City Manager Jeff Looney’s new salary of $162,000 puts him in line with what other city managers in the Highland Lakes are earning, according to city officials. It’s a $37,000 raise.
The Granite Shoals City Council approved the new contract during a special meeting Aug. 4. The contract also gives him four weeks of vacation.
Looney, who is completing his second year at the helm, was hired Sept. 10, 2018. He has three decades of city management experience.
Mayor Carl Brugger and Mayor Pro-Tem Jim Davant cited several reasons for why they voted for the raise.
At the top of the list was a survey conducted by Public Servants Professional Consultants, which showed what each city manager in the Highland Lakes was earning.
“He’s done an excellent job,” Brugger said about Looney. “He has 34 years of experience, and he has a good education. We did a survey with a third party. They came back with midpoints, minimums, and maximums. When we looked, Jeff Looney was at rock bottom. I know people are critiquing us. It’s easy to pick cities in West Texas (to compare to Granite Shoals). Those cities aren’t adjacent to Austin and to us, and they don’t have the cost of living we have here.”
Davant agreed that the salary survey opened his eyes to the discrepancy between Looney’s salary and those of other area city managers.
“We have brought him up to be in the range of what you have in this area,” Davant said. “Absent of the salary survey, had we not had that as a basis, I don’t know that I would have voted for the salary increase.”
Brugger said the council will also review other city salaries in light of the survey.
Under Looney’s leadership, the city is looking at saving more than $580,000 through a $9.3 million bond consolidation plan.
Davant credited Looney for bringing in outside financial counselors to look at the city’s finances, which led to the bond refinancing.
“We may not have had that without Jeff,” Davant added.
Along with saving the city several hundreds of thousands of dollars through refinancing the bond debt, Brugger and Davant said Looney is always looking for ways to improve Granite Shoals.
The city manager advocated for repairing part of Prairie Creek Road after ripples showed in the pavement following previous work. He even found funding for the fix. Then, on June 8, while most of Granite Shoals slept, Looney was at the Quarry Park multipurpose sports complex at 2 a.m. monitoring crews pouring the concrete for the facility.
“I think it demonstrates his commitment to the city of Granite Shoals,” Davant said. “We’ve had issues at Prairie Creek since that road was done. He’s been out there. He’s been a force for resolution.”
In other business, the council voted to accept a $67,719.30 quote from Lowry Electrical of New Braunfels to buy and install electrical lighting at the multipurpose sports complex.
“The lighting is going to be controlled by our cellphones,” said Looney, adding that each fixture will have guards to eliminate vandalism.
The lighting will be installed first and then the flooring, Assistant City Manager Peggy Smith said.
During the July 28 regular City Council meeting, councilors approved a $190,000 contract with AllSport America for flooring and artificial turf for the complex.
And also, City Secretary Elaine Simpson told the council during the special Aug. 4 meeting that the Capital Area Council of Governments awarded Granite Shoals a $16,500 grant. The money will be used for the citywide cleanup in either October or April.