SMRF’s $4.4 Million Property Purchase Returns To Dias This Afternoon

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“Flood mitigation is only part of the integrated Stormwater management approach that best protects stream health and man-made infrastructure.”

Terra Rivers,
           Managing Editor

 

The $4.4 million Texas Water Development Board loan will be brought in front of the San Marcos City Council this afternoon.

In September, the San Marcos River Foundation approached city council asking for help in the maintenance and protection of two properties located in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge zone. According to SMRF, the organization has been working for the last five years to preserve the two ranches as conservation sites.

As of September 30, 2016, the City of San Marcos’ debt was $389,029,050, which breaks down to $5,666 per capita (per every man, woman and child inside the city limits).

Out of the 1,216 incorporated cities in Texas, the City of San Marcos ranks 60th in highest population, however they rank 22nd in highest Tax Supported Debt owed.

This debt doesn’t include any of the Certificates of Obligations and bonds passed and/or issued in November 2016 and in any of 2017.

During the initial meeting on Sept. 19, city council discussed the purchase; for budget reasons, the acquisition was originally decided against.

However, on Sept. 20, City Council convened a special meeting to reconsider the issue and passed a resolution asking city staff to begin the process of asking for a low interest loan from the TWDB; staff will give a presentation during Tuesday’s workshop meeting on the current status of the loan process.

The City of San Marcos hired an outside company, TetraTech, to assess the properties in question and provide additional information on Best Practices for Flood Mitigation.

The company provided the city with three different mitigation strategies that could potentially be used for the SMRF properties.

Strategy #1 consists of preserving the current open space habitat. However, TetraTech notes in bullets the following:

  • Will not mitigate existing flooding.
  • Even 95% watershed preservation may not mitigate flooding of at risk construction.

Strategy #2 in flood mitigation practices discusses building “Detention” areas on the property. According to the diagram, one of those detention options includes building a dam in Sink Creek to control water flow in times of floods. (page 15 on PDF below)

Strategy #3 calls for building channels into the property and will require the most maintenance on the city’s part. TetraTech noted in their presentation that channelization could cause “unforeseen consequences” in regard to flooding for areas downstream of the property.

“Flood mitigation is only part of the integrated Stormwater management approach that best protects stream health and man-made infrastructure.”

According to the City Staff’s presentation, the Milican Tract and the Greigar Tract, as the two ranches owned by SMRF are being called, were not rated as the highest of priorities for acquisition in Flood Mitigation.

Additionally, in October, La Cima offered to give the City of San Marcos the funds they are lacking in the budget to purchase the Windenthal Tract that is located in Purgatory Creek (pages 23 & 27 below states this property is “High Priority” for the city to aquire).

La Cima offered was to dedicate to the city, 66 acre Wills Tract with Wonder World Dr. access to Purgatory Creek Nature Area worth $3.5M, the Wildenthal Phase III funding shortfall of $1.5M and $1M cash for Parking, Trailhead and Trail.

The total dollar amount La Cima offered the city was $7 million. Read more HERE.

The total amount of parkland owned by the City of San Marcos is currently unknown to even the city; to explore Corridor News investigation into the parkland owned by the City of San Marcos, go HERE.

Dianne Wassenich, Director of SMRF, Bill Brunch, SOS Alliance and Todd Derkacz, Greenbelt Alliance of three of several individuals will be involved in the workshop Tuesday.

The San Marcos City Council will meet at 3 PM, two hours before their regular meeting, for the workshop that is an open meeting to the public and will conclude by passing a resolution to file the loan application.

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