A local school district has joined the effort officially asking the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority to reconsider its plan to empty the Guadalupe Valley lakes.
The Navarro Independent School District board of trustees took the action at a special meeting Tuesday where they discussed a resolution urging the authority to avoid draining the local lakes without a long-term plan.
“Here we are trying to upkeep everything that we have and yet the GBRA just kind of runs along and we’re going to pay the price,” trustee Greg Gilcrease said. “In the end, we’ll have to pay for the ineptitude they’ve had. For them to just wait until the draining happens, and say ‘we’ll figure it out,’ is not a really good way to run an organization. If we tried to run a school district like that we’d be out of business pretty quickly.”
The focus of the brief discussion centered on the economic impact the draining could have on the district. Hundreds of waterfront parcels lie within the NISD district equating to $91 million in taxable value — or about 10% of the total.
“No matter what, we’re going to lose property
value, which is going to affect our budget immensely,” Gilcrease said. “You would think there would be some kind of communication from the GBRA saying, ‘here’s what we’re going to do, here’s what we’re going to anticipate.’ There’s potential for a number of protests. It’s absolutely mind-boggling how many are affected by just that one event.”
The district says that any decrease in property value as a result of GBRA’s plan could impact the tax rate used to pay debt.
“On the maintenance and operations side we will get some balance funding from the state, at least as time goes by,” NISD Superintendent Dee Carter said. “However, we will never get any help from the state on the interest and sinking side as we try to pay our existing debt and for building in the future. That will hurt not only the people who are waterfront or nearby, but affect every property owner in the school district because everyone would have a higher bill.”
Trustee Hank Dietert asked whether the district should or can join in one of the lawsuits that have been filed against GBRA already.
“That has not been requested of us,” Carter said. “But I can put that on the agenda for next Monday’s discussion and I can ask the attorney from the Friends of Lake McQueeney.”
The measure passed unanimously.
Dietert says that one course of action would be to simply leave the dams alone and keep residents at a safe distance if a long-term solution can’t be found.