A line of communication was open between the county and the lake associations as to the future of area lakes, and the plans of how to get there.
Hoping to get a better understanding of what the lake preservation associations hope to accomplish and what they hope to get from the county, Guadalupe County Commissioners Court invited representatives together Tuesday for a workshop meeting.
People living along Lake Dunlap, Lake McQueeney, Meadow Lake and Lake Placid attended the meeting and some talked about their plans. Previously he felt the lake associations had different agendas and different ideas of what the county’s involvement should be in regards to determining ways and finances to save the endangered Guadalupe Valley Lakes, Judge Kyle Kutscher said.
Gathering folks to discuss it all only seemed right.
“We wanted to manage the expectations of how the county should be involved,” he said.
For their part, members of the Preserve Lake Dunlap Association have come to terms on a non-binding agreement that with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority. The deal would see the GBRA, among other things, sharing gross receipts from the sale of electric power at its Dunlap Dam with the association to help fund replacement of the aging dam.
Both sides are working to complete the pact, which would also see the PLDA create a water control and improvement district to levy taxes and raise money for the project.
Associations for Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid also are looking at requesting WCIDs, possibly as soon as next week, said Steve Robinson, a partner at Allen Boone Humphries and Robinson, who represents the Friends of Lake McQueeney and Citizens United for Lake Placid associations.
Placid and McQueeney property owners are interested in establishing WCIDs, one for each lake. Property owners with lake access are expected to be included in the districts.
He expects to file a petition with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for McQueeney within about 10 days, Robinson said. He expects to file one shortly after that for Placid, he said.
They’re doing it for local control, to be able to elect people with similar vested interests, and ensure the districts are highly regulated, Robinson said.
“We believe we have strong citizen support to fix the problem,” he said. “In the end, that is what this is about.”
People who live along Meadow Lake are looking at some other options to fund repairs of the aging dam that forms that lake. Meadow Lake Nolte Dam Association board member Brent Hammond said their idea looks more like a public improvement district that would include people from all of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes in the county.
Guadalupe County government would be instrumental in establishing the PID, and GBRA would provided funding in a plan that would help Meadow Lake, said Jacy Robbins, a property owner in that area. GBRA could own the hydroelectric dams in the system, but the district would hire an outside firm to operate them, he said.
Repairs would come at a much lower cost than GBRA’s plan to replace all of the spill gates at the dams, Robbins said. He hopes others in the county will see the wisdom in the plan.
“Work with us to try to get done what we think is way quicker, way cheaper,” Robbins said.
The county, were it to enter any agreements or attempt to take on any debts related to the dams situation, likely would put the issue to a vote for all county registered voters, Kutscher said. But he gets the need to figure out a different way to make upgrades at the dam that creates Meadow Lake, where property assessments are not as high as the other lakes, the county judge said.
Tuesday’s workshop meeting served its purpose for him, Kutscher said.
“It was a good use of time, good communication,” he said. “It shed some light on the fact that everybody wants the same thing. The challenge is coming up with solutions with different geographic make ups and situations of the lakes.”
He foresees more workshop meetings allowing county residents to provide input and ideas.
FOLM and CULP are on the right paths for their lakes, said Lindsey Gillum, a resident along Lake McQueeney. But they will be able to assist Meadow Lake residents with their challenges once McQueeney’s WCID is in place and a funding mechanism for that lake is doing what it needs to do, she said.
“There’s still going to be fight left in us even if we’re successful with a WCID,” Gillum said. “We’re all here fighting for property values, for the community, for our lakes and our schools, looking for the same outcome.”
Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com .