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Sunrise Beach Village mayor sets goals, highlights accomplishments at town hall

Sunrise Beach Village Chellie Stewart

Sunrise Beach Village Mayor Chellie Stewart addresses dozens of residents at a town hall meeting Oct. 12. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Sunrise Beach Village Mayor Chellie Stewart held her second town hall Oct. 12 since being elected in May, a campaign promise she made for more government transparency and community engagement.

During Tuesday’s event in the Sunrise Beach Civic Center, attended by more than 50 residents, Stewart gave updates on the city’s progress, set goals for the coming year, and addressed citywide survey results. 

Residents also heard presentations on emergency preparedness and fire safety.

“Because we have so many ready and able people, really what we needed to do was communicate with them, connect with them, and get everybody around a few goals,” Stewart said about the town halls. “It’s all about informing them and letting them know what we’re doing, where the gaps are, and they’ll step up and they’ll help.”

The Oct. 12 town hall focused on the status of the city at the end of quarter four in fiscal year 2022.

Residents heard about the city’s water department being fully staffed, the resignation of Councilor Fred Butler, whose City Council seat must be filled, and the city receiving American Rescue Plan Act funding to improve its water system. The Llano County Commissioners Court approved the money in September.

Stewart also addressed goals set in the previous quarter, almost all of which have been accomplished: 

  • finishing the year on budget
  • conducting a second town hall meeting
  • applying for ARPA funding
  • identifying waste service providers
  • selling old equipment

New goals for the first quarter of fiscal year 2023 include:

  • securing a solid waste contract
  • finalizing the city’s website design
  • acquiring a new excavator
  • increasing emergency management training
  • streamlining communication between the city and residents

Stewart also presented a comparison between 2017 citywide survey results and August 2022 results. According to the recent survey, which had 199 respondents, the police department, utilities, fire department, and city website received the highest approval ratings at 72-96 percent, while trash services, internet, streets, code enforcement, and parks received the lowest approval ratings at 24-37 percent.

Following Stewart’s presentation, Police Chief Laurie Brock addressed emergency preparedness practices for Sunrise Beach Village, which was heavily impacted by the February 2021 winter storm.

“Our community was especially affected because we lost electricity and water,” Stewart said. “We got through that because of the quality of our volunteers, not necessarily because we had a good plan in place. I wanted to be sure that we are passing on what we learned.”

The Texas A&M Forest Service’s Walter Flocke talked about fire safety and the region’s susceptibility to wildfires. He mentioned the Trails Fire in Horseshoe Bay in 2020 that destroyed two homes and threatened dozens more.

“I feel pretty confident going into the next quarter,” Stewart told after the town hall. “It’s a pretty aggressive agenda, but I feel good about this community’s ability to band together and get the next goals accomplished.”