News

Fri
18
Aug

Marble Falls Council puts forward $32 million budget, lower tax rate, fee breaks for most

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Public hearings Tuesday, Aug. 15, unveiled a final proposed budget based on a tax rate slightly lower than the effective rate and including proposed utility fee increases lower than anticipated for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 in the City of Marble Falls.

Finance Director Margie Cardenas presented a budget for programs and services of $32 million with general fund expenditures of $10.404 million.

According to the council decision Aug. 1, Cardenas and her staff based the budget on an ad valorem tax rate of .6340, or 63.4 cents per $100,000, lower than the current rate of .6483. Nonetheless, the rate will apply to a certified tax valuation that has risen about eight percent to $726 million for an increase.

Wed
16
Aug

Llano County cancels burn ban

The Llano County Commissioners Court rescinded a county-wide burn ban Monday, Aug. 14, just two weeks after imposing it.

When Llano got more than seven inches of rain Aug. 6-7, County Judge Mary Cunningham said she began receiving calls asking if the ban would be lifted.

Commissioners agreed, but will likely take a look at the ban again Monday, Aug. 21, at the special hearing on the proposed county budget. That meeting is set at 9 a.m. at the Llano County Law Enforcement Center, 2001 Texas 16 North in Llano. An agreement to review the ban was a compromise with Precinct3 Commissioner Mike Sandoval, who had suggested a one-week interruption of the ban only.

Wed
16
Aug

MFISD gets an 'A' from TEA

By Richard Zowie

The Highlander

The Texas Education Agency released its preliminary 2016-2017 financial accountability ratings, and Marble Falls Independent School District scored an A.

Created in 2001, the school Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) encourages public schools to improve how they manage their finances to allow for the best allocation for direct instructional purposes.

MFISD was among the 853 state-wide public school districts that received a superior rating.

One hundred and twenty-one schools received a B “above standard achievement,” while 43 received a C and “met standard.”

Five schools received F grades for “substandard achievement.”

“We also received clean audits form our external auditor as well,” said Dr. Chris Allen, MFISD superintendent.

In the 2017-2018 budget, the district adopted a balanced budget with no projected surplus.

Wed
16
Aug

Granite Shoals continues budget work as Know Your Neighbor kicks off block parties

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Members of the Granite Shoals City Council left one of their meetings Thursday, Aug. 10, to attend the very first Know Your Neighbor block party.

Know Your Neighbor is a program being conducted by the Granite Shoals Faith Alliance, with the support of Chick-fil-A and Lowe's. The small gatherings, with lots of fun for the kids, are designed to create cohesion in the city's neighborhoods.

With just one neighborhood involved each time, children have the bouncy castle all to themselves, and adults have time to keep an eye on them, while enjoying hot sandwiches, courtesy of Chick-fil-A.

As promised, a picnic table, painted bright turquoise appeared, compliments of Lowe's. One will stay as a neighborhood gathering place after each party as part of the national front yard revival campaign, The Turquoise Table.

Tue
15
Aug

LakeFest a roaring success

Frank Shubert/The Highlander

Drag boats fairly leap from the water and down the quarter liquid race track of Lake Marble Falls during LakeFest. Check the winners in this story and see photos and videos of the event on the The-Highlander Facebook page. Like us and keep up with all the news.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The 26th annual LakeFest was a success on all fronts.

The roar of engines that echoes from Lake Marble Falls up and down the Highland Lakes on the second weekend of August each year has become familiar, but the attraction seems to grow.

“We saw more of everything,” said Patti Zinsmeyer, executive director of the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce, host of the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Races on Lake Marble Falls, Aug. 11-13.

“We saw more entries—112 this year. “We saw far more people. The Spectator crowds were bigger each day compared to past years. Lakeside Park was packed.

“We estimate, over the three days, there were more than 25,000 spectators. That is not counting all the families and crew members for the racers or people who watch from the bridge or homes or places like Riverview RV park on the south side of the lake.”

Fri
11
Aug

Granite Shoals Council fighting financial fire

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Caught doing something good: Granite Shoals City Council Member Anita Hisey, right, was spotted picking up litter on Phillips Ranch Road recently by former Mayor Dennis Maier, left. Calling himself a "self-appointed committee of one," surprised her at the Tuesday night, Aug. 8, council meeting with an impromptu "Trash Picker-Upper" award, a long-handled grabber to help with any future impulse to clean up what "inconsiderate litterers" leave behind.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The Granite Shoals City Council has faced a challenging year of unknowns surrounding costs of road repair, but another issue fanning the flames of financial woes has been rising fire department costs.

At their meeting Tuesday, Aug. 8, it was clear council members and staff consider a new stream of financial support from surrounding communities the only remedy.

Granite Shoals Fire Rescue provides fire protection for the adjacent City of Highland Haven and the large, outlying rural communities of Burnet County Emergency Service District #3 (ESD3), each looking at the end of a contract for services that ends Sept. 30.

“My view is, they need to pay their fair share,” said City Manager Ken Nickel, looking specifically at ESD3. “They collect 7.5 cents per $100,000 valuation from their property owners. They have a fund balance of $400,000.

Thu
10
Aug

Llano County residents upset by jail study, possible 'depopulation'

This story appeared in the Tuesday, Aug. 6, edition of The Highlander. It prompted a letter to the editor on Thursday, Aug. 10, also found here on HighlanderNews.com and to be included in the Friday, Aug. 11, print edition of The Highlander.

By Phil Reynolds

The Highlander

Llano County commissioners got an earful Monday from county residents who want to keep the county jail open.

Commissioners held a budget workshop but part of that involved a study by Precinct One Commissioner Peter Jones on the feasibility of turning Llano County Jail prisoners over to Burnet County under a contract yet to be written.

Jones emphasized that he hasn’t finished the study. But he said preliminary numbers indicate that the county could save some $170,000 a year by sending inmates to the reginal jail in Burnet.

Llano County now sends about 21 percent of its prisoners to Burnet, but Jones conceded that that’s partly because of a need to separate male and female inmates. The Burnet jail, originally a privately-owned facility, has 587 inmate beds, of which 470 are now in use. Jones said it costs Llano County $15-$20 per day per inmate to send prisoners to Burnet.

Wed
09
Aug

Texas Sales Tax Holiday is Aug. 11-13

Burnet County shoppers can save money on a number of items, including school supplies and school clothes priced below $100, during the annual sales tax holiday, scheduled for this Friday through Saturday, Aug. 11-13, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said.

State law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced below $100 from sales tax, which will save shoppers around eight to 8.25 percent ($8 ro $8.25) for every $100 they spend during the weekend.

Tue
08
Aug

PEC officers remain the same

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative board of directors voted at its July 17 meeting to keep its current board leadership.

District 2 Director Emily Pataki of Williamson County will continue to serve as board president, with District 6 Director Paul Graff of Comal County serving as vice president and District 7 Director Amy Lea SJ Akers of Hays County serving as secretary-treasurer.

Other directors include District 1 Director Cristi Clement of Burnet County, District 3 Director Randy Klaus of Travis County, District 4 Director Jim Powers of Hays County and District 5 Director James Oakley of Burnet County.

The PEC board elects its board officers each year after the cooperative's annual meeting.

For more information about PEC board members, see pec.coop/bios.

Tue
08
Aug

CWS in 30th year presents Holloway Citizen Award

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

In a fitting 30th Anniversary benchmark, the City of Cottonwood Shores Citizen of the Year Award is presented by Mayor Donald Orr, left, to Rex Holloway at a city council meeting Thursday, Aug. 3. The seal of the city behind them proclaims Aug. 8, 1987 as the date of incorporation.

Council proposes tax rate, discusses deer ordinance

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Rex Holloway can now say he received the Cottonwood Shores Citizen of the Year Award on the city's 30th Anniversary.

Cottonwood Shores incorporated Aug. 8, 1987, but only in the last three years has it begun honoring the volunteers who have done much of the work to keep improving the city.

In Holloway's case, that includes serves on the city's Board of Adjustment and as vice chairman of the Parks Committee.

“He has worked tirelessly for new playground equipment, and the addition of the splash pad and Memorial Day's grand opening with hotdogs and tee shirts for the kids,” said City Administrator Sheila Moore. “He also attends most city council meetings.”

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