STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Granite Shoals moved its city elections to November 3 from May 2, and delayed water-related infrastructure work scheduled for this year until 2021 due to efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus that has reached pandemic levels.
The city has three city council seats on the ballot, only one of which is a contested race. For Place 6, Phil Ort is running against incumbent Will Skinner.
Place 2 incumbent Bruce Jones and Place 4 incumbent Steve Hougen are running unopposed.
When it comes to infrastructure, planned water plant improvements and construction of a new water tower set for this year won’t begin until 2021.
“The (current) water tower will remain in operation,” City Manager Jeff Looney said. “We’re trying to build (the new one) beside (the old one).”
Granite Shoals residents approved a $7 million water bond in November 2019 for the projects. Interest rates, which were under 3 percent for the 20-year bonds three weeks ago, have risen slightly since then, Looney said.
RBC Financial and McCall, Parkhurst and Horton — the city’s bond counselors — are still working on the bond package, though things aren’t moving quite as fast as prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Looney added.
For now, city hall is closed to the public. Calls are still being answered at 830-598-2424 for municipal needs. Payments can be made by check only in the night drop box.
Staff is still working normal business hours, keeping other projects on schedule. Those projects include finishing the multi-sports complex structure at Quarry Park located on the grounds of city hall and smoothing Kings Hill Street, which is a dirt road.
“We’re scrapping the roads and filling the potholes,” Looney said.
City parks remain open as long as those using the park follow social distancing rules ordered by Governor Greg Abbott. The rules are in effect until April 30.
“People have been respectful and as long as they’re respectful, we’ll keep them open,” he said.
For more on how COVID-19 is affecting the Highland Lakes, go to the DailyTrib.com coronavirus resources webpage.