Implications from the possibility that FEMA will soon raise the flood plain around Lake Brownwood surfaced almost immediately following a public hearing on that issue held by the board of directors of the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 Tuesday afternoon.
The board conducted an informational meeting on flood plain matters during the hour prior to its May board meeting, and that situation was one of several factors mentioned by directors in turning down a proposal to purchase approximately 66 acres of prime district property near the dam.
Bob Garrett approached the district concerning the purchase of the Kirkland and Denton leases. Board members said the district is still considering whether it might keep some of all of the land for use as a public park. But they also noted that if FEMA raises the flood plain around the lake eight feet, as engineers have indicated could happen, this property would be among a small amount of land around the lake that would not be in the flood plain.
That could significantly boost its value, directors said.
Garrett said his plans for the property would be attractive for the area, bring economic progress to the lake and provide for public access.
The matter was one of several involving land considered by directors at the board meeting. Approved sales included:
• Lots 22 and 22A at Peninsula Subdivision to Dwain Lee for current fair market value, $68,000.
• Lots 7 and 7A at Peninsula Subdivision to Joy Ross for current fair market value, $35,200.
• Lots 18 and 18A at Peninsula Subdivision to Vivian Auldridge for current fair market value, $79,500.
• Lots 19 and 19A at Peninsula Subdivision to Tommy Davis for current fair market value, $131,000.
• Lots 11 and 11 at Robertson Point Subdivision to Doug Blagrave and wife Shana Blagrave for current fair market, $7,100 and $8,900, respectively.
• After declaring it surplus, approximately 2.6 acres of land known as Thrifty Store to Mary Mackey, $25,000.
The board also voted to consider a proposal from Robert W. Eagle regarding the purchase of approximately 23 acres formerly known as Rolling Hills.
In other business, the board:
• Told representatives for the City of Early that bond requirements prevent the district from waiving a fee that would “catch up” Early on debt service on revenue bonds should the city start buying treated, instead of untreated, water from the district. Councilman David Gray and City Administrator Ken Thomas attended the board meeting.
“In discussion we’ve had, the general tenor of the City of Early is to proceed with the pipeline contract (for treated water),” Gray told the board. “But several of our citizens are concerned with the buy-in clause that’s $70,000 to $80,000 or potentially more… We voice optimism that we would like to proceed, but ask for consideration to waive or reach a compromise on the buy-in clause. Our citizens are concerned that this retroactive portion requires us to pay up for something they’re not receiving.”
Water district counsel Bill Bell said the fee is not exactly a buy-in to the system, but a catch-up on debt service on the bonds issued to fund the water treatment plant improvements that’s required of any entity that is added to the district.
“We can give you a very long term on the payment, and we can give you zero interest,” Bell said, “but the covenants of the bond require it.” He suggested that Early ask its financial bond consultant about that requirement, and that the city make a reasonable proposal that would work with its budget.
• Canvassed returns from Saturday’s directors’ election and saw Bell administer the oath of office to Stuart Coleman, Pierre Osbourn and J.Y. Timmins. Ted Simpson was reelected president of the board; Mark Campbell was reelected vice president; and Timmins, secretary. Simpson said committee assignments would remain as they have been in the past.
• Approved a revised fiscal year 2006-2007 audit report as presented by Joyce Cornelius, CPA, from the office of Burl D. Lowery, CPA, to include a letter reflecting federal requirements. Cornelius said state bond proceeds being used for the water treatment plant upgrades are tied to the Environmental Protection Agency, so a federal reporting requirement needed to be added.
• Approved the transfer of lease from Harvey Mueller II to 138 LLC, and approved a new three-year lease agreement in the name of 138 LLC.