Immediately following the spillgate failure, board members of the Preserve Lake Dunlap Association worked with local representatives to propose a water control and improvement district, or WCID, that would allow residents to tax themselves to pay for the improvements, said Doug Harrison, who serves as a special advisory board member for the PLDA.
On Feb. 7, 2020, the TCEQ approved the Lake Dunlap WCID, and a temporary board with five members was established to work with the GBRA to determine tax rates and develop a design for the dam.
Proposition A formed the Lake Dunlap WCID; Proposition B set an upper limit on the WCID maintenance and operation tax rate at $0.10 per $100 valuation; and Proposition C will give the WCID the authority to levy a tax to repay bonds issued by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority for the dam construction of up to $40 million.
“Its been a lot of work to get to this point,” said Larry Johnson, who was previously a member of the WCID board before becoming treasurer of the Committee to Restore Lake Dunlap, a political action committee formed to promote the WCID among voters. Johnson will return to the WCID board now that the election has passed.
Johnson said that the propositions received 90.5% of the vote between both counties, and five board members were approved by voters.
“It's been an amazing journey, and really a civics lesson of what a community can do if they just pull together,” Johnson said.
The project was approved for a 0% interest loan from the Texas Water Development Board for the replacement and repair projects. Now the WCID will begin evaluating bids received from construction companies, Johnson said.
“We could start construction in January. That would be fantastic,” Johnson said. “Definitely we'll start in the first quarter, but we're hoping [it will be] early in the first quarter.”
Johnson said he expects the WCID board to finalize a contract with a construction company in the coming weeks.