To download letter click here
As we bring 2014 to a close and welcome a new year, I wanted to provide an update of things happening in Granger. This is my first year as your Mayor and it’s been both a challenging and rewarding year as I look back. I’m sure 2015 will prove to be another year of changes, challenges and celebrations.
Over the past couple years we issued 26 building permits and watched as new rooftops appeared. This means we welcomed many more new residents to our charming community. We are currently in preliminary discussions for another residential development, but it’s too early to provide any further details except to say we are still growing and have every reason to be excited about our future.
For some time now, we have been making plans for a new waste water treatment facility. The old lagoon system was built in the early 80’s and Granger has outgrown the capacity for our population, so the DNR mandated a new treatment plant. The facility will be located near the lagoon and will use state-of-the art ultraviolet technology. If you have not seen the construction underway on Zavier Avenue drive by sometime and take a look. We will be posting pictures as the project progresses. This is a $6.5 million dollar project. Yikes! That was my reaction and I’m sure many of you share that sentiment. We secured a low-interest loan from the State Revolving Fund as a cost-effective way to finance the project. Of course, paying for the loan will be a challenge. In order to increase the sewer revenue fund, it is necessary to pass along an increase in sewer rates to everyone who is provided with this service. The City Council has approved three increases to take effect every six months beginning in March of 2015. With the three rate increase schedules, the sewer rates would be as follows:
Date Rate Increase No. Service Availability Charge Dollars/Month Commodity Charge (1000 gallons)
Current $10.13 $6.31
March 1, 2015 1 $12.67 $7.89
September 1, 2015 2 $15.20 $9.47
March 1, 2016 3 $17.73 $11.04
The average sewer customer utilizes approximately 4,000 gallons of water per month. For an average user of 4,000 gallons per month, the monthly sewer bill increase would be as follows:
Date Rate Increase No. Average Monthly Bill
March 1, 2015 1 $44.23
September 1, 2015 2 $53.08
March 1, 2016 3 $61.89
Unfortunately, this is a painful but necessary increase.
There is also some good news around the SRF financing. Because we had proactively completed a study on improving water quality in our community, we qualified for a program to provide additional funds by further reducing the interest rate. We have been approved for approximately $400,000 toward water quality projects. You should see improvements such as stream bank stabilization and bio-swells along Oxley Creek north of State Street in the latter part of 2015. We are also working on additional grants for further water quality projects and I am particularly excited about what this will do for our lovely creek that meanders through town.
One of the challenges we did not anticipate this year is the deteriorated condition of the bridge over Oxley Creek on State Street. Thankfully, our Streets Superintendent Mike Greif identified the problem and brought it to the attention of the City Engineer who then recommended closing the bridge as a safety concern. Very recently, we received long-awaited news that we have been approved for federal funds to finance the bridge improvements. This is an 80/20 plan and the estimated cost will be around $700,000 with Granger’s portion in the neighborhood of $140,000. While this is a significant amount of money, it is much easier to swallow than the full price of replacing the bridge. Myself and the City Council were all very excited to receive the news of the federal funds. It is expected that the road will re-open by next fall. This may not be completed prior to the opening of the new elementary school but again, 2015 will see a big change in that area of our city.
In September, we again celebrated our annual Granger Days. The committee of volunteers worked long hours coordinating the events. I want to thank everyone for their efforts and in particular, the business owners and residents who donated funds to provide for all of the fun and interesting events. If you were not able to enjoy the celebration, let me just say you missed a great time. After the parade there was everything from a truck pull and tractor show to stunt dogs, clowns and magicians. The committee has already met to go over the results and begin planning for next year. If anyone is interested in working on this effort, we would welcome more members on the Granger Days Committee. Simply contact City Hall and Kristy or Karen will be happy to put you on the contact list.
Lastly, I have news that is bittersweet. After 25 years as our Chief of Police, Lyle Griswold has decided to retire on January 15th. He is loved and respected by many and will be leaving a void in our community. I will personally miss his jokes! With the assistance of Chad Leonard, the Dallas County Sheriff we have been searching and interviewing for a replacement. I will announce the replacement and plan to introduce our new Chief sometime in January. There will be an open house here at City Hall on Wednesday, January 14th from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. if you would like to come and congratulate Lyle on his retirement and thank him for his many years of service to the residents of Granger.