Lake economic study sought

March 2, 2013

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HIGH AND DRY: Lake Granbury, a recreational lake that has long been a tourist draw, is so low that local residents can’t use their boat docks. Four of the lake’s six public boat ramps are currently closed, according to the Brazos River Authority’s website. This scene is a canal in The Shores. Two docks for personal watercraft are on the side of the boat dock. Lake Granbury is 5 feet low.

 

Public meeting Wednesday

A public meeting is planned for Wednesday to discuss funding a study on how the low lake level is affecting the local economy.

The meeting, planned by the Lake Granbury Area Waterfront Owners Association and Friends (LGWOA), is expected to be attended by city, county, economic development and chamber officials, as well as members of homeowners association groups.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at American Town Hall, next to the library on North Travis Street. Anyone interested can attend.

Lake Granbury is down 5 feet.

LGWOA representatives said the economic impact study would be presented during a hearing before administrative judges that will be held in Austin sometime this summer. The hearing is about the Water Management Plan that the BRA submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). It is part of the process involved in the BRA seeking additional water rights.

LGWOA President Joe Williams and historian Judy McHugh said the ongoing water level problem is not just about lakefront property owners not being able to get their boats on the lake; it’s about a likely tax increase for every Hood County taxpayer if things don’t change.

Williams said that waterfront property values have seen a “steady decline over the last five years.”

“The values of the houses are going down, and they continue to go down,” he said.

The economic impact study is expected to cost about $70,000, Williams said. LGWOA members are hoping that various entities will pitch in on the cost.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Steve Berry said he intends to attend the meeting. He stated that he believes the LGWOA is being “pro-active” in wanting to do the economic impact study, but said that he wants to be informed about whatever company or individual is hired to do the study.

“I want to know who they are, where they come from and what our goal is,” he said.

Berry and other county officials have said that if valuations for lakefront properties continue to decline – resulting in a drop in tax revenues – taxes will likely have to be raised to make up for the loss. Another concern that has been expressed by local officials is the effect of low water levels on the tourism industry.

town hall meeting planned

A “Save the Lake” Town Hall meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Granbury Resort Conference Center on East Pearl Street. The purpose of that meeting, Williams and McHugh said, is to disseminate “educated information” to citizens. Granbury City Manager Wayne McKethan is slated to give a presentation.

fighting for rights

Two weeks ago, a contingent of city and county officials went to Austin to meet with TCEQ to discuss their concerns about Lake Granbury and the BRA.

They ask that concerned citizens write to TCEQ, asking for “party status” so that they can be heard at the as-yet-unscheduled hearing. The address to send the party status request is: Office of Chief Clerk, MC 105, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX. 78711-3087.

According to information on the BRA’s website, almost all of the Brazos River basin continues to be “in some stage of drought” and “it may get worse before it gets better.”

But some in Hood County – like McHugh – say the drought isn’t the biggest reason for the decline of Lake Granbury.

“This isn’t about the drought,” she said. “This is about the management.”

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 258

 

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