Councilmember Barron's Updates on Water, Scenic City, and More
Tuesday was quite a day, right? As you know by know Canyon Lake Water Supply had a break in its line interrupting our water service. We had potable water on standby and ready in case our reserve tank ran out before the leak could be repaired and service returned. If anything, it should have reminded us all of just how precious our water is and how we should be working to conserve every drop every day. We are investigating longer term solutions like additional storage as future drought conditions may cause us to deal with shortages like this on a recurring basis. Thanks to everyone who responded so quickly to cut back use until our service was restored. We are staying on Stage 5 water restrictions until all tanks are refilled and we are comfortable that service will not again be interrupted.
Our budget meeting focused on the Enterprise Fund. If you remember from my email on city budgeting 101, our water and wastewater services are a separate budget from the general fund and is supposed to be self-sustaining like a business. Revenues come in from user rates and fees and these SHOULD cover ALL related expenses to providing those services. We realized that a number of expenses related to those services including engineering consulting costs and debt service has not been fully represented in the budget. Those adjustments will be made and we will revisit the final numbers at our next meeting. Mark your calendars now as the next budget meeting is at 3:00 on Tuesday, August 31. We will address the General Fund. This is other expenses not related to Water/wastewater (streets, parks, city hall, police, etc.).
The regular city council meeting got the ball moving on an ordinance regarding rainwater collection. We want to be sure that our citizens can utilize rainwater harvesting and be able to combine the system with our public water supply (PWS) if that they choose to make this an auxiliary system. In order to protect everyone by ensuring that there is no contamination of the main supply, we need to have standards in place for back flow prevention. We began discussions and will have final ordinance ready hopefully by the next council meeting.
Council approved dong an RFQ for an urban planner to create a 281 corridor overlay. This will complement the work that P&Z has done to update the zoning map. The goal is to help review our standards and ordinances specifically for development along the 281 corridor. Again, the goal is to ensure that Blanco stays looking and "feeling" like Blanco and not urban sprawl USA.
Happily, the Council also approved our moving forward in applying to become a Scenic City. This will also help us review ALL of our ordinances BUT we need HELP! Here is your chance. I have already heard from several folks willing to take the lead by category, but I need more. Take a look at the Scenic Texas website and note the difference categories. There will be a Zoom call with Scenic Texas next Tuesday, so if you haven't already contacted me to be involved and you wish to do so, please email me and I will send you the invitation to join. This will be a call for those willing to take charge of a category. If you don't want to be driving the train, BUT would like to help, let me know what area of interest you have and I will pass your info off to the lead person for that category.This should be FUN, EXCITING, and really good for Blanco. I have a lead person for signs, trails and parks, design standards, lighting, and streetscapes but I still need landscaping, buried utilities and a few others. Let's do this thing!
Finally, next Thursday, August 19, at 5:30 Dr. Robert Mace, Executive Director for the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment will be presenting a program "Understanding Our Water" at Gem of the Hills. This is a BIG DEAL! To have a presenter of this caliber in our little town is quite and opportunity. Let's pack the house !
Please note that we are experiencing a spike in Blanco County Covid cases with 46 active now! Be careful out there, and please return to some basic precautions like masking indoors and socially distancing. I know, I thought we were over it too, but like all things in life, a day at a time.
Thanks everyone for your support.
Written by Councilmember Connie Barron on August 11, 2021.