Marble Falls City Engineer Kacey Paul presents updates on the Avenue N bridge project to the Marble Falls City Council. The city of Meadowlakes voted to enter into a cost-sharing agreement with Marble Falls to fund the project. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley
Phase 1 of the Avenue N bridge project in Marble Falls will be underway soon following decisions made March 16 by both the Marble Falls and the Meadowlakes city councils. The project previously faced funding uncertainty as the two municipalities negotiated a cost-sharing agreement.
The Avenue N low-water crossing serves as the main entrance into Meadowlakes, a gated community built around the Hidden Falls Golf Club. Since a 2018 flood washed out the crossing, Marble Falls has pursued a $3.5 million bridge project to keep the roadway open during future floods.
During a specially called Meadowlakes City Council meeting March 8, Marble Falls city officials proposed a cost-sharing partnership with Meadowlakes. Marble Falls asked Meadowlakes to split $358,000, the remaining cost after subtracting grants and loans.
On Tuesday, Meadowlakes City Council voted to provide $57,633 toward the project.
The amount of Meadowlakes funding was determined by comparing the population of both cities, the estimated use of the bridge, and the ability of each city to pay for its portion of the project, Meadowlakes Mayor Mark Bentley said.
“There’s a lot of different ways to split the costs,” Bentley said. “We have a limited number of taxpayers, (Marble Falls) has more, and they have a sales tax. You’ve got to factor that in.”
The majority of the project will be funded through grants and a $233,000 zero-interest loan that can be paid back over the next 20 years. The funds provided by Meadowlakes will be used toward this loan. According to Bentley, the agreement will cost the city roughly $3,000 annually.
“I hope this is a sign of mutual respect and collaboration between our two cities,” Bentley said.
City council meetings for both municipalities are held at the same time: every other Tuesday at 6 p.m. The item was originally at the top of the Marble Falls agenda for March 16, but the council moved discussion to the end of the meeting so it could hear back from Meadowlakes.
“I’ve had discussion with their city administrator and he’s going to let me know the outcome via text, and I can relay it to you during your discussion,” Marble Falls City Manager Mike Hodge told the council during the meeting.
Once it received word that Meadowlakes had voted to provide some funding, the Marble Falls council voted to fund the remaining $300,000. The council did not determine from where the funds would come during its meeting. It also voted to enter into contracts with TRC Companies, which will provide engineering services throughout Phase 1 of the project.
“We will be in communication with (Meadowlakes) as the design process continues,” Marble Falls Mayor John Packer said.