ENNIS – City Manager Steve Howerton informed the Ennis commissioners that due to continued lowering of the lake level at Lake Bardwell, the city anticipates entering stage one of the city’s drought contingency plan.

“It is somewhat ironic that on this beautiful, cool and damp day, the city of Ennis is issuing a news release regarding the anticipation of stage one voluntary water conservation measures,” Howerton said.

Earlier on Monday the level of Lake Bardwell was measured at 417.47 feet.

“When the level of the lake reaches 417 feet or lower, we will enter stage one of our conservation plan,” Howerton said.

Howerton anticipates the level of the lake to be the conservation level between Aug. 1-15. Voluntary conservation will be achieved by the citizens following a twice-a-week sprinkler-watering schedule. There will be no restrictions on hose watering or new landscaping planted in 2013.

“Should the lake level continue to drop due to use and evaporation to 414 feet, we will begin a mandatory stage two conversation plan,” Howerton said.  If are little or now rain, the city could possible face stage two conservation by mid fall.

“We are hopeful we will have enough rain going into the fall to avoid the mandatory stage two,” Howerton said.

Former Mayor Pro-Tem R.E. (Bob) Taylor was presented with a plaque of appreciation for his service to the city. Taylor announced his retirement from the commission prior to the most recent May election.

After receiving his plaque from Mayor Russell Thomas, Taylor said he wanted to take this opportunity to say thanks to all the citizens of Ennis for giving him the opportunity to serve on the city commission for 18 years.

Members of the commission revisited the possibility of the purchase of the old golf course during the commission’s workshop.

The discussion began as Howerton released the results of a questionnaire distributed to area residents seeking their input regarding a city-owned golf course. The questionnaire asked for input on such items as how much the city should pay to purchase the land, what is your preference for the location of a proposed nine hole golf course club house with parking lot and golf card equipment storage, and should the golf course be run at a loss and how should the loss be funded.

“We were looking for a trend and didn’t see one,” Howerton said.

“I think in the long term, a golf course is a good thing, however timing is very important,” Howerton said.

The city’s proposal to the Economic Development Board was a way to purchase and hold the land for future use.

The discussion turned lively with Commissioner Brian Holley saying he was against spending $300,000 to purchase the land.

“I am against the acquisition of the land, period. I do not see a viable use for the property,” Holley said.

“We have found the value of securing property for the future. Look at the industrial development area for an example,” Thomas said.

One of the uses that has been proposed is a nature area with walking trails.

“I think this was another chance for the city to hear the opinions of the people as to having a golf course,” Thomas said.

A resolution authorizing the city to apply for a Texas Community Development Block Grant Program Disaster Relief  Fund application was approved. The application will be made to the Texas Department of Agriculture seeking reimbursement for the collection, removal and disposal of debris from the May 16 tornado.  

The city is seeking $132,062 in relief funds through the grant.