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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
September 11, 2013     Hays Free Press
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September 11, 2013

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SEPTEMBER 11, 2013 REBELS PREVAIL Hays wins 21-7 over Anderson. - Page 1B THE HEART OF IT Buda teen waits in Houston for new heart. - Page 1C + @Barton Publications, Inc. ............ : ...... Vol. 111 * No. 23 .... ............ Serving Buda, Kyle and Northeast Hays County 75 Troubled waters still flow for Monarch BY ANDY SEVILLA Following a state directive this summer, Monarch Utili- ties will paint its fire hydrants in Kyle and Buda red, a move expected to calm the fire flow worries of the water compa- ny&apos;s customers - but Kyle city officials have not been quick to join in the utility's fanfare. "We do not feel that Mon- arch Water is not repainting the fire hydrants out of any since (sic) or community or corporate responsibility, but only because you are herby (sic) compelled to by the State of Texas," said Kyle May- or Lucy Johnson in an Aug. 28 letter addressed to Southwest Water Company Vice Presi- dent Charles Profilet, the par- ent company of Monarch. According to Johnson's let- ter, Monarch's decision to re- paint their black fire hydrants in the Amberwood and In- dian Paintbrush neighbor- hoods red "was the result of thousands of dollars spent on legal assistance and many hours of City of Kyle staff time in presenting our case to the State Legislature that the hy- drants should have never been painted black in the first place," A 2007 state law called for utilities with fire hydrants lacking sufficient fire flow to fight a blaze to paint them black in an effort to alert first responders of a hydrant's ca- pability. That law, however, opened the flood gates for utility companies, not want- ing to face financial respon- sibility over hydrants that PHOTO BY ANDY SEVILLA Southwest Water maintenance employees Jimmy Castarda{teft) and Michael Bant (ght) paint a ire hydrant red at 1549 Amberwood Loop in northeast Kyle last wee. Monarch Otilities began thprocess of painting 80 fire hydrants in Kyle and Buda red in accordance with a new state law passed this summer. might fail during a fire, to paint all their hydrants black. Monarch painted all of their fire hydrants in Kyle and Buda black in 2007. "It was the prudent thing to do, because otherwise there was a potential of an uncapped lawsuit if there was a fire and a house burned down, or God forbid some- body was hurt or even killed," said Gary Rose, Kyle area Monarch operations director. Despite the black paint, Monarch's fire hydrants have always been capable of ad- equately fighting fires, ac- cording to Rose, who said the water company's hydrants can provide 250 gallons of fire flow per minute at pres- sure levels of 20 pounds per square-inch - the thresholds red fire hydrants must meet. And Rose's adequate fire flow assertion is what fuels Johnson's frustration - why paint the fire hydrants black if they can provide sufficient water flow to fight a blaze? MONARCH WATER, 6A Lights out Around 5:30 p.m., Kyle Fire Dept. was called out to a grass fire and downed power lines on 2770 just near Meadow Woods Dr. A big rig pulling an industrial- size fan pulled the lines down, knocking out power for 2,500 residents, including Hays High School, for more than an hour. PEC (Kyle district) and Time Warner were both called to the scene after the inci- dent occurred, as was Kyle Police Dept. Fire Chief Kyle Taylor said the accident caused a grass fire that burned about a half acre. The driver, who was pulled over in Buda near the Elm Grove neighbor- hood, was on his way from Victoria to Midland. He said he followed the route directions provided by the Texas Department of Transportation exactly. Hays County Sheriff's deputies and Texas Department of Safety officers were on the scene in Buda, as was PEC (Oak Hill district). PHOTO BY ANDY SEVILLA rci) < Buda shuns QQ UP cruz Holy Cross FeslJval Santa Cruz Catholic Church wil be holding their 4th annual Holy Cross Festival on Sept. 14 and 15. On Sept. 14, live music acts Joe Bravo, Sunny Ozuna and the group Avizo will take the stage. Mariarchis will be on hand, with delicious festival food greeting hungry patrons. There will also be bingo and games for the kids. Sunday will feature Cojunto Romo & Ricky Naranjo. A live auction will be held at 12:30 by Father Charlie Garza. The festival is free for entry and parking. No alcohol or fooc from outside allowed on grounds. The festival starts at 11 a.m and goes through 11 p.m. on Sept. 14; 12:30 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. on Sept. 15. Bilingual Story Time at Ihe Kyle Ubrary Join the Kyle Public Library as they take children through their Bilingual Story Time event. The event, held each Friday, features stories, songs, finger plays and simple crafts. Stories read will be in both Spanish and English, and feature different themes. Bilingual Story Time begins at 10:30 a.m. For more information, call the Kyle Library at 512-268-7411. IPs About Thyme Join Chris Winslow, owner of It's About Thyme Garden Center, as he gives a lecture on choosing the right tree for your yard, and how to plant it correctly. Learn from the expect, as he goes over soil conditions, disease diagnosis, sun requirements and important advice on planting techniques. The lecture is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. It's About Thyme Garden Center is located at 11726 Manchaca Road in Austin. GBRA study BY MOSES LEOS III It is a measure that could cost Buda tens of millions of dollars. For now, Buda says more discussion is needed prior to expanding the Sunfield Waste- water Treatment Plant (Sun- field plant). The idea of expansion start- ed in 2012 when Buda and the Guadalupe Blanco River Au- thority (GBRA) entered into a Memorandum of Under- standing (MOU) to study the Sunfield plant. This was in response to the increase in effluent going into the cttrrent treatment plant in City Park. The city wanted to know if it could expand the SurLfield plant, which currently oper- ates at a recommended capac- ity of .25 million gallons per day (mgd). It has the capability to expand up to 6.0 mgd. The permitted capacity of Buda's treatment plant in City Park (City Park plant) is 1.5 mgd. Currently, Buda operates at 68 percent daily capacity. However, per Texas Com- mission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) rules, once a plant reaches 75 percent daily capacity for three months, en- gineering and financial plan- ning must begin. At 90 percent for three months, construc- tion must occur. Buda operates below the thresholds. However, officials wanted to look into several op- tions before that day comes. GBRA contracted HDR En- gineering to help with a Pre- liminary Engineering Report (PER). The PER addressed the needs of Sunfield and Buda, treatment options and loca- tion of sewer mains. However, what council wanted to know was the cost of expanding the Buda and Sunfield WWTP. Two scenarios were given to council on expansion. Sce- nario one sought to complete build out of the Buda WWTP to 3.0 or 4.0 mgd. In scenario two, HDR pro- vided expansion of the Sun- field plant to 1.5 and 2.5 mgd. That will allow the city to di- vert effluent from the Buda WWTP to Sunfield, with the current plant operating at 1.5 mgd. However, the price tag was too high for the council. NO WAY TO GBRA, 6A Kyle debt tops $70 million BY ANDY SEVILLA As Kyle's population con- tinues to expand, with no end in near sight, city lead- ers are struggling to keep up with expected services and much needed infrastructure improvements demanded by a growing citizenry. And now, as the new fiscal year begins to peek its head, Kyle is poised to have the highest property tax rate in Hays County and a principal debt of more than $70 mil- lion. Kyle's principal debt equals $70.55 million, plus $28.78 million in interest for a total of $99.33 million owed. The newly approved $45.36 million budget for fis- cal year 2013-2014 (FY2014), which council members OK'd last week, will raise property taxes to cover the cost of the first series of six bonds that will be issued for a $36 mil- lion road bond project voters approved in May. Faced with crumbling roads, mobility issues and safety concerns, Kyle took to the streets and asked voters to weigh in on a proposed $36 million road bond set to re- construct Bunton Creek, Bur- leson. Goforth and Lehman roads, as well as extend Mar- ketplace Avenue. All of these streets were identified as pri- ority projects in a city vision- ing process in 2012. Voters green lighted the project, and now. as FY2014 creeps in, residents will begin to feel the first pinch in their pockets. The FY2014 budget rais- es the property tax rate to $0.5483 per $100 of property valuation, up from $0.5244 cents. That increase is ex- pected to raise the annual tax bill for the average Kyle homeowner by $30.15, or $2.51per month. And, as planned, the new budget will also raise water and wastewer rates, along with an increase to miscella- neous city fees. The new property tax rate will raise approximately $349,000 to help cover debt obligations for FY2014. In- cluded in those debt obliga- tions is the first series of the bonds for road projects. Water rates will increase by 20 percent and wastewa- ter rates will also climb by 10 percent - these increases will culminate a three-year plan aimed at balancing the util- ity's expenses and revenues. Other rates Kyle charges for service will also increase by about five percent "in order to keep up with rising costs for those services," according to a city news release. Once FY2014 takes hold on Oct. 1, the city will begin its new year with an estimated $70.55 million in outstand- ing principal debt, which represents a 9.6 percent or $498,523 net increase from the current fiscal year. With interest factored in, Kyle's total debt will be $99.33 million. Kyle will have to dole out an estimated $5.69 million in total debt service payment for FY2014. The new budget does not add police officers nor per- sonnel to the city staff, de- spite most departments' expressed need for more em- ployees. City staff, however, KYLE BUDGET, 6A LAMAR'S NO MORE Lost lease leads to barbershop closing up shop after 41 years. - Page 1D Opinions ...................... 4-5A Sports ........................ 1-2B a Education ..................... 3-4B Neighbors ..................... 1-6C Best Bets .................. 6C Business ..................... 1 D Service Directory .......... 2-3D Classifieds .................... 2D Public Notices ............... 2-4D +