MF Council makes no decision on Escondidos annexation

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By Alex Randolph on April 1, 2014. 6 Comments

Marble Falls City Council awarded a bid for the installation of a Los Escondidos water line, but did not vote to begin the process of annexation for the community.
In a meeting Monday, council awarded the bid for the water line to M&C Construction Co. Inc at $604,025. The bid included the construction of 5,800 linear feet of eight-inch PVC water pipes, valves, fire hydrants and service lines under the existing road as well as repairs to the road once the installation was complete.
The decision can’t have come too soon for Los Escondidos residents, who have been under a boil water notice since August.

6 Responses to MF Council makes no decision on Escondidos annexation

  1. Steve   April 2, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Oh so they are going to use TAX payer money to give these folks a service they already have and put in NEW fire hydrants and Repave their streets for good measure. YET they do not pay city taxes. WHY? Oh thats right. They dont live in the city limits. I really have to wonder if big wigs or rich fat cats live there that are calling the shots. Under a Boil water notice. Boo Hoo at least they had water in their fancy subdivision.

    Reply
  2. Lindsay   April 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Steve – the City of Marble Falls is obligated to fix the Los Escondidos water system because it owns the water line and it is under an enforcement order from TCEQ to fix the line. The City has no choice in the matter but to replace the system.

    Here’s some background information:
    The Los Escondidos water line runs above ground in many places, which does not meet regulations, and it is so rusted that the chlorine evaporates before it reaches the end of the line. TCEQ tested this line and found it to be in violation of standards and in need of replacement.

    There are currently no fire hydrants in Los Escondidos because the 1/2″ water line could not handle that type of water pressure. (The current City standard water pipe is 8″.) If the City replaces the line, they have to do it to current standards, which includes 8″ pipe and fire hydrants.

    In some places the road is only 10 ft. wide and is limited from widening because it actually runs through the properties of the homeowners. (The owners gave the County easements to create the road back when the neighborhood was established in the 50s.) The City can only trench in the designated road which will tear it up so badly, the only way to repair it will be to do an overlay.

    The City knowingly acquired/took ownership of the failing and sub-standard Los Escondidos water line from LCRA several years ago when LCRA decided to sell off its water systems. In exchange, LCRA gave the City land for a water intake and future water plant. The City thought this would be a good long-term growth decision. It seems that either officials did not consider the short-term consequences, or they decided that they were worth it in the long run.

    To conclude, the residents of Los Escondidos, like everyone else, City or County, are entitled to drinkable water. Currently, the Los Escondidos residents pay their water bills to City of Marble Falls for undrinkable water. How fair is that?

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  3. Steve   April 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Lindsay. I am well aware of the things you pointed out but lets put this in perspective or compare apples to oranges with other annexations the city has done.

    In 2008 the city annexed the Lake Marble Falls subdivision south of La Ventanna and only annexed that area so the Proposed Flatrock development and the hospital could be annexed and connect to the city. During the process of annexation they were fully aware of what the annexation might encounter and their legal obligations for water/sewer services that the law mandates to be run in a specified amount of time.That time has run out. So here is an area that Does not have water lines nor Fire Hydrants.Yet they pay city taxes and have been paying these taxes but get nothing of Value in return.And the city cannot give a definitive answer to when or if it will happen.

    Los escondidos will now get 12 fire hydrants. The water line that runs down the highway to the new water tower only has 2 and one of those two still is covered in black plastic since it was put in… What area will get the better Fire protection? yep Los Escondidos.

    As far as the easements that apparently the county owns. If the city annexes that area the county would turn them over to the city more then likely. And If they had to be widened the city would have to purchase the extra widths in order to get the required ROW footage. The LMF subdivision roads were owned by the property owners not the county or city and only to this day have a few owners given up their portions of the ROW. Will the city pay for the extra land they would need for Los Escondidos ROW or The ROW they need for the LMF? The big difference here is that in Los Escondidos the city would at least have a starting point if annexed.(assuming the county turned over the roads)

    As far as drinkable water. Seems really odd to me that if the water was so bad and has been bad that it would have been replaced long ago by LCRA. Have the residents their USED that water all this time? Why was their no pressure on LCRA all those years to fix the problem? Sounds like LCRA knowingly dumped a failing system on to the next suckers. Also why don,t the residents filter all the water that comes into their homes if its so bad?

    Now tell me. HOW is it fair?

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  4. Lindsay   April 7, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I am also aware of the recent annexations by the City and the promises that have not been fulfilled. It is not fair to those residents who find themselves in that situation.

    Los Escondidos residents are largely opposed to annexation of their neighborhood because of this history and the things you’ve pointed out. The City has expressed that this neighborhood, if annexed, would get no additional services like sewer, drainage, or a widened road. (In reality, if even the County turned the road over to the City and residents gave easements, the road could not be widened due to proximity of homes along the street and topography. Another hiccup in widening the road is the relocation of all the PEC electrical poles. This means more money.) Los Escondidos residents will get a new water line, which they’re already entitled to, and fire hydrants. This hardly justifies the 25% tax increase they will incur if annexed. These residents will likely find themselves in the same situation as the other neighborhoods you describe.

    Los Escondidos has more density/structures than those areas you’ve described, so I would guess that is why there are more fire hydrants in the plan.

    The areas you mention that have been annexed and have not received the promised services in the time frame specified in the services plan do have recourse. They can go through the legal process to become “deannexed.” They can recoup the taxes paid for services not received.

    The Los Escondidos water line is really a separate issue from annexation since the City already owns the line. Legally, the City is obligated to fix the lines regardless of annexation. I understand why Marble Falls citizens would have a tough time with the expenditure of their tax dollars on an area outside the city. The City put itself in this situation when it acquired the water system from LCRA, not the residents of Los Escondidos.

    The water in Los Escondidos has been bad for years. Residents have been complaining about it for years. TCEQ has tested the lines in the past and ordered repairs while under LCRA’s ownership. LCRA did the minimum required to fix the lines. The problem now is that the lines are so old and have deteriorated so badly, repair is no longer an option. The only solution is to replace. I would agree that LCRA knowingly dumped a failing system on Marble Falls.

    Many residents do filter the their water. However, not everyone has a system that will remove the rust that stains clothing and ruins plumbing fixtures. Yes, they could pay extra to retrofit and get a new filtration system, but again, they shouldn’t have to do that. Also the water pressure is extremely variable. Residents go from having no pressure at all to so much that water heaters have blown out and had to be replaced.

    The examples you provided and the situation in Los Escondidos are all unfortunate and not fair for every party involved.

    Reply
  5. Steve   April 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    The problem with going through DeAnnexation is cost.What little would be returned can easily be eaten up paying for a Lawyer even though that looks like the only option left.

    I would lay money on it that once Los Escondidos gets the New water line put in place that either the area will be annexed or the water rates will tripple just so the city can recoup the tax payers money and they will use the same excuse for annexing that they did for the land along the Highway.They will claim they already have water in the area.

    Reply
  6. Karyn   July 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Been a resident of Los Escondido for 15 yrs, Water was first provided by South Road water company , then pushed on to LCRA , now , City Of Marble Falls , No one asked us residents if we wanted LCRA to take over , No one asked residents if we wanted the City to take over , We once received frequent water sample results , indicating our water was fine , Since City took over we now are dealing with contaminated water, not just drinking it a hazard , but showering in it , yes wear & tear on pipes , water heaters act, a definite heath & property hazard , When Marble Falls took over providing water to this subdivision , it took over the responsibility of providing safe drinking water , Sorry if they have changed their minds , done deal, They are replacing lines on Los Escondido , only, They are hanging the rest of the residents out to dry , on Calle Uno , & Calle Dos , We are not getting new lines , roads , fire hydrants, etc, unless we agree to pay a monthly fee to cover the cost, or the threat of being annexed , We didn’t ask for this , or how is this legal & fair, We pay the same for contaminated water , as the other residents of Marble Falls who are provided safe water , How can they separate out the residents on Los Escondido , by replacing lines , fixing the road & not provide it for all of the residents, Why should we bear the brunt on Calle Uno & Calle Dos, the city is routing all traffic on to these roads , while construction is being done on Los Escondido , tearing up roads worse than they were, Many more solid points to make on this very unfair & I believe an illegal issue , I would rather hire an Attorney & force the City into living up to their obligation than let them get away with trying to ramrod the unsuspecting victims on Calle Uno & Calle Dos with threats , We all pay City utilities , but also singled out with trash pick up, Half this subdivision , pays $60.00 every 3 months thru the city water bill , the rest on city water bill, pay $150.00 every 3 months to directly to Allied waste , City says outside city limits , Seems they pick & choose who they choose to provide service for , or not , My opinion is dig in heals keep our county subdivision & force the City to do as they are responsible for , without treats of annexation ,or $75,00 a month fee to pay for what they agreed to do when taking us from LCRA !!!!!!!!

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