JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
GRANITE SHOALS — Council member Eric Tanner is stepping down because he feels he can better serve the city as an advocate for a proposed $3 million road bond.
Tanner presented his resignation to the council during its regular meeting Sept. 13. His final day is Sept. 17, a day after the council will hold a special meeting to vote on the tax rate and budget.
He resigned to openly express his desire to see voters approve a street bond that will be on the November ballot.
“After leaving the council, I will be enthusiastically campaigning for the passage of the street improvement bond issue that I helped bring before the voters,” he wrote in his letter of resignation. “I feel that, as a private citizen, where I can both educate my fellow citizens and actively advocate for the passage of the bonds, I can have a potentially more positive effect on the city than I could in the few remaining months of my final term on council. Going forward, I also hope to continue to assist the city manager in pursuing the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) grant for the badly needed street improvements and to assist other city staff in areas where my knowledge and expertise may be helpful.”
The street improvements would be on Phillips Ranch Road, Valley View, and Prairie Creek. Voters will be asked to approve $3 million to rebuild all of Phillips Ranch Road and Valley View and to construct gutters and curbs on Prairie Creek.
If approved, city leaders will submit an application for a matching grant to the USDA. The bond is the matching part of the grant the department requires.
City Manager Ken Nickel thanked Tanner, whose current term ends in May, for his service. Tanner joined the council in 2011.
City staff members have initiated the process to fill Tanner’s seat by posting an application on the city’s website. Applications, resumes, and other pertinent information are due by 3 p.m Sept. 30. Staff members will review the materials to ensure applicants meet the qualifications to serve on the council.
On Oct. 11, city council members will interview the applicants. Each council member will write the name of his top two choices to activate the point system. The first name listed is awarded two points, while the second name gets one point.
Members will then discuss the applicant who has the most points. Once the discussion ends, the council can offer the seat to the top applicant and approve his or her appointment. Nickel said the individual will be sworn in that night.
The reason for this process is to give transparency to the public and “to give people a chance to run for place 3,” Nickel said.
The term runs through May 2017.
The council also was updated on the application that will be submitted to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by the end of this month seeking a $500,000 matching grant to help pay for the creation of two soccer fields for 14-and-under players, two volleyball courts, two basketball courts, three batting cages, one shuffleboard court, and one pickleball court. The courts will be located in the middle building between the Roddick Tennis Center and the quick courts near city hall on Phillips Ranch Road.
The grant also includes a girls softball field or youth baseball field in an area facing RR 1431. And Highland Lakes Master Naturalists will create a wildlife viewing station near a pond no more than 70 feet off one of the trails that’s part of the Leonel Manzano Hike, Bike and Run Trail.
“They’ve done one at Inks Lake,” Nickel said. “They’ll do a similar one for us. It’s a beautiful pond that has wildlife, dragonflies, all kinds of things. They’re excited about it. I think it’ll add some real value. It’s a building that will have some glass that’ll serve between 20 to 25 people.”
City officials and Marble Falls Independent School District officials are still working out the details of the land agreement that will create at least one soccer field at Highland Lakes Elementary School.
In addition to reviewing the agreement, Nickel said he is trying to create partnerships with businesses, associations, and volunteers to help build amenities for the field that includes restrooms and perhaps even a concession stand.
Nickel will speak at the Parent-Teacher Association meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Highland Lakes Elementary School, 8200 RR 1431 West, where he’ll talk about the vision of creating fields and courts for residents.