News Affecting Lake McQueeney

What Now For FOLM?

Friends of Lake McQueeney worked hard to develop solutions to preserve our dam and lake. With the approval and establishment of the Lake McQueeney Water Control and Improvement District #1 (WCID), the primary work to actually accomplish the Dam repairs falls to the WCID and GBRA. But FOLM will continue to be involved and work to improve the quality of the Lake and to be a resource for members going forward. Many questions have come up about what will happen as the repairs are proceeding and the water is lowered. FOLM is working to address those concerns. Most everyone is asking about timing, trees, bulkheads, possible dredging, and removal of hazards. All these issues are being studied and FOLM will provide information here as it becomes available. Below is a link to “Protecting Your Cypress Trees”. Please review and consult with a certified arborist if your have additional questions. There is a list included of several local tree service companies to consider. FOLM makes no recommendation regarding any particular company. Also below is link to the current timeline, which is subject to change. Please check this website from time to time for more information about other issues.


Protect Cypress Trees      Repair Timeline


McQueeney Dam FAQs     FOLM Facebook






Lake McQueeney WCID #1 Board Meetings

Board meetings are at 4:30 pm at the Lake Breeze Ski Lodge, the second Thursday of each month. Next meeting July29th. Regular meeting schedule starts September 9th. Click Here




Update 2/25/21- To the Residents and Friends of Lake McQueeney

Texas Water Development Board approves low interest funding for Lake McQueeney Dam. See Details Click here



November 3rd, 2020

On November 3rd, the voters of the Lake McQueeney Water Control and Improvement District #1 overwhelmingly approved all 3 propositions offered and elected the 5 Board members. Now that the District is approved, planning, funding, and construction work on the Lake McQueeney Dam can proceed. FOLM thanks all those that worked so hard to Save Our Dam.


Update - To the Residents and Friends of Lake McQueeney

July 31, 2020

new damn photoFirst, as you may have read, heard or seen on the TV news in the last 24 hours, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) yesterday released their statement on the lawsuit settlement about which we reported to you in our July 24 update last week. To reiterate, this settlement with the GBRA constitutes a huge step forward towards repairing the Lake McQueeney dam.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

The settlement provides an immediate initiation of the engineering studies required for dam repairs at Lake Placid and Lake McQueeney at GBRA’s sole expense (studies which are already under way);

An application has been submitted for a zero percent interest loan from the Texas Water Development Board for the monies needed to repair the dam. In our case, that could mean more than $700,000 in savings each year – savings that would be passed to those within the Lake McQueeney Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) in the form of lower taxes; and

This settlement also dedicates ALL revenues – 100 percent – generated from the future sale of hydroelectricity from the McQueeney dam to repaying the monies borrowed for the dam repairs.

When KENS 5 Anchor Aaron Wright introduced their coverage of the GBRA settlement, he described it as a “victory for property owners along the Guadalupe Valley lakes.”

Just as important, this GBRA settlement, and the other positive and productive steps that FOLM and others have worked hard to achieve over the last year, have given the residents and especially registered voters of Lake McQueeney an opportunity to control our own destiny. By working together and passing the three critical ballot measures in this fall’s election related to our Water Control and Improvement District (WCID), we can ensure our beloved lake for decades to come.

After several emotion-filled months, a realistic solution for all parties has been reached.

In recent weeks, FOLM has also received letters from four key state legislators that make it clear to all reasonable persons why our supporting our WCID in this fall’s election is our only way to address this crisis. You can read these letters in their entirety here, but the key take-aways are captured below.


For example, both our State Senator, Dr. Donna Campbell, and our State Representative, John Kuempel, confirm that the historic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to devastate the Texas state budget. Senator Campbell specifically states:

Now that we are experiencing an economic downturn due to COVID-19, I am certain that our state's budget will not have the resources available to fund the repairs to the dam next session. Lake McQueeney and the surrounding community cannot afford to wait a few more sessions to potentially fund the dam. After several meetings, expert advice, and a couple of years of deliberation, FOLM and elected officials have come up with the most affordable and immediate solution to restore Lake McQueeney. The creation of the Water Conservation Improvement District (WCID), if agreed upon by the voters, is the best option to raise the funds to repair the dam.

State Senator Charles Perry, who chairs the Senate Committee on Water and Rural Affairs, adds:

For those that do not understand the need to create a tax levy for the maintenance and upkeep of these structures, let me be clear: these are not the state’s responsibility. Therefore, no appropriation from the state’s budget should be relied on.

State Representative Lyle Larson, who chairs the Texas House Committee on Natural Resource, says:

It has been my privilege to chair the House Natural Resources Committee. In that role, I have worked with all of the river authorities in the state, which each maintain their respective infrastructure without state appropriations. There is not a single dam under river authority control we're aware of that was paid for with a state appropriation. (Emphasis added.) A proposal to spend state dollars to rebuild the dam on Lake McQueeney would likely be met with significant opposition.

The message from our state legislative leaders in Austin could not be clearer: the creation of the Lake McQueeney WCID was and is our best option to address this ongoing crisis, and now it is critical that the registered voters of Lake McQueeney confirm the creation of the WCID and the financing of urgent dam repairs this fall.

We’ve already made good progress in just the last year. Let’s work together, and finish the job!

Sincerely, The Friends of Lake McQueeney


STATEMENT BY FOLM ATTORNEY RICARDO CEDILLO ON THE GBRA SETTLEMENT

July 30, 2020

The announcement of a settlement between property owners on Lake McQueeney and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) clears the way for immediate steps to be taken to secure the long-term future of their beloved lake — some measures in fact are already in motion. Importantly, the parties agreed that the spill gates and water levels on Lake McQueeney shall be maintained at specifically defined normal operating water levels from the date of this settlement until repair and replacement construction begins — at which time water levels may need to be adjusted for construction needs. Thanks to this settlement, the newly created Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) will receive 100 percent of the hydroelectric revenues from the dams. Thanks to this settlement, the GBRA is already funding $1.2 million in engineering studies and work for Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid. And, this settlement with GBRA has enabled the WCID to apply a zero-percent interest loan from the state which could save us more than $700,000 each year, if approved.

The terms of the settlement with GBRA are significant in that they outline specific deliverables, which are now dependent upon the passage three initiatives on this fall’s November 3rd ballot. This means the registered voters of Lake McQueeney now have a chance to control their own destiny, secure their beloved lake for decades to come, and protect their property values, jobs, economy and the community as a whole.


Water Board Meeting - UPDATE 07/14/2020 -  Read Legislator Letters

UPDATE

Dear Lake McQueeney Home & Land Owners, In March of 2016, the spill gate at the Lake Wood dam outside Gonzales collapsed. By the end of the day, Lake Wood was totally drained. A 2019 media report described the situation facing the residents who lived around Lake Wood at that time:

Three years later, the place for family fun and get-togethers now looks more like a ghost town ... For three years, neighbors in the tight-knit lakefront community have been fighting to get their lake back.

Just last year, on May 21, 2019, the spill gate at Lake Dunlap, in the New Braunfels area just upstream from us also failed, which you can watch here. A media report in the aftermath described it this way:

The failure caused the water on the Lake Dunlap side to recede. At this point, it's dropped about seven feet, leaving the lake unusable for most recreational activities.

As you are well aware, Lake McQueeney – and we as its residents – face a similarly dire situation and uncertain future. Will, as we have been warned repeatedly, the spill gates on our 92-year old dam also fail? Will the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) move forward with plans to drain our beloved Lake? In the meantime, some media reports suggest property values around our Lake may have already dropped by as much as 50 percent.

Each of us is already paying a steep cost. We have to act now.

Happily, many others share our sense of urgency. In fact, after considerable work and extensive consultations with key legislators, regulators and experts, the Lake McQueeney Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 this week announced a proposed agreement with the GBRA to save Lake McQueeney – the terms of which are on the fact sheet to follow.

We ask you to join us in supporting this common sense, real solution to our ongoing crisis – especially this November, when key provisions of the agreement will be on the ballot.

Most importantly, this new agreement provides an immediate, long-term and sustainable solution. It provides access to a possible 0% interest loan to fix our dam, and a dependable revenue source to help repay those loans. And it guarantees transparency in the budgeting and auditing process, so residents know how each dollar is being spent and why. FOLM is currently working under the assumption that we will need approximately a $40 million loan to fix our infrastructure issues. So, if the November ballot initiative passes and we procure the loan at 0% interest, it will mean a tax increase of 20-cents per $100 valuation or a yearly increase of $2,000 on your tax bill for a $1 million home. If we procure the loan at a market value interest rate of 3%, it will mean a tax increase of 32-cents per $100 valuation or a yearly increase of $3,200 on your tax bill for a $1 million home. Please know the ‘market value’ interest rate is an assumption in order to give you credible numbers as the market could change and the interest rate could be lower or slightly higher than 3%. Please keep in mind that due to our situation, our home values have seen a decrease of approximately 20% on our appraisals. So, in essence we have already seen a reduction in our tax bill.

Some will ask why this agreement is necessary. Why doesn’t the GBRA or the State pay the bill? If you have followed this issue, you know the GBRA’s position: the funding for dam repairs would have to come from hydroelectric power sales, which are not sufficient to meet all of the costs.

FOLM has done considerable research on this issue and communicated with multiple people and organizations. Among them, Texas State Senator Charles Perry, who Chairs the Senate Committee on Water & Rural Affairs. Senator Perry wrote to FOLM stating, “ For those that do not understand the need to create a tax levy for the maintenance and upkeep of these structures, let me be clear, these are not the states’ responsibility. Therefore, no appropriation from the state’s budget should be relied on.”

The message is clear: we cannot look to Austin for a solution. Nor can we solely rely on litigation, which even in a best-case scenario would be tied up in the court systems for many years to come. How many docks will fail in the meantime? What will happen to real estate values? Obviously, our home values will crater.

There has been a steady stream of misinformation about this issue but please know, these are the facts.

We at FOLM have pledged to be completely and totally transparent in our communications with you.

When you look at all of the factors, the reality is: we do not have a choice. Either way, we will pay a price. We can continue watching and waiting while property values decline, or we can invest in a better future.

It is important to point-out that both Lake Dunlap and Lake Placid have decided to remedy their dire situation the exact same way. That is, both Lake Dunlap and Lake Placid have formed WCID’s and will have the same initiative on the November ballot.

FOLM strongly and enthusiastically supports this deal between the GBRA and the Lake McQueeney Water Control and Improvement District because it immediately sets in motion the process of fixing this clear and present danger to our Lake in the only real way possible.

After all of the frustrations and anger we have experienced in the last year, we feel incredibly hopeful and fortunate to have reached a point where the path to a better future is now in sight. If we pull together and focus on solutions, not personalities and emotions, years from now our children and grandchildren will be thanking us for doing the right thing.

We don’t have to imagine what the alternative is, because sadly we see it playing out right now in Gonzales – where our fellow Texans continue to struggle with the loss of Lake Wood.

If we fail to act and fail to pass this November ballot initiative, it is highly likely the dam WILL FAIL, Lake McQueeney will dry-up and our home values will decrease substantially as will our quality of life we now enjoy.

Please join us. FOLM pledges to update all home and landowners on a regular basis and please feel free to contact us at anytime. Go to www.lakemcqueeney.org and click on the upper right menu icon and scroll down to click on ‘CONTACT’ to get in touch with FOLM. Sincerely yours, Friends of Lake McQueeney __________ LAKE McQUEENEY FACT SHEET Below is a summary of items discussed by the LM WCID #1 in its public meeting held on July 14, 2020.

1. The GBRA commits to start its engineering studies related to dam improvements immediately. If the November ballot initiatives are passed, they will continue these studies at GBRA expense.
2. Thanks to this agreement with the GBRA, the District is able to file jointly for low- interest financing – potentially as low as zero percent. If awarded at zero percent, which will likely be determined this Fall, it would potentially be a $700,000 savings in debt service to the District per year.
3. If a 0% interest loan is procured it will mean an increase of 20-cents per $100 valuation or a yearly increase on your tax bill of $2,000 for a $1 million home.
4. If a market value loan is procured, based on a 3% interest loan, it will mean an increase of 32-cents per $100 valuation or a yearly increase on your tax bill of $3,200 for a $1 million home. Please know we are estimating a ‘market value’ of 3% based on current market conditions so that we may bring you credible figures. Obviously, the market could fluctuate between now and when we actually get the loan.
5. Because it owns the dam, the GBRA will continue to operate the spill gates – not the District.
6. GBRA will use best efforts to keep the water levels in Lake McQueeney at current levels prior to construction.
7. GBRA will continue to operate hydroelectric BUT the agency will provide all revenues stemming from these hydroelectric sales to the District.
8. The revenues flowing from GBRA to the District are estimated to be $585,000 annually. Of this, $430,000 will go to the District each year for debt service, while another $100,000 each year will be deposited into account for future repairs and replacement. Remaining funds into separate reserve fund to shore up debt service.
9. If GBRA revenues flowing to the District are less than $400,000 in any year, and there are not sufficient funds into the reserve fund, the GBRA will loan it to District to make up difference (same interest rate as main loan). Stability and predictability.
10. At the end of each fiscal year, which is Aug 30th for GBRA, the agency will have a certified audit provided to the District within 120 days.
11. All GBRA accounts and records subject to inspection by the District at any given time.
12. Not later than 60 days before the commencement of each fiscal year, GBRA shall provide the District with a preliminary budget covering all expected revenues and expenditures.
13. Subsequent to each preliminary budget, the GBRA is required to provide the District with quarterly updates. 14. If the District disputes any information in the preliminary budget, District as the right to appeal to GBRA board. 15. It is important to note that Lake Dunlap (New Braunfels area) and Lake Placed (Seguin area) face similar to exactly the same issues and both have decided to do the same thing we are doing to remedy their situation. That is, they too have created a Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) and have a similar initiative on the November ballot. This Fall, Lake McQueeney voters will be asked to vote on three key provisions of this Agreement:
1. Confirmation of the creation of the Lake McQueeney WCID
2. Election of the WCID’s Directors
3. The proposed bond to pay for dam repairs

GBRA Facebook


Useful Links

Local Newpapers

Seguin      New Braunfels


Chambers of Commerce

Seguin      New Braunfels


Government Sites

City of Seguin      GBRA      Texas Parks & Wildlife


Guadalupe County      TCEQ      Texas River Guide


Seguin ISD      Navarro ISD      Texas Fishing Guide


Weather & Flooding

NOAA Forecast      NOAA Rivers      COE-Canyon Lake


CCEO GIS     


Other Sites

Texas Aquatic Plants      Mcqueenney TX      KWED 1580


Lake Placid Association      Preserve Lake Dunlap