by Hunter Croan
on Thursday, January 28th, 2021 at 3:44pm.
It’s official….WE ARE GETTING OUR LAKE BACK!!! Construction on the new Lake Dunlap Dam is scheduled to start any day now with Zachry Construction acting as the general contractor. They are estimating 18-24 months to complete the dam, which puts the completion date sometime late 2022 to early 2023.
How the Lake Dunlap Dam Replacement project came to fruition:
On May 14th of 2019 the center gate of the Dunlap dam collapsed and our lake became a river. By 8:30am the President of PLDA, J Harmon, had begun making calls and assembling a team to figure out how to fix it. They immediately began meetings with City, County and State officials to search for a solution.
After exhausting all possible funding options from the City, Counties and State, the lake residents decided that if they wanted the lake back we would have to pay for it. An Advisory Committee of Dunlap neighbors was formed (including our very own Hunter Croan) to help move forward with the creation of a taxing district (LDWCID). The formal creation of a taxing district requires the approval of the voters in that district. On November 3rd, 2020 propositions A, B, and C passed with a landslide approval rate that was well over 80%. At this point all the "i's" were dotted and "t's" were crossed to get our lake back!!
Since LDWCID is paying for the dam, GBRA has agreed to give 100% of Gross Revenues from the Hydro Electric production. There is HIGH flow years and LOW flow years, but they estimate the average Hydro Electric Revenues to be approximately $800,000 per year. The debt service on the loan will be approximately $1.465 million per year. According to www.LakeDunlap.org on October 27, 2020, “Even the high bid will still allow us to keep the tax rate at or below 20 cents per $100 valuation.” That is only $1000/year for a $500,000 CAD valued home!
GBRA will still own and operate the dam and the hydro electric facilities.
GBRA paid several million dollars for all engineering costs to rebuild the dam.
GBRA will pay for all operating costs for the dam thru the life of our contract.
GBRA obtained the loan (bonds) from the Texas Water Development Board to finance the reconstruction. As of last week, GBRA received the $40 million dollars and put it into a dedicated construction fund. The interest rate on the Bonds is 0% for the first 12 years and then the rate gradually increases to 0.3% by the last year of the Bonds.
LDWCID has guaranteed GBRA that we will pay the debt service on the loan. This will be approximately $1.465 million per year.
LDWCID will pay for any Capital Repairs and Replacements necessary on the dam (in excess of $25k/event)
Since LDWCID is paying for the dam, GBRA has agreed to give us 100% of Gross Revenues from the Hydro Electric production.
We have HIGH flow years and LOW flow years, but we estimate the average Hydro Electric Revenues to be approximately $800,000 per year.
GBRA believes that all hydro electric production facilities are in working order and will “warranty” the operation of the dam and all hydro electric facilities for the first year after completion.
GBRA has negotiated a renewed contract with GVEC to buy the hydro electric power through the life of the bonds.
The bulk of the income from GVEC (first $650k/yr) will be used to reduce the debt service payments by the LDWCID.
Some of the GVEC income (above $650k) will be set aside in dedicated funds for future repairs and maintenance AND to help smooth out revenue in future LOW flow years.
GBRA has already received bids on the project and selected a winning bidder. Zachry Construction in San Antonio.
Official “Notice to Proceed” and a Ground Breaking is anticipated within the next 30-45 days. As soon as we know that date we will certainly update you.
The construction timeline in the bid is 24 months. We are building a massive project on top of a 90+ year old structure in the middle of a river that is prone to flooding. PLEASE understand that neither LDWCID nor GBRA nor Zachry can guarantee this timeline.
The Timeline above would have the dam completed around February of 2023 – nearly 1400 days from the time we lost the lake. We will continue counting every day.
LDWCID has appointed a Technical Engineering Committee that has been and will continue to meet regularly with GBRA and Zachry to manage costs AND try and accelerate the timeline. LDWCID Director Harry Moeller, Greg Hills and LDWCID President Doug Harrison are members of this Committee.
Your initial Tax Bill from the LDWCID will show up on your October 2021 tax bill.
We do not yet know the initial tax rate. The initial tax rate will be dependent upon the overall value of all properties in the LDWCID. We expect to be able to give you a good estimate this summer and we must turn in the official rate to the County before September. Look for more detail in future updates.
SPECIAL NOTE: Although the LDWCID is in BOTH Comal and Guadalupe Counties – ALL of the tax collection will be done through Guadalupe County. That means if you live in Comal County, you will get a bill from Guadalupe County since they will be collecting the tax for both Counties. This is a common practice for things like school districts that cross county lines.