Big Country

Buffalo Gap sewer system project will move forward: residents mixed about decision

Buffalo Gap residents split about new sewer system

BUFFALO GAP, Texas - Introducing a sewer system to Buffalo Gap has been a four year process, maybe even longer, if you ask Mayor David Perry.

"When I first became Mayor in 2000, it was on my mind. In 2003, some folks approached me about it. I though it was something that would be impossible to do," said Perry.

In 2009, a survey was dispersed to the residents of Buffalo Gap, asking if they approved of the sewer system project. The majority of people were for it.

Now, in 2013, the funds are in place to move forward. In March, City Council voted unanimously for the project. They also received $2.1 million dollar grant and $2.3 million dollar loan from the USDA Rural Utilities Service to get the project going.

"If I hadn't been so old I would have jumped over the table!" said Perry.

He hopes the system will attract more residents, and businesses, to the town.

"I think it's going to be very attractive to people who would like to live in Buffalo Gap," he said.

Perry believes the current system is not working for the town, or for Jim Ned, the local elementary school.

"The septic system they have over there is inadequate to handle the needs of the children and the school," said Perry. "And there is no room to extend the septic tank system.

Others though, like city council hopeful Martin Tischler say the new project isn't worth the cost.

There will likely be a fee tacked on to each residents' utility bill to pay back the loan.

"It would be a lifetime sentence. It won't be just a month or 2," said Tischler. "It isn't fair for us to pay for the system so other businesses can just move in to use it but not pay for the installation."

He is also concerned about the well-being of the trees; some are thousands of years old. He thinks they benefit from the septic water, especially with the recent droughts.

"In the 45 years I have lived here, I've never seen the trees in worse shape. These trees suffer more and more and more," said Tischler.

He's worried the trees will die with the new sewer system. He added that besides being a part of the city that the community can enjoy, they also add value to the properties of Buffalo Gap. He owns seven homes in town.

James Johnson isn't for it either. He installed a $5,000 septic tank years ago, and he does not believe there is anything wrong with the current system.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," said Johnson.

However, since the funds are established, the project will move forward.

"I think it would be a good deal. I think it would be a lot healthier, better for the town. It would make the town a lot more modern," said local Richard Barker.

"I think anytime that you have or project change the first reaction is 'I don't want that,'" said Mayor Perry. "After awhile though, you realize that it's going to be good for the City."

There will be a presentation about the sewer project on Monday, April 22 at Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap. There is a portion that will be open to the public, beginning at 1 p.m.

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