Granite Shoals discusses entry level salary increase

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander
In a reception that preceeded the Tuesday, May 22, meeting of the Granite Shoals City Council, outgoing members of the council and the departing city attorney are honored. They are, from left, councilwoman Shirley King, city attorney Brad young and councilmen Mark Morren and Tom Dillard.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Granite Shoals City Council members stopped short Tuesday, May 22, of amending the budget to accommodate an increase in entry-level salaries that was approved to be advertised at the last council meeting.

A big road block to street maintenance has been the inability of the city of Granite Shoals to fill two open utility positions that offered an hourly wage from two to seven dollars per hour less than most other cities offer for such work.

The council asked for a presentation at their June 12 meeting of more specific figures on the difference each position would make in the current budget and seemed to grapple with the idea that existing salaries are customarily adjusted in line with new entry level wages.

That will have an impact on the new budget the council will have to prepare by September. Preparations for the Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Budget process was the topic of a brief workshop held at the meeting.

Interim city manager Marvin Townsend devoted most of the time in the workshop to potentials for annexation. Both he and departing City Attorney Brad Young affirmed that the window for annexation could be brief, depending on action by the next legislature. 

Hopefully, within the next three months you will have a new city manager, but all the work still has to be done and I want you to understand your resources,” said Townsend.

While most of the council members seemed open to considering potential annexations, city council member Todd Holland bridled at the mention.

Water and a police car are about all we have to offer,” he said. “Once we get a water rate study and see if we have the spine to see if we are able to keep our own water system in shape … until we have what it takes to manage our own house, I don't see bringing anyone else in. I see it as capturing.”

The council also took no action on the contract for fire service with Burnet County Emergency Service District 3. Council member Mark Morren, fire chief Austin Stanphill and Steve Tatom, who has represented ESD 3 in the negotiations, were all on hand.

Morren said that, in the light of Beaver Island and Web Isle annexation and the reduction that meant in ESD 3 tax revenue, a new five-year contract at $163,000 (rather than $197,000) had been negotiated. But Mayor Carl Brugger said that in fairness to the new members and to allow legal review he wanted to take approval off the table until the next meeting.

In a discussion of the city's lease agreement with the Roddick Youth Tennis Foundation, municipal judge Frank Reilly said he had not yet received a response to the city's request for an area within the proposed tennis center be used for restrooms for Quarry Park.

We have not asked them to relinquish the contract,” emphasized council member Anita Hisey. “We want bathrooms.”

In other business, city manager Peggy Smith continued reports on the state of the water system, bringing in examples of water pipe entwined with large tree roots that had been replaced recently and another example of water pipe from years gone by as a subdivision that is considered substandard today.

We just want you to know the kind of problems you are dealing with,” she said. She said also that as the current Community Development Block Grant project is coming to a close, a method of tying in new line by May 28 without interruption of service is being sought. 

Townsend addressed work to resolve the many code violations of overgrown brush and illegal dumping that have an impact on drainage along Elm Creek.

The highway department has had something to do with this,” he said. “When TxDOT made 1431 a paved road, it was raised above the street level. That contributes. We hope they will participate in the solution.

We have a drainage problem there, made much worse by a large amount of debris. It is not going away if we don't tackle it.”

Townsend said he had been encouraged to hear Burnet County included in districts eligible for flood mitigation, but “there has been a whole lot of talk and very little action from the state.”

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