Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Low lake levels cause big cuts in Jonestown

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TWC News: Low lake levels cause big cuts in Jonestown
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Lake levels remain low on the Jonestown water front.

Spend just a few minutes in the small town of Jonestown on the shores of Lake Travis, and you will find out just how intertwined their economy is with the water.

"This year is a fraction of what it used to be, it's just not what it used to be," Landowner Alen Carlson said. "During the summertime I would say about 50 percent of it is probably from out of town, usually from the Houston area."

The city gets much of its revenue from boat launch fees. Last year they made $31,000 from the fees. This year the city has only made $200.

At Deliwerks Bar, just outside Jonestown, less water means fewer tourists and less money.

"It is better than it was last year. Last year was a lot lower. This year has gotten a little better," Deliwerks Bar Manager Allisen Goodman said.

But the city is still facing big deficits. In an attempt to make up for lost revenue, the city decided to cut from the top down. Both the head librarian and police chief were laid off. The city administrator, Manuel De La Rosa, is temporarily filling both roles.

He said he’s prepared to fulfill the roles for the next two years, but says he hopes he doesn’t have to

“Anytime you affect people’s livelihood it is difficult," City of Jonestown Manuel De La Rosa said. "We want to deliver the best services we can for the city without causing too much of a negative impact on by increasing their taxes. Our city council found it very difficult to do a rate increase So they gave us a task, how can we maintain a level of service and keep as many people on staff, and only and only in dire emergencies will we touch our reserves."

Business owners don't have the luxury of reserves. Instead, they hope to entice locals while waiting on the rain and the tourists it brings.

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