Mayor's Update #18: A Busy Fall
By Mayor Bruce Peele
As I stressed during my campaign for mayor last year, I firmly believe that an informed and engaged electorate is the key to good government and progress. It would be great if all our citizens could come to our City Council meetings in the Byars Building at 6 pm the second Tuesday of every month to see their government in action but that’s just not going to happen. I get that. That is why I have written 18 Mayor’s Updates so far, speaking directly to the citizens of Blanco about issues facing the City. I am very grateful for the cooperation and support of the Blanco County News for publishing these Updates to get the word to you, the people of Blanco. I’d also like to thank Charles Willgren for putting these Updates on the City’s website. I welcome your comments on what the City is doing and value your suggestions for improvement.
Here’s a little of what is going on now:
We have FEMA money to drain the water behind the City’s three dams on the Blanco River and remove accumulated flood debris that has diminished our storage capacity and knocked out our water intake pipe. Our City Utility Department, headed by Ronnie Rodriguez, did a good temporary work around for the pipe but they were frustrated in that they couldn’t remove the stuck drainage gate at the base of the water plant dam to release the water. Last week, however, they finally dislodged it and the water is draining. We hope to get to the debris removal in the next few weeks and get on with the job.
The drug dog for the Police Department has arrived and is now in training, along with the officer who will be its handler. Chief Ritchey is excited to have this additional capability and intends to put this Dog Team to good use in combating the very real drug problem we have in Blanco.
The City Budget has been approved by the City Council and can be read by anyone interested. It is on the City’s website, www.cityofblanco.com. By the way, you can now pay your City utility bills on-line if you wish using the website.
We are in the process of establishing a Youth Advisory Council but we need adult advisors. Please let City Hall know if you think you are interested in assisting the City in this capacity.
We are in the initial stages of updating the Comprehensive Master Plan, the guiding document for Blanco’s future. Martha Herden has agreed to head the effort.
The initial event in the City-sponsored Arts-in-the-Park fall series will kick off at 2 pm on Sunday, November 6th in Bindseil Park. The series is free to the public. The first event will feature Paul Glasse and his Lone Star Swing Band.
We have hired Joe Smith as our new Code Officer and part-time Administrative Assistant at the Police Department. Joe is getting a handle on the job and is already actively engaged in helping the City clean up things like trashy yards, dead vehicles, dilapidated buildings, offensive outdoor lighting, illegal signage, and other such things that impact our quality of life in Blanco.
Our Planning and Zoning Commission continues to work on the proposed McCormick Ranch development on Trainer Street. Citizen input on this issue has been invaluable.
The City continues to work with TxDOT on the right-of-way issue that has long stymied completion of the Streetscape Project on 4th Street at the Square.
Planning for construction and financing of our new wastewater plant and new water plant on the river are on-going. Needless to say, these are major undertakings.
The City lawsuit against Stallion Estates over the promised transmission line, elevated water tank and other issues for Cielo Springs is progressing. The City agreed to suspend mandatory annexation before the City would provide a water taps in Cielo Springs. That turned out to be a good thing as it forced us to think hard about annexation. We have decided that annexing Cielo Springs may be a net liability for the City as the ad valorem taxes that would be raised would not be enough to maintain the street and water lines in the development over the long run. The City will continue to study the issue.
Blanco will continue to supply water to Cielo Springs but will no longer maintain the water delivery infrastructure there as the City owns neither the infrastructure nor the easements. We will continue to ensure the water meets TCEQ standards.
It’s going to be a busy Fall in Blanco.