Questions still unanswered over COOs


Dear Editor:

In regards to your article “Council approves certificate of obligation sale to fund hydroelectric repairs”, I was intrigued in many ways.

1) You did not publicize the vote; who was for, who opposed? How do we know who to listen to during the upcoming election cycle if we don’t know who is supporting the taxpayer’s expectations?

2) I am still waiting for replies from Councilman Schroeder, Mayor Kacir, and City Manager Lally. Due to my busy schedule traveling and working to afford my city taxes, I have a limited number of opportunities to communicate with my elected officials, so I sent emails to all three on March 7th after the first article referencing their intentions of pursuing COO’s for the dam repairs and again on April 4th when I never received any replies to my questions of justification of economic decision the first time. On the second email I requested a notice of delivery and never received a notice the email was received. That makes me question the city’s email filters and if they ever inspect and review their spam/quarantine folders. With that said, why post the email addresses on your website if you are not going to maintain your accounts. That is assuming they never received my correspondence.

3) I have the following questions still pending:

  • How long has the Gonzales dam been out of service?
  • How much annual revenue (or COGS saved) does the City receive from the generation and sell of hydroelectric power from that dam?
  • What are the annual operating costs of the hydroelectric dam for the past 5-10 years?
  • What percent of the annual electrical sales by the City are supplied by this dam?
  • In other words, why was this decision a good economic decision when we are facing historical budget shortfalls?

4) Recently with the loss of the Lakewood (H5) dam gate, we have heard and learned from GBRA that revenue from hydroelectric generation is very lean and non-sustainable. Recent discussions appear to show that abandonment as opposed to repairs are a viable economic possibility for the GBRA dams. Based on these publically presented points from GBRA; I am extremely excited to see the data that the City of Gonzales Council used to justify their vote to approve the COO for the City dam repairs.

5) Since Texas law usually requires local governments to seek voter approval before debt issuance, did the City pursue the COO to purposely avoid voter approval? I am curious since NO economic justification has been publicized to support this decision to impose additional tax burdens on the taxpayers. With the City experiencing a historically challenging financial position, and the recently publicized comments by those elected officials that conservative spending is needed, maybe it is time to make prudent economic decisions (maybe they did-but I have found no one who knows any facts) in lieu of follow the leader. Remember, it is election time.

6) I am excited that with COO’s, VOTERS CAN petition for an election and can have the last say, with that option to petition for an election. BUT, again, you failed to define the procedure and the timeline for citizens/taxpayers to pursue this option. So, I ask, is that procedural timeline still viable, contingent on taxpayers awakening and questioning the undocumented decisions? Please enlighten us. 


J. R. Anderson

Gonzales, TX