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Old 03-19-2011, 03:00 PM   #1
Frank_Reilly
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Granite Shoals Sewer Election: Truth, Fiction and Defamation

On May 14, Granite Shoals voters go to the polls to elect city leaders and to vote on a proposition on whether to support the issuance of bonds to finance the first phase of the city's planned sewer system. On Tuesday, March 22, at 7:00 p.m., the city council will consider a resolution that outlines the city's planned phase in of a system that will ultimately serve the entire community.

The resolution's key points are that it outlines three phases of construction, dedicates all of the proposed sewer system's capacity to properties currently within the city limits (meaning that new developments will have to pay the city to build additional capacity, along with, of course, paying for their own sewer connections and collection lines (which will be owned by the city), and that existing residents within the city will not pay for connecting to the sewer system and the city will decommission their septic tanks at the city's expense, that the city will maintain (and replace when necessary) the grinder pumps at each house.

Opponents to the sewer system, knowing that they lose all arguments as to whether the city needs a sewer system, plan to focus on an issue that has no relevance to the construction of the sewer system (with one exception noted below). That red herring of an issue is the development agreement the city entered into last year with Barnett Ranches, LLC, which represents the owners of about 1,500 acres adjacent to the city. Cities routinely execute development agreements with adjacent landowners, and are in fact required by law to offer one to rural property owners prior to attempting to annex those properties.

This development agreement is in place already, and it will continue to exist regardless of whether the citizens vote for or against the sewer system. The opponents are kicking up dust, wrongly saying that the agreement is one-sided and that it only benefits the landowners, not our citizens.

The sewer system opponents reach this conclusion by misrepresenting or misunderstanding terms of the agreement, and if THEY are worried about benefits to those landowners, then those sewer system opponents need to ensure that they defeat the system in May, because if the sewer system is defeated, the 15 acres those landowners are giving the city for the sewer system go away, as do the 25 acres that they are temporarily giving for the initial disposal site.

In short, if the sewer system opponents are really worried about the city giving something to the landowners, then they need to get behind the sewer system, otherwise, those landowners get to keep the 40 acres they planned to donate to the city. And those developers get to build a sewer system. That's not in the city's best interest.

The sewer system opponents also are spreading mistruths that say that the landowners want to build low income housing on their 1,500 acres on 1431. There is no credible source for these statements. Further, anyone with any knowledge about real estate knows that low income housing is not the highest and best use of that land and that the use will not generate the returns that the development plan would generate. These same people have also said the I have a personal interest in the proposed development because I plan to earn legal fees on their transactions for the low income housing. There is not a shred of truth to that lie, and I am considering my own legal action in regard to those defamatory statements. As I said, the sewer system opponents know they can't win with the facts, so they've reverted to telling lies and generating fear. What's even worse is that some of these people are my neighbors, and I'd thought that even though we might disagree on the city's future, we could at least remain civil. Apparently I was mistaken.

I'm willing to discuss the real issues about the sewer system for those who care to participate in civil discussion about the facts.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:08 PM   #2
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On May 14, I'm willing to discuss the real issues about the sewer system for those who care to participate in civil discussion about the facts.
The instigator has made statements as to the stupidity of the local people. I wonder if the petition and the opposition to the sewer treatment plant is just an ego trip to see how many people will follow the bull.
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:03 AM   #3
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Mr. Mayor, I need bullets not legalese can you help me?
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:20 AM   #4
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Mr. Mayor, I need bullets not legalese can you help me?

Whatcha shooting at?
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:20 AM   #5
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The instigator has made statements as to the stupidity of the local people. I wonder if the petition and the opposition to the sewer treatment plant is just an ego trip to see how many people will follow the bull.
Mr B. I don't know how I missed your post before but you are so right.

I have personally heard, as have several others, our own "spookiedude" put down poor people, denigrate those who would provide decent low-income housing; wants no growth or development of any kind, especially as it might relate to kids activities, despises the idiots of GS so much he has his properties up for sale and believes he can buy positions on City Council by manipulating unfortunate, unknowing person(s) in order to get what he wants.

That ego trip added 2 million dollars, so far, to the price tag of a desperately needed WWplant, if in fact the money would still be available to us if it passes on May 14.

Please vote for Dennis Maier, Shirley King and Eric Tanner and the WWPlant !

Last edited by tonigking; 04-21-2011 at 09:51 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:27 PM   #6
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Caretaker, rest assured I have adequate bullets for shooting...

Like Bill O, I am a simple person, I like my information in short itemized phrases known as bullets.

I have been assured that my bullets are on the way from the printer, watch for it in your mailbox soon , nice and legal... with postage !
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:29 PM   #7
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Gosh, Frank you are correct about everything, but the city has no reason to annex rural ranch property and when and if the property is developed it no longer would fall under the consideration given to rural property owners. But I'm sorry you seem to be an expert on annexation (Beaver Island). I am just an old Realtor, but I could use some education as to what the highest and best use of land adjacent to a sewer treatment plant would be. The engineers at a city council meeting said we would probably save some money by putting the plant on our own property. I thought and I may be wrong, that the citizens of Granite Shoals were told that part of the reason for spending the $3,000,000 on our current city hall property was so that we could have a place for our sewer treatment plant.I would love to have city sewer in Granite Shoals, but there is a better way. PLEASE LISTEN.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:42 PM   #8
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Well, ICARE, I have zero apologies for the city's attempt to keep Beaver and Web Isles within the city limits. They drive our roads, benefit from our services, and rise and fall with Granite Shoals, but they don't want to pay city taxes. But that has nothing to do with the sewer question. The sewer plant, if the voters vote for it on May 14, will be located on a parcel of land not far from the airstrip, and if the airstrip is ever extended as the city's comprehensive plan suggests, that sewer plant will be located adjacent to the airstrip. Otherwise, the developers propose a golf course be adjacent to the plant, which is a very common land use for land adjacent to a sewer treatment plant. And yes, I've been very clear that part of the reason the city purchased the 131 acres was that it would give us a place for our sewer plant and irrigation system for discharges. After that purchase, the opportunity arose for the Barnett family to give the city 15 acres for the plant. That frees up 15 of the 131 acres for other uses for the city, which, is actually going to be used for additional irrigation acreage that will double as fields for recreational facilities for the city. So... the city has 15 acres less irrigation land to acquire elsewhere. And, I've been asking, and listening for "a better way" for the city to start its sewer system. All I've heard is negative spin about conjured up falsehoods of low income housing and payoffs. There simply is no truth to those allegations.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:55 AM   #9
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Oh Yeah, I must have missed that day in real estate 101. Golf courses and sewer treatment plants, great combo. Well you better tell Mark Mayfield when he stated at a City council meeting that he was ready to build low income housing as soon as we got sewer. Maybe we should ask Mr. Mayfield to come to another City council meeting and dispel this falsehood. Some of us might not have understood him correctly.
No one has asked for an apology in reference to Beaver Island. It was just poorly initiated and ill planned. The $3,000,000 dollar of the 131 acre property partially for use as a location for a sewer treatment plant (God knows we don't need that kind of a building for a City hall) and then just moving the plant to a location that would be more expensive to run the lines to the majority of residents just because we were given 15 acres (I'm not sure exactly which 15 acres, but a lot of that property is covered with 100's of old tires that make a wonderful mosquito breeding ground which poor humble me thinks is a health hazard to the citizens. Again, maybe I'm wrong, but maybe city council should take a look) is beyond me. I also wonder about the yes-no, yes-no, yes-no votes on the short term rental issue and the kicking the can down the road, so to speak. With these things in mind, I think it is time to change the leadership.
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:14 AM   #10
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From Highlander News: The project plan still proposes a $35 per month fee for service and waiver of resident hook up fees. At that service rate, taxpayers under the age of 65 could see a tax rate (now 44 cents per $100 valuation) slowly climb and peak at close to 65 cents per $100 in 2013 for the first phase of construction.

This is supposed to be worst case scenario...but WHAT constitutes worst case scenario? Could it happen? My home is in the last phase....will I pay higher taxes for years before I see any service? Do we really have enough people under 65 in GS to carry this kind of debt? I am not against the sewer system; it sounds like is a good idea...I am just wondering how my taxes will be affected.
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:17 PM   #11
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ICARE, there are a number of wastewater plants near golf courses. If you play golf, you might not even notice them because they're typically tucked away. Shoot, there's one next to the Tropical Hideaway. And is that "low income housing"?

I don't understand your fixation on so-called low income housing; we already have it in Granite Shoals. What Mr. Mayfield discussed was taking that existing stock and improving it into moderate income housing. Mr. Mayfield was not discussing the proposed new development. Instead he was talking about taking existing property within the city and building something nicer and to city code for moderate income families. It is not the "Section 8" housing or "projects" that many seem to suggest. Look at what the Texas Housing Foundation has built, and is building in Marble Falls. That is what he's suggesting in Granite Shoals, and it would be an improvement light years ahead of the existing "housing" that it would replace. If you'd rather Granite Shoals remain as-is, with that existing "housing" then you should continue to be against the sewer system. I'd rather see positive progress.

As to where the sewer plant should be located, the engineers were responding to a question they admittedly hadn't studied, and said the difference between locating on the 15 donated acres, or on the city's property was minimal, and I'm not even sure that they said it would cost more. Even if it did, would you rather the city just give the 40 acres (15 for the plant, and 25 temporary for irrigation to last until the city needs more in a decade or two) back to the landowners?? That 40 acres has a lot more value than any change in location of the sewer plant by the half mile or so that those properties are apart from each other.

If the voters agree that Granite Shoals should move forward with the sewer plant, you won't see a mosquito breeding ground. It will be professionally designed, built and maintained. And I, city management, and the engineers have looked at the proposed site, and it appears to be more than adequate. When the city gets funding from the bonds for the design phase, it will do a full assessment -- environmental and geologic -- to determine if the site is truly appropriate for the city, and if it isn't, the agreement with the landowners provides that they will give us another site to study.

And city leadership is changing -- I'm not running again for Mayor. I just want the city to continue the positive progress that you apparently don't like.

Jubilee, that's a good question that the paper didn't cover. The worst case scenario is if the city council fails to invest the construction proceeds and receives no interest on the money before it's spent (new federal requirements make the city take the entire bond money at one time, even though it will take the city four years to spend it), that the city fails to adopt an impact fee ordinance that applies to new housing and commercial development, and that the sewer plant has zero impact on broadening the city's tax base beyond what we have today. If the city council fails to do the first two items, I'll volunteer to lead a recall petition against them for their ignorance or their failure to discharge their duties. And if the sewer system doesn't allow Granite Shoals sales tax revenue to stay in Granite Shoals from new commercial activity, or if the sewer system doesn't generate some impact fees or new development, then Granite Shoals will be the first such community to stagnate in that way. Also, even in the worst case scenario, Granite Shoals property taxes will still be lower than they are in Marble Falls.

The city's financial analysis is based upon the tax base of property which does not have its taxes frozen, so there is an adequate tax base to support the system. And if the system is built, that tax base will broaden to include more businesses along 1431 and newly constructed homes, which should in fact lower the tax burden on the existing tax base. Further, the expectation is that with the broadening tax base, the last two phases might could be built without a tax increase. That's not a promise -- because no one has a crystal ball to look five years into the future -- but I do believe it is probable.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:57 PM   #12
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The Leaflet Being Passed Out by those Against the Sewer is False

Some folks are distributing a flyer to encourage people to vote against the sewer system. That flyer says that "All property owners must pay increased property taxes...". That's flatly untrue, as people 65 or older, or who qualify as being disabled under the law, will pay NO additional taxes on their homesteads. None.

Truth is, most of the sewer system will be paid for people who have second homes in Granite Shoals. Their taxes aren't capped, and aren't even subject to the 10 percent limitation on assessed value growth.

They state that the sewer project "appears to be designed more to serve development of vacant land outside of Granite Shoals". That's totally contrary to the city's plan as stated in Resolution 396-A, ] In the city's plan, 100 percent of the sewer system's capacity is set aside for existing residences and businesses in Granite Shoals, and if others desire to receive sewer service, they will pay for the extra capacity it will take to provide them with service.

Along the same lines, they state, as fact, that the city's tax rate WILL increase from .48 to .66. That's the number the city provided as the worst case scenario. In fact, the city's financial advisor expects that number to be half of that, but the city wanted to provide, in a transparent manner, what would happen if: (1) the city failed to invest the bond funds during the four years it will take to spend them (the state requires the city to borrow the entire amount first, even though the funds will be spent over 4 years, thus the bond funds are available to be, and should be, invested; (2) the city fails to adopt an impact fee ordinance to apply to new houses and new businesses, and new development; (3) the city's tax base does not broaden or grow any as a result of the sewer system (in other words, the worst case scenario holds that the sewer will not cause any new houses or any new businesses to be built in the city, and no new sales taxes will be generated).

They also suggest that another site, other than the one being given to the city, is a better site. That issue, along with their false statements about the city's development agreement with Barnett Ranches (which is not a secret and is on the city's website for you to read on your own at www.graniteshoals.org), are irrelevant to the sewer vote. The design -- which includes the actual location of the plant -- will be fully determined after environmental, geological and other studies determine where the plant will be. This election is whether we move forward to start the design and construction, not on the design. Those issues will be addressed by the city at a later date, and the public will have plenty of opportunity for input in the future. Voting against the sewer system on these issues will only continue to delay the start of this project, and it will get more expensive over time, and the city may lose control of when and where to build the plant altogether.

Finally, I note that the flyer is anonymous, so that those who prepared it don't have to answer publicly for the mistruths.

As I said in my earlier post, the opponents cannot win this debate on the true facts, so they are making up lies to scare people. Please don't fall for the lies.

Last edited by Frank_Reilly; 04-27-2011 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:56 PM   #13
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S
Truth is, most of the sewer system will be paid for people who have second homes in Granite Shoals. Their taxes aren't capped, and aren't even subject to the 10 percent limitation on assessed value growth.
Just playing devil's advocate- like I said, I think the idea sounds Ok...but, it doesn't seem right that the people taking on most of the tax burden can't even vote in GS (or can they?). I am wondering if these second homes are mostly waterfront homes...they already have high taxes compared to others in GS. Do you think we will see a lot of waterfront houses going on the market if our taxes go up higher than expected? If the market is flooded- the values could go down...and tax revenue would be reduced...but like you said we don't have a crystal ball. (Actually - there are already are a lot of waterfront homes on the market in GS). But then again - there is no downside for many GS residents. If I were 65+, I would be totally happy about the idea.

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Old 04-27-2011, 12:43 AM   #14
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Jubilee, unfortunately, state law doesn't allow a process for non-registered voters to vote in a city bond election.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:39 AM   #15
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Holy Cow ! Is there no end to the distortions, even downright lies , that some folks will go to to get themselves elected? At least they hung it on the door instead of illegally sticking it in our mailboxes.
Whatever happened to platforms, you know those things that candidates put forth explaining the great things they will do if elected. A platform usually contains honest qualifications and reasons they should get our votes. I haven't seen anything like that.
I am still curious about Ms. Metzger's Washington D.C. appointment. Maybe that accounts for why she is not even a property owner in Granite Shoals so has no real vested interest in our community.
It must be noted that she, like Mr. Harrison, must not think we are worth it to come and post on this forum. Too bad. It is a great opportunity missed.

My vote goes to the proven candidates who have demonstrated over and over that they really care.

Dennis Maier, Eric Tanner, Shirley King and Carl Brugger
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:46 AM   #16
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Holy Cow ! Is there no end to the distortions, even downright lies , that some folks will go to to get themselves elected? At least they hung it on the door instead of illegally sticking it in our mailboxes.
Whatever happened to platforms, you know those things that candidates put forth explaining the great things they will do if elected. A platform usually contains honest qualifications and reasons they should get our votes. I haven't seen anything like that.
I am still curious about Ms. Metzger's Washington D.C. appointment. Maybe that accounts for why she is not even a property owner in Granite Shoals so has no real vested interest in our community.
It must be noted that she, like Mr. Harrison, must not think we are worth it to come and post on this forum. Too bad. It is a great opportunity missed.

My vote goes to the proven candidates who have demonstrated over and over that they really care.

Dennis Maier, Eric Tanner, Shirley King and Carl Brugger
Is Ms Metzger from the Ranch Family on 1431?.Was this land brought into the city limits?
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:22 AM   #17
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As I understand it, if and when developers develop, they will pay for their own infrastructure (which means the infrastructure won't cost Granite Shoals taxpayers anything). Buyers there will pay an impact fee to the city to be connected (which I assume will be large---please let me know) and an out-of-city surcharge for water and sewer. (Formerly I built in such a development and my impact fee to the city was quite huge.) Homeowners in this new development will pay Municipal Utility District taxes to pay off the infrastructure debt. I see complaints that the city cannot annex them and they won't be paying city taxes. Where's the problem? They WILL be paying MUD taxes and surcharges which will probably be equivalent to city taxes. If the city annexes this property, the city must assume the MUD debt and then the people would pay city taxes and be relieved of the water and sewer surcharges. Then the city would retire the MUD debt with the taxes collected from those in the new development. What's the big deal about the city not annexing them? If I'm wrong, will someone please explain this to me. It appears those opposed to the sewer system believe residents in the new development should pay both MUD and city taxes and the city will be missing out in tax revenue from them.

Another point is that even if the Fox family begins to develop this property, it will take years and years and years. Another smokescreen. Also, with the cost of putting in roads and other infrastructure, lots there will be expensive. This might make Granite Shoals' lots and homes more attractive.

That's a very telling statement the real estate person/campaigner for city council made about the mayor living in his mother's home and getting the over 65 freeze---not competent enough to look this up or just wants to throw something out there in the hopes that someone will take it and run with it. Either way, that person has lost all credibility with that comment and doesn't deserve to be on city council.
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:51 AM   #18
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So the City will collect several million dollars in new taxes from the waterfront homeowners and many will be the last to be connected to the sewer service if at all. What was the logic for dividing the city this way? Yes my house is in Phase 3 but very close to the city water intake at the former park. I thought that LCRA was pushing for all waterfront homes to be on sewer first.

What was the logic in exuding the middle section waterfront homes?
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:24 PM   #19
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rbusfield, if you look at the plan, most of the homes being serviced are indeed waterfront, with the city catching some others along the way. The city's consultants prepared the plans, and responded to the city's request to try to reach a diverse cross-section of the community in each phase. Unfortunately, because this project is too large to fund in one bite, the city has to phase it in so that the growth in the tax base will help fund the next phases. To show that the city was serious about making this a city-wide plan, the untapped lines in phase 1 were added to reach into phase 2 and closer to phase 3. Although waterfront homes are in more environmentally sensitive areas, most of the homes in Granite Shoals are sufficiently close to the lake (and all are on top of a granite dome covered in a thin layer of porous granite gravel) so that each septic system removed is a positive step towards ensuring better water quality in the lake and in the groundwater.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:52 AM   #20
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Caretaker, I missed your earlier post. I don't believe that Ms. Metzger is related to the Mezger families that own Honeymoon Ranch and the Mezger Ranch across the highway. The ranching families do not have a "t" in the spelling of their name. And the city annexed the highway portions (500' from each right-of-way) of both ranches about 4 years ago. The city limits is now at about the location of the "Hay for Sale" sign on the Honeymoon Ranch. TxDOT says it will eventually move the city limits sign.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:43 AM   #21
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Proud Voters of Granite Shoals, early voting starts today.

We have the incredible opportunity to secure our future and ease out tax burdens.
We have the opportunity to participate in the positive growth of our community.
We have the opportunity to provide our children with constructive activities.
We have the opportunity to bring health care, library, retail and many other services.
We have the opportunity to bring decent low cost, not to be confused with low-income, housing to our area for young families just starting and seniors to down size to.

I could go on, but the list is as long as our imagination.

We must Vote YES on the bond proposition and we must vote for the tried and true folks who have worked so hard to provide us with this golden opportunity and who have a vested interest in Granite Shoals.

DENNIS MAIER FOR MAYOR, ERIC TANNER, SHIRLEY KING AND CARL BRUGGER
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:18 AM   #22
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What Toni said.

The current proposed plan for the sewer system, starting at 1431 and moving towards the lake, is the most economical way to get this job done. It will enable new businesses to establish themselves on 1431, generating tax funds for the city to continue the sewer construction. Please vote YES to the sewer bond proposal, and vote for Dennis Maier, Eric Tanner and Shirley King.
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Old 05-02-2011, 06:20 PM   #23
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The Granite Shoals Interfaith Council has set up a candidates and issues forum for Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 pm at Highland Lakes Elementary School. The council is a coalition of all of the ministers of the churches in Granite Shoals. I believe all candidates will be there, or will send a representative, and both sides of the sewer issue will also be presented. I'll be speaking on the pro side, and I believe that Don Gund will speak against the bond issue. I also think some questions from the public will be allowed.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:05 PM   #24
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I have concerns too about the sewer system proposal for Granite Shoals.

I do not live on waterfront property nor do I pay tax for an expensive property.
I am aware that those who do have shouldered the largest portion for tax's these many years.

My concern is that my modest home maintains its modest value.. Without the sewer system I have real concerns that home values will drop and GS will be left out of the
probable economic upswing.

My home is not in the first phase, as I read the development plan but I believe ANY new development will only increase the value of ALL GS propertys.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:44 PM   #25
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I hope all of Granite Shoals is as WISE as you.We do need to start sometime,I am on phase 3.I want the sewer because I thank it will make our city better overall.
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