During the City Council meeting July 14, staff shared that the costs to complete the facility at Quarry Park are $94,500 over budget. In March 2017, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department awarded the city a matching grant of $500,000 for the project.
City Manager Jeff Looney said he and Assistant City Manager Peggy Smith have been looking at every line item cost to find savings, including using city employees when possible to work on the complex.
He said the city could save money by eliminating planned pickleball and shuffleboard courts as well as about $13,000 on artificial turf for sports fields by going with another bid.
Councilor Libby Edwards said a resident who plays pickleball has offered to draw pickleball court lines on the QuickCourts at Quarry Park if the city will purchase the paint. The resident is part of a pickleball group that meets regularly.
Looney said he would happily contact the resident to accept the offer.
CITY BURN BAN
In other business, councilors approved a citywide burn ban after a written request from Granite Shoals Fire Chief Austin Stanphill.
The city’s burn ban prohibits outdoor burning of brush, wood, and similar materials as well as outdoor welding projects. Barbecue pits are not included in the ban at this time.
In a letter to the City Council, Stanphill noted that “the fire department has responded to grass and brush fires due to (unfavorable dry conditions)” and that he would like the city to enact a outdoor burn ban for at least two weeks or “until weather conditions improve. At the end of the two weeks, weather conditions will be re-evaluated and further recommendations will be made.”
Stanphill said residents who had obtained burn permits have already been told those permits are rescinded.
CITY HALL REMAINS CLOSED
The City Council also concurred with city staff to keep City Hall closed to the public for the foreseeable future due to rising COVID-19 cases in Burnet County.
“We want to keep the doors closed,” Looney said. “We’ve had no incidents inside City Hall … . The precautions we’re taking allows us (to stay closed and remain safe). I think we’re in better shape by staying closed.”
Councilors Steve Hougen, a surgeon, and Will Skinner agreed. Skinner’s wife works at a health facility.
“Seeing her is intense, it’s scary,” he said. “I don’t think it’s time to open (City Hall) yet.”
The council also:
tabled a vote on allowing residents to own chickens to allow more input from residents before a planned vote at the July 28 meeting;
tabled a vote on eliminating the registration fee for residents owning fewer than five bee hives;
and encouraged Councilors Bruce Jones and Skinner to work with city staff on creating an economic development committee consisting of residents. Those wanting more information about the committee should contact City Hall at 830-598-2424.