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.
The Board of Directors of Lake McQueeney Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 is pleased to announce that the appeal in the matter of Steven L. Bruington and Nancy R. Bruington, Appellants v. Lake McQueeney Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, Robert L. Worth, Jr., David Doughtie, John Ewald, Lindsey Gillum and Paul A. Mueller, Appellees has been DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. With the dismissal of this election contest, the District intends to proceed as quickly as possible with GBRA to begin the spill gate repairs at the Lake McQueeney dam. The public is invited to attend the next board District meeting on September 16, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. at the Lake Breeze Ski Lodge to receive an update on the status of the repairs to the Lake McQueeney dam.
We wanted to provide a brief update to the discussion at the FOLM Annual Meeting in June regarding the legal proceedings related to the efforts to repair the dam and save the lake.
Steve and Nancy Bruington have continued the appeal of their election contest to disqualify the November vote in which approximately 90% of voters approved the ballot initiatives necessary to finance and repair the McQueeney Dam. Among other things, the Bruington’s appeal prevents the WCID from taking the steps approved by the voters to address the McQueeney Dam.
If the appeal is not resolved by February 2022, the WCID will not be able to take advantage of very low-cost subsidized financing provided by the Texas Water Development Board. It is estimated by experts that obtaining market rate financing will cost the taxpayers an additional $15 million (or more) in interest expense.
FOLM opposes the Bruington’s legally unsupported election contest and the drain on valuable resources it has necessitated. To that end, FOLM commissioned an expert in appellate law to draft an Amicus Brief to aid the appellate court in its decision and lay out the impact on the community and broader consequences of the delay caused by the Bruington’s legal actions. Click here to see the Amicus Brief filed with the Court. (Please read the first 25 pages. The remaining pages are supporting documents/appendices)
The appellate court recently denied both of the Bruington’s requests for in-person arguments and will consider the parties’ briefs, including the Amicus Brief, on September 14th. We thank everyone that has reached out asking what they can do to help resolve this legal obstacle standing in the way of implementing the plan developed and overwhelmingly approved by the members of our community.
Dam Right, The Board of Directors of the Friends of Lake McQueeney
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.
First, 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.
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
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.
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.