GShoals educates roads scholars on bonds

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Residents of Granite Shoals concentrate on the details of road rennovation that will take place if voters reaffirm approval of $3 million in bonds. The meeting was held Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Granite Shoals fire station.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

In its final official task, the Granite Shoals Road Bond Education Committee convened a town hall meeting Saturday, Oct. 14, to answer community questions about the Nov. 7 bond re-affirmation election.

Voters will be asked if they continue to support the $3 million in road restoration bonds they approved last November and early voting on the issue will begin Monday, Oct. 23.

When the committee was created, its dissolution was specified for the closing of its second town hall meeting. Information amassed by the committee was presented in detail and it is posted in its entirety on the city website, www.graniteshoals.org, in the “Help Center” under the heading “All About the Town Hall Meetings.”

“If I lived out here permanently, I would be voting for this,” said Tom Griebel, one of the non-resident property owners at the meeting.

He was pleased to learn the city has been able to achieve an A bond rating: “That will help with the interest you pay.” That savings aside, he urged the city to save more on interest by selling the bonds at a 10-year payout, rather than a 15-year term.

The annual impact of 10-year bonds on $100,000 property value would be $44.30, compared to $17.70 on 15-year bonds.

Term of the bonds is one decision not specified in the bond issue as it passed last year. But key elements cannot be changed if the sale is reaffirmed:

  • The $3 million can be spent only on the roads. By law, it cannot be reassigned to any other purpose.

  • It must be spent on all three north-south arteries: Valley View Lane, Prairie Creek Road and Phillips Ranch Road.

  • Approval has a shelf life. If not approved now, the bonds cannot be sold.

As noted by city councilwoman Shirley King, Valley View Lane and Prairie Creek Road were constructed originally and maintained as Burnet County Roads and even received improvement after the city was incorporated. For that reason, work to bring Phillips Ranch Road to an equal standard might take more of the budget, but legally all three roads must be improved with the funds.

Arturo Rubio questioned closely the selection of engineers for cost estimates, a process not requiring bids under state statute. Any contracts for engineering and construction on the work would require the bidding process, he learned.

Members of the education committee included Eric Tanner, chairman, Tena Collier, Bobbi Deberard, Cory Hanneman and Dennis Maier, a former mayor and Street and Water Advisory Group member (SWAG).

Sally Bryant had questions about the misunderstanding that the city was qualified for U.S. Agriculture grant money of more than $4 million. Included in the town hall information on the city website is a comparison of work proposed when the city anticipated the grant money and work now proposed under city money, alone.

The City of Granite Shoals has some 80 miles of streets, more than Marble Falls, according to City Manager Ken Nickel.

But for those in the audience, including Tom Utley, concerned about future maintenance, councilwoman Anita Hisey noted that, with the level of interest expressed by citizens for road condition, the council has added each year to the budget for maintenance. Approval by voters of the sales tax for road maintenance brought the new budget total from $100,000 to $200,000.

Greg Haley, now a private engineer who has consulted on some of the planning, served at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) when Ranch to Market Road 1431 was constructed. He said proper maintenance should allow the materials proposed for the project, superior to any used to date, to far outlast an estimated 10-15-year lifespan.

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