GRANITE SHOALS — The Granite Shoals Fire Department will provide a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week crew starting Oct. 1, thanks to recent fire protection agreements.
During the Granite Shoals City Council meeting Sept. 26, officials inked a deal with an emergency services district. Granite Shoals also has a tentative agreement with Highland Haven leaders that means the fire department will have two certified firefighters on duty 24 hours a day.
The Emergency Service District No. 3 reached a one-year, $196,000 agreement with the city.
The city of Highland Haven has a tentative five-year agreement with Granite Shoals to pay
$75,000 in the first year and with an increase of $2,500 every year after until Highland Haven pays $85,000 in the fifth year.
”If a call comes, we’ll address it immediately,” City Manager Ken Nickel said regarding fire coverage for the ESD and Highland Haven. “Our response time will be substantially better for the ESD and Highland Haven. I’m excited about that from a safety aspect.”
In addition, the council passed an interlocal agreement with Burnet County for mutual aid fire assistance.
The two will officially become part of the city Dec. 31.
Nickel said he believes the annexation went smoothly because city officials gave thorough answers to two questions.
The first was how the city would handle short-term rentals of private residences for fewer than 30 days. Granite Shoals city ordinances don’t allow short-term rentals in regular residential areas.
Nickel said if homeowners could prove they’ve paid taxes and had been renting their property for awhile, the city would allow it.
“They can continue doing what they’ve been doing,” he said.
The other question was about the number of residents living in Granite Shoals. To be a home-ruled city, it must have 5,000 residents. The last count of Granite Shoals residents showed 4,910. A number under 5,000 would mean the city couldn’t annex, Nickel said, but officials proved the city had the minimum number of 5,000 residents.
Nickel credited Beaver Isle homeowners association official Tammie Bennett for communicating with the property owners and city staff.
In other business:
• Bids for hiring outside help to look at the integrity of the structure for the multipurpose sports facility next to the Roddick Tennis Center are more expensive than the city had budgeted. In addition, council members asked staff how it would be maintained and about restrooms. Nickel is researching possibilities that include volunteer help from sports leagues or renting out parts of the facility for tournaments. Nickel said there’s an old restroom that hasn’t been in use for a decade that already has a septic tank. He is looking at costs to get it in working order and for upgrades.
• The wildlife management program will begin its second year in early October with 10 bowhunters to help control the deer population within the city. Six of them signed up for a second year. Nickel said the program requires every volunteer bowhunter to pass written and field tests every month to be qualified to participate. In addition, the city purchased an 8-foot-by-8-foot cooler to put the harvested deer in once the carcasses have been cleaned. It should hold 15 deer at one time.
• A town hall meeting to talk about the road bond is 9-11 a.m. Oct. 14 at the fire station, 8410 RR 1431 West in Granite Shoals. Nickel said the purpose of the meeting is to present facts about the road bond. “We can’t be for or against it,” he said. “We also want to answer any questions our citizens have. We want to be transparent for folks.”
Last year, voters approved a $3 million bond after city officials anticipated receiving a $3.6 million matching grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After the November election, city officials learned the USDA could fund no more than $50,000. Since then, city officials have been looking at ways to get North Phillips Ranch Road, Valley View, and Prairie Creek repaired with the $3 million approved by voters.
The first town hall drew about 50 residents. Nickel said officials anticipate more will attend in October.