) has available.”
Those tournaments draw about 350 boats and trailers, so parking is a concern. As a result, Nickel is looking at vacant land around city parks that could be used for parking.
The council took no action since the presentation was simply to give city officials options on what can be done in the future, Nickel said.
The council also heard from Wildlife Advisory Committee chairman Jason Brady, who said one of the committee’s projects is creating a survey asking citizens what they want to do to help control the deer population. The projected release of the survey is in August. Officials are in the midst of counting the number of deer in the city.
Nickel said officials have not decided the course of action, emphasizing they are examining all options right now.
“We have not selected a program yet,” he said. “I don’t think we’re at a point where they feel comfortable enough to make a recommendation.”
The city has signed a letter of intent to allow Way Co. to examine and recommend changes that will make water distribution to residents more cost-effective.
“That could help us save money down the road,” Nickel said. “We’re looking for the efficiency and where we can improve our efficiency and operating costs.”
The council also:
• was told 500 of 2,300 smart water meters have been installed during the past two weeks. Those meters will send consumption information to city hall for billing instead of having a city worker gather the data manually.
• approved the contract of new Municipal Judge Frank Reilly at eight hours a month for $1,000. The reason for the fewer hours and compensation than former Municipal Judge Ed Cutchen is because the clerks are handling more of the workload, Nickel said.
• was told members will be asked to vote to annex three homes on Hill View Drive during the July 21 special meeting. Those homes were not annexed some time ago, before Nickel was hired as city manager. Meanwhile, homeowners have had a paved road and the use of city water without paying taxes, he said.
• was told lakes Buchanan and Travis are at 71 percent capacity as of July 1, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority. Lake Buchanan is at 77 percent capacity as of July 13, according to LCRA. Still, the city remains in water conservation, Nickel said. “We’re into the hottest part of the year,” he said. “We have to be careful on lake levels. We can still only water once a week.”