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Granite Shoals takes advantage of low interest rates to issue water bonds

Granite Shoals moves elections

COVID-19 is shaking things up around the Highland Lakes, including in the city of Granite Shoals, where the city council moved its municipal election to November 3 from May 2. Also, work on the water tower and other water-related infrastructure scheduled for this year won’t begin until 2021.

With such low interest rates, the city of Granite Shoals jumped at the chance to issue water bonds during its March 10 regular meeting.

“It’s unbelievable the interest rates are so low,” Looney said. “It’s a great opportunity for the city. It’s almost borrowing free money.”

The council on Tuesday approved issuing the water bonds, which were passed by voters in November 2019.

Looney believes the interest rate will be from 2.5 percent to 2.9 percent for the 20-year bonds, lower than the projected 3-4 percent interest rates during the bond election. The difference could save the city and its taxpayers thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the bonds.

In other action, councilors approved spending $185,618.26 on paving Kingswood and Churchill drives, covering 16,651.11 square feet or 3.15 miles. Looney said the money will come from the 1 percent sales tax commitment to the city’s roads and streets fund it approved January 28.

He said the city is working on a timeline for the project, which should finish in one month.

“We’re working on a timeline to see if we can do the work or work with (Burnet) County,” he said.

The council already approved spending $45,750 to address drainage issues on Churchill and Kingswood during its February 25 meeting.

Councilors also:

  • set up a short-term rental advisory committee made up of residents to advise councilors on possible regulations and policies for short-term or vacation home rentals.
  • directed City Attorney Josh Katz to look at requiring registration of contractors under building permits. Looney noted that many residents were against an ordinance that required contractors to register with City Hall at an annual fee of $50. “A lot of folks didn’t want to see it done through an ordinance,” said Looney, adding that if there is a registration fee, it could be added to the building permits costs that must be approved by the council at a later date.
  • learned it couldn’t regulate heavy trucks and truck traffic on city streets because the state of Texas has its own regulations and stipulations. The city wants to protect the newly repaved Prairie Creek Road, Phillips Ranch Road, and Valley View Lane, a project that cost taxpayers $3 million.    
  • approved spending $14,542 on a playscape for Quarry Park, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. The playscape, from SuperiorPlay, was listed for $25,913 and is for ages 2-12. The money will come from the city’s Restricted Parks Fund. Looney said the playscape will add to the value of the park. The park is home to the Leo Manzano Hike, Bike and Run Trails and the Roddick Tennis Center. The city received a $500,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to create a multi-sports complex in the park. “(The playscape) makes Quarry Park a destination park,” Looney said.
  • approved the purchase of a motor for the city’s 2008 Ford F750 dump truck at $16,585.60. Though this was an unplanned expense, city staff asked councilors to approve the acquisition because the truck pulls heavy equipment to job sites. Looney said TAT Services in Marble Falls is purchasing the old motor from the city for $4,000. “The motor blew up, and we don’t know why,” he said. “We had to get it running.”
  • heard that vendors are still needed for GraniteFest, which is Friday-Saturday, March 27-28, at Quarry Park. Looney said the city festival needs vendors of all sorts, including food and especially booths for children’s activities. General vendors pay $55, while vendors selling one type of food pay $100 and those selling multiple food items pay $175. Event and vendor coordinator David Querbach said vendors who need electricity should call him at 210-844-8193. The deadline to apply is Sunday, March 15, but Looney said that, in all likelihood, the deadline will be extended.