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Granite Shoals consolidation move could save half-million dollars

Work on Prairie Creek Road in Granite Shoals

Barricades blocked Prairie Creek Road on June 25 to ensure street crews could safely seal the road to protect it from the elements. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The city of Granite Shoals has consolidated its general obligation and bond debt, which will save taxpayers more than half of a million dollars in the years to come.

It also allows the city to take a big step forward in building its new water tower as well as upgrading its water treatment plant and some existing water lines.

The City Council approved the consolidation plan of its $9.3 million general obligation and refunding bonds during its June 23 meeting. The city secured an interest rate over the 20-year life span of the debt, which will save $583,164 just over the next eight years. 

“That couldn’t have worked out any better,” City Manager Jeff Looney said. “That’s a huge benefit. There are so many things we can do. We could put that money toward roads. My goal is to get them all paved.”

During his presentation, R. Dustin Traylor, managing director of RBC Capital Markets, noted that the blended interest rate on all of the bonds is 1.83 percent.

“That’s less than two percent,” he told council members. “We think that’s fantastic.”

Looney agreed.

“I hope our citizens realize the huge benefit this package will do,” he said. “It’s truly remarkable the money we’ll be able to save. Having this financial stability makes all the difference in the world.” 

The council also learned that, as COVID-19 cases rise in Burnet County, Looney wants to wait several more weeks before reopening City Hall to the public. “We thought about opening July 13, that’s a week after the Fourth of July holiday,” Looney said. “We’re going to have to play this by ear. We’re able to handle most issues well. We’re accommodating everybody and keeping everybody safe. We’re doing fine. We’re operating the way we should.”

The city will use about $56,000 from its $281,435 allotment from the federal CARES Act to help keep visitors to city offices, when they open, safe from the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Assistant City Manager Peggy Smith said the funds will be used for the municipal court and to improve the sound and video system in the council chambers to continue streaming meetings. 

The city is also moving forward with work on the Quarry Park multipurpose sports complex. It has approximately $168,000 remaining from a $500,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant for the facility. 

That money will go to buying flooring for the volleyball and basketball courts, artificial turf for the soccer fields, the baseball field, and lighting. The city has asked for prices for the flooring, turf, and lighting.