Denison Council Refuses Support For Bill To Raise Lake Texoma To - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Denison Council Refuses Support For Bill To Raise Lake Texoma To 614-619 Feet

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DENISON, TX -- Denison says no to raising the lake, at least for now. Council members refused to sign on to a Lake Texoma Association request to support higher lake levels.

Congressman Ralph Hall submitted the bill in September to keep Lake Texoma between 614 and 619 feet.

Right now it's only 611 feet. There's concerns about tourism. But Denison officials have a couple problems with this bill.

"To make sure our objections to it are noted," says city manager Robert Hanna.

Mayor Jared Johnson shared Hanna's objections during Monday night's council meeting, and the council took no action.

First objection-- could the city be liable if the Southwestern Power Administration gets upset?

"And there's some question on my part on whether or not that's compensable -- whether they they can get reimbursed for that loss or they can compel someone to pay them for that loss and before the City of Denison endorses that legislation, I think we need to know the answer to that question," says Hanna.

"I think we need to strongly look at this, but we need to take into consideration the power company and the impact on its business," says council member Ken Brawley.

Under the language in the current bill, there would only be power generation under 614 feet if there was a determination of emergency power needs, including those resulting from a natural disaster.

The bill says the Secretary of the Army would consult with a Lake Texoma Advisory Committee.

Meantime, extra water from keeping the lake up at 614 to 619 would "be made available for allocation and, if allocated, district water suppliers will be prioritized."

"It simply says districts and when asked about, when I asked about that word, their lobbyist indicated that it was intended for the North Texas Municipal Water District and the Greater Texoma Utility Authority," says Hanna.

And that's the second objection.

"We want to be able to buy it at the same time North Texas does. We don't want to have to wait for North Texas to say I'm not interested in it," says Hanna.

Meantime, one council member wants to know how low is too low for Southwestern to generate.

"The power company previously stopped generating at about 608 and so we're not sure what the threshold is of where it's not feasible for them to generate power any longer," says Brawley.

Also tonight, council approved applying for a 80/20 state grant that could be used to pave the part of the path at the north end of Waterloo Lake with concrete, and around the fountain. For now, that is only if they get the grant.