Granite Shoals voters to decide on $7M in water bonds, city charter amendments

EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON

With aging pipes and a water intake that is too close to shore, city of Granite Shoals officials are asking residents to consider $7 million in utility bonds to improve the municipal water system.

The bonds along with 29 city charter amendments are on the ballot in the November 5 election. Early voting is now through Friday, November 1.

In a presentation earlier in October, the city election committee and city officials explained that the current water intake for the municipal system is too close to shore and should be moved to a deeper spot in Lake LBJ to improve water quality.

The bond would also fund up to 40,000 feet of water distribution lines. According to the bond presentation, the city needs to expand the distribution systems as well as replace “old, leaking pipes.”

The city is also considering replacing the water storage tower on Phillips Ranch Road. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which outlines the rules for municipal water systems, the current water tower is no longer compliant with state standards. The current tower has a capacity of 100,000 gallons. For a city of Granite Shoals’ size, the TCEQ standard requires one with 250,000 gallons of capacity.

The council “has promised to not raise water rates” to cover the costs of the proposed improvements, according to the presentation. The city also stated that the passage of the $7 million water bond would not increase the property tax rate because of the current low interest rates available, and that older city bonds are expiring. Thus, according to city officials, the new bonds would not lead to more dedt but will take the place of bonds that are being paid off.

The city also has a strong bond rating, which helps get lower interest rates.

It should be pointed out, however, that a person’s property tax bill is affected not only by the ad valorem tax rate but also the property’s value, which can change from year to year. As a property’s appraised value goes up, it can mean a higher property tax bill.

Granite Shoals voters also have 29 charter amendments to consider. The proposed amendments stem from a 2018 council-appointed commission’s review of the current city charter, which was approved by voters in 2005.

The city is required to review its charter, which was the role of the commission. The commission reviewed the charter as well as gathered input from residents and city officials. Commission members also looked over charters of cities with characteristics similar to Granite Shoals.

The commission proposed the amendments, which were all reviewed by the city attorney as well as by the City Council. These changes, according to the October 12 public presentation:

  • comply with changes in state law since 2005;
  • lower operating costs whenever possible;
  • increase transparency and information provided to residents;
  • and improve city staff efficiency and effectiveness.

Voters can review the ballot, which also includes 10 proposed state constitutional amendments, on the Burnet County Elections website.

Granite Shoals residents and those in Burnet County voting precincts 3 and 18 who don’t take advantage of early voting can vote on Tuesday, November 5, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Granite Shoals Fire Station, 8410 RR 1431.

A full list of Burnet County polling locations on November 5 is:

  • Voting Precincts 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 11 and 17 — Burnet County AgriLife Extension auditorium, 607 N. Vandeveer in Burnet
  • Voting Precinct 9 — Highland Haven Community Center, 118 Blackbird Drive
  • Voting Precincts 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 — Bertram Public Library, 170 N. Gabriel
  • Voting Precincts 3 and 18 — Granite Shoals Fire Station, 8410 RR 1431
  • Voting Precincts 4, 6, 19, and 20 — South Courthouse Annex, 810 Steve Hawkins Parkway in Marble Falls

editor@thepicayune.com

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