Council approves items on Boot Ranch water accord
After much discussion between residents, City of Fredericksburg and Boot Ranch officials, approval was given for two of the three scheduled items related to Boot Ranch water agreements.
During the 6 p.m. city council meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21, officials with the private club community discussed its wishes to amend its Reclaimed Water Service Utility Agreement with the city to use the city’s groundwater for golf course irrigation, and to amend its Water and Sewer Service Agreement to include almost 38 acres to the original agreement.
They also discussed plans to have a new lift station constructed.
Mayor Linda Langerhans took public comment on the topics before listening to Boot Ranch’s information.
Resident Allen Brecher took issue with the land expansion and what effect it would have on the future availability of drinking water.
“As we all know, groundwater is a limited and depleted resource,” Brecher said. “We’re going to have that problem in the future if we ever have any extended droughts.”
He was also concerned about failed infrastructure at Boot Ranch.
“We’ve got a one million gallon water tank out there that you’re going to have to take out of service, and in order to do that, because of some inadequate design and decisions made in various sections, you’re going to have to construct another tank,” Brecher said.
Another resident, Larry Shaw, had questions for the city, which were answered by City Manager Kent Myers.
“If a 9-1-1 call came into the city, I would assume that the Fredericksburg Fire Department and/or the EMT people would be the ones to respond to that. Would the city bill anybody for that process?” Shaw asked.
“They would be billed for EMS. We do not bill for fire,” Myers said.
“Do Boot Ranch homeowners get the same type of bill for their services for water and sewer that the people in town receive?” Shaw asked.
“No sir. They pay twice as much,” Myers said.
“Are the charges for the sewage processing determined the same way as the sewage charges for the city?” Shaw asked.
“Yes. The treatment is the same,” Myers said.
The new water tank at Boot Ranch also will provide gravity-fed water for fire protection in the northern part of town.
Mark Enderle, a partner with Boot Ranch developer Terra Verde Group, started by saying no extra water would be needed for the 37.217 additional acres, as they aren’t planning to add more Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDUs).
He went on to the groundwater amendment, saying “the city is a great partner sending effluent (treated wastewater),” but they hope to blend that with city groundwater to reduce the salt content.
“If it gets in our ponds and sits there in 90 degree weather, the acidity goes up and since it’s effluent, it has a high amount of salt,” Enderle said.
As for conservation, Enderle said, “staff is fully on board with trying to help solve that,” and they would be “very proactive” in doing so.
To help prevent the overuse of water, Enderle said Boot Ranch will use native plants, institute drip irrigation and decrease the size of new homes.
Council member Bobby Watson asked Enderle if Boot Ranch looked into alternatives.
“There is a process for a sulfur burner that, as the effluent comes in, we can run that effluent through it and it would reduce the acidic. It doesn’t do anything for the salt,” Enderle said. “And we’re going to do that anyways.”
Council member Tom Musselman asked if there were chemical processes to reduce the saline content.
Enderle said golf courses near the beach put salt water through a reverse osmosis, but it wouldn’t be cost effective here.
He added that the only time salinity becomes a problem is during the drier months of mid-June through September.
“If we’re getting rain water, that serves as the mixing,” Enderle said. “It also serves as a flushing agent.”
Enderle said if this amendment wasn’t passed, Boot Ranch could manage.
Councilman Charlie Kiehne asked Enderle if Boot Ranch had used the Palo Alto Creek, another alternative to dilute effluent, to its capacity.
Enderle said they have the potential to do so during the summer.
Before action was taken, Assistant City Manager Clinton Bailey said according to data updated in 2017 by the Texas Water Development Board, Fredericksburg will not need to pursue additional water supplies outside of the Ellenburger Aquifer for the next 35 years.
Kris Kneese, assistant director of Public Works and Utilities, said whether the amendment regarding groundwater was approved or not, nothing would change as far as the 168-acre feet of available water if Boot Ranch ends up not using it.
“Nothing changes as far as the volume goes,” Kneese said. “It just changes where the water can be utilized.”
The council voted 3-2 to approve an amendment to the Reclaimed Water Service Utility Agreement with Boot Ranch to allow for the use of the city’s groundwater for golf course irrigation. Kiehne and Musselman opposed.
The council unanimously approved the easement to construct a new lift station at Boot Ranch.
They decided not to take action on the amendment to the Water and Sewer Service Agreement to include 37.217 acres to the original agreement so Boot Ranch and the city could talk further. A discussion to table the vote until the next meeting was brought up, but wasn’t taken because councilmembers wanted more time than just a couple of weeks.
In other business, the council also:
• Held the second of two public hearings to receive comments for or against the voluntary annexation of 13.395 acres proposed as Stone Ridge Unit 10 located near the intersection of Lower Crabapple Road and Ellebracht Drive. No attendee spoke.
• Held a public hearing to receive comments for or against and approved R-1 Single Family Residential Zoning on 13.395 acres proposed as Stone Ridge Unit 10.
• Chose to restart the public hearing process for the annexation of about 91.24 acres of land along the south side of W. Live Oak Street, west of Post Oak Road and the current city limits, after a resident in the area said proper notice wasn’t posted on the city website regarding meetings on the annexation.
• Approved an ordinance authorizing the issuance of $2.3 million in Electric System Revenue Notes to finance the construction of the new Electric Services Center.
• Approved a resolution establishing the city’s participation in the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program.
• Approved a Professional Services Agreement with Avenu Insights & Analytics, LLC to perform professional services for Local Hotel Occupancy Tax, Sales and Use Tax Discovery and Recovery, and Short-term Rental Permitting.
• Approved appointments of members of the Market Square Redevelopment Commission.
• Approved a PACE Program Interlocal Agreement with the Alamo Area Council of Governments and the City of Fredericksburg.
• Awarded a bid for the Marktplatz Pavilion and Arbor project to Hill Country Home and Ranch in the amount of $161,682.
• Received and discussed Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund Applications for 2020.