With GBRA officials showing no signs of reversing course on their decision to drain the Guadalupe Valley lakes system, the water authority is facing push back in city halls, school board rooms and the courtroom.
A visiting judge is scheduled to convene in the first hearing regarding attorney Ricardo Cedillo’s petition filed last week to stop the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s plan to dewater the lakes at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the lawyer said. Cedillo filed the petition on behalf of 10 residents who live along Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid.
“We have been assigned to a visiting judge from Kerrville, the Honorable Steve Ables,” Cedillo said Monday.
He filed a petition on Thursday naming the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority as a defendant and requesting more than $1 million in relief, though the plaintiffs are not in it for the money, Cedillo said. They want to ensure that the lakes are not drained to prevent economic hardship to themselves and countless others they way will be affected if the lakes are drained.
“It affects the entire community and the way of life you guys have in the city of Seguin,” Cedillo said last week. “That’s why we want to stop the lakes from being drained.”
GBRA plans to open dam spill gates Monday at Lake Gonzales to begin draining that body of water. Then Meadow Lake will be dewatered, followed by Lake Placid and culminating near the end of September with the emptying of Lake McQueeney if no delays arise, GBRA General Manager/CEO Kevin Patteson has said.
The measure is necessary due to concerns that spill gates at the almost 90-year-old dams might fail and endanger residents and visitors around them, Patteson said. Those concerns heightened after a spill gate failure in 2016 on Lake Wood and one in May at Lake Dunlap, Patteson said.
Community members are voicing their concerns against the plan.
Also on Wednesday, the Seguin ISD board of trustees will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the board room, 1221 E. Kingsbury St.
The agenda lists only one item, a discussion and possible approval of a resolution urging GBRA to reconsider its decision to lower all the lakes at this time. The agenda item points out that nearly 2,000 waterfront properties in Guadalupe County with a taxable value of $694 million make up 18% of Seguin ISD’s tax base.
“If the values of these properties decrease in valuation, Seguin ISD is poised to realize a loss in tax value, causing negative budgetary implications,” an agenda exhibit reads.
Tuesday night, a special meeting of the Navarro ISD is scheduled to convene also to discuss and consider a resolution regarding the GBRA decision to drain Lake McQueeney. That meeting slated for 6:30 p.m. at Navarro Junior High School’s cafeteria at 6450 N. State Hwy 123 in Geronimo.
The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court is also set to discuss a resolution in opposition of GBRA’s decision during the regular meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday in the Guadalupe County Courthouse.
New Braunfels City Council members on Monday unanimously approved a resolution seeking immediate state funding for six area lakes owned and operated by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.
The city’s resolution seeks $30 million for the GBRA repairs and maintenance at lakes Dunlap, McQueeney, Placid, Meadow Lake, Gonzales and Wood. Mayor Barron Casteel said it serves as a precursor to formal city requests submitted to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and area state legislators.
Dozens of Lake Dunlap residents — whose lake was emptied by the a May 14 spill gate failure — voiced support for the resolution that will also be forwarded to U.S. House Reps. Chip Roy, Lloyd Doggett and Vicente Gonzales, who serve portions of Comal and Guadalupe counties.