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Old 02-27-2011, 09:24 PM   #1
Frank_Reilly
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Location: Granite Shoals, Texas
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State of the City 2011

The Bluebonnets are beginning to sprout with the warm weather in the Highland Lakes. Year after year, their beauty graces our landscape, adding color to our already stunning vistas. With the new year, I wanted to give you a State of the City update.

After over five years of professional city management, and a clear vision from its city council, the City of Granite Shoals is perfectly poised for excellence. Some have said the city is a diamond in the rough, pointing to its ideal location on Lake LBJ, and located in central Texas, less than an hour’s drive from the booming state capital.

Immediately after the 2005 election, with the charter in hand and an almost 3 to 1 mandate for positive change, the city council got to work. They removed the shackles of old battles and the vestiges of its sometimes colorful past. As a result, the city council and city management no longer have to struggle with the nagging Sherwood Shores Trust issues and the seemingly never ending legal tugs-of-war with the island residents. The city has developed workable solutions to other long-time issues such as encroachments upon city park property, and providing a remedy for lakefront owners who desire to sell their property but cannot do so because a title company or lender insists that they obtain clear title to narrow fill areas. We implemented new accounting procedures and programs and brought in a new auditor, and made a number of changes at city hall to better serve the public.

With the exception of some issues that are indicative of growing pains of a dynamic community, our city council meetings are now relatively boring, as the old clashes between the mayor and city council regarding city management and vision evaporated with the passage of the home rule charter. Now, the council hires a city manager, who implements the council’s vision and policy, rather than having a mayor who sometimes had different visions or policy choices than the council. Just over five years ago that the city often measured a mayor’s term in months, rather than years.

At the same time the city council was working through and resolving the issues that had been districting over the years, the council also went about methodically preparing the city for its bright future. A new comprehensive plan is in place, a new subdivision ordinance has been enacted, an impact fee ordinance that will require developers to pay their own way is in the works, a new town center and recreational complex is taking shape next to the new city hall, and a new drinking water treatment plant has been completed that can serve the city for generations.

These actions were just a start. The key component of the city’s potential for success is for the city to build the sewer system that it should have built 40 years ago when the federal government would have subsidized it. I can only imagine how different this community would be today had our leaders then had the vision and strength of today’s city council. Today, the city, starting with a grant funded study, and culminating with a phased-in plan to serve the entirety of the existing city population of Granite Shoals, has received a commitment for low-interest subsidized financing from the state’s Clean Water Fund that is 1.5 percent below market for the city’s first phase. Voters in Granite Shoals will determine on May 14 whether to authorize the city council to incur the debt and begin the design, permitting, and construction of the first phase that will serve RM 1431 for commercial development and the first 500 housing connections.

The city’s future is now in the hands of the same voters who, five and a half years ago, passed the home rule charter by a 3 to 1 margin. Those voters expressed a desire for a new era in Granite Shoals in which petty political battles would give way to a professionally managed city government that would begin to address the city’s many troublesome issues. I have full confidence that these voters, now with proof positive that their vote in 2005 has generated all they hoped it would, will take the next step that will ensure Granite Shoals’ future as a viable, attractive, sustainable, and very livable city.

Passage of the bonds will pave the way toward true, positive economic growth that will sustain the city, create jobs, and allow Granite Shoals to continue its progress in upgrading its streets and other infrastructure. The new economic development will provide the city with a more diversified property tax base – relieving the waterfront owners from carrying the lion’s share of property tax revenues as the city builds out its interior residential lots, and commercial property begins to develop along 1431. The sewer system will be the engine that drives the new development, and it will not only spread out property taxes amongst more and new property owners, it will allow the city to generate a sales tax base, and hotel-motel taxes.

The vision does not call for large box retailers or industrial development, but instead commercial ventures that will serve a growing Granite Shoals population that can buy its necessary items closer to home, receive their health care services without driving to another community, and provide service, food and lodging establishments for the influx of tourist dollars that the Andy Roddick International Tennis Center and our parks complex will bring to the city. Rather than rely on an industrial or manufacturing economy, this city can build on its base as a tourist destination, and an incredible community to call home.

Now that I have set the scene for the future, here is the state of the city. Even factoring the legal settlement to the island residents, the city now maintains a minimum three month operational reserve fund, which is something it has not always done in the past. We have a new city manager with the knowledge, experience, skills and wisdom to keep the city operating smoothly, efficiently, and progressively. The city has the second largest tax base and the third largest population in Burnet County.

The city has an incredible opportunity with the Andy Roddick Foundation International Tennis Center to bring in millions of outside dollars. The center, along with the proposed walking, hiking and biking trails that Granite Shoals native and Olympic running star Leo Manzano is designing and to which he is lending his name, and the other proposed recreational projects will also offer residents of all ages a great place to relax and have fun. The state of the city is sound, its current foundation is solid, and its future is very bright. If our voters have the same wisdom in May as they had in 2005, there will be no stopping Granite Shoals from becoming the most desirable city in which to live in Central Texas.

It is a pleasure to serve as your mayor, and as always, I welcome your input, comments and concerns. Feel free to email me at mayor@graniteshoals.org, and if you'd like to get on my newsletter distribution list, just let me know.

Frank Reilly
Mayor of Granite Shoals
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:35 PM   #2
tonigking
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Join Date: Sep 2009
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You are down right poetic Mayor !

Aside, I want to Thank You for taking the time from your busy schedule to keep us informed with your very comprehensive News Letter and State of the City. It is so helpful to know what is going on, directly from the horse's mouth so to speak.

I, along with many others , am aware of your dedication to the welfare of your personal home town and your relentless desire to improve our image and more importantly our quality of life.

You and the Council , under your leadership, have done and I believe will continue to do an outstanding job.

It's no secret I don't always agree with, but I do respect, most of the decisions made on behalf of the citizens of Granite Shoals and believe strongly that we are headed in the right direction.

PS: You and I and a few others know what the rockon icon really means !

Have a Great Day!
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:58 AM   #3
SunnysideUP
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What is the Current Status of the sewer system infrastructure?

I wanted to know what came of the voting for a sewage treatment infrastructure.
Can someone post the current status of this proposal or direct me to where to read up on the current status? I am new to the area and wanted to understand what direction the town is going on this topic.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:23 PM   #4
Caretaker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnysideUP View Post
I wanted to know what came of the voting for a sewage treatment infrastructure.
Can someone post the current status of this proposal or direct me to where to read up on the current status? I am new to the area and wanted to understand what direction the town is going on this topic.
It was voted down during the last election. If you go through the forum pages and read under GS topics you will find some of the pros and cons that folks brought up.
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