upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a
social duty of as solemn a nature as man [sic] can be called to perform;
that a man [sic] may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every
elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every
measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others
as well as on his own. "
Daniel Webster, The Works of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little,
Brown, and Company, 1853), Vol. II, p. 108.
Get to know the candidate: listen to 1 minute
Steenbergen speech on the most critical issues facing the City of
Granite Shoals Texas.
Granite Shoals General Election for Mayor and 3 City Council Seats
May 6, 2017 - Uniform Election Date
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Visit the new campaign website at Mike for Mayor
Information on last election in 2016
Granite Shoals City Council
Election 2016 , Place 6
Michael Steenbergen for Granite Shoals City Council, Place Six
Candidate’s Statement: April 29, 2016 (Newspaper release date)
I want to provide a counterpoint, a fresh look at the issues, a
new perspective. With decisions like increasing taxes, selling
Lakeview park and closing the airport possible, it is critical
to have a variety of opinions represented on the Granite Shoals
City Council. With $10.5 million in long term debt, before we
take on $5 million more debt for road improvements we need to
look at the entire financial situation that has developed over
10 years. We need to retire the large debt from purchasing and
remodeling City Hall. While a source of pride, the community has
sacrificed significantly for this luxury. We must balance the
sensibilities and reality of maintaining a “country club” image
when the majority of residents are regular, working citizens
that struggle to pay bills each month and do not need a “Taj
Mahal City Hall”. There are suggestions to sell Lakeview Park
and close the airport that I strongly oppose. On the ballot is a
confusing set of tax propositions 1 and 2 that are a tax
increase that I oppose in it’s current form. Bring common sense
back to Granite Shoals, and get the emphasis off owning the
fanciest City Hall in the Hill Country and back on the lake,
parks and roads where it should be and should have been for the
past decade. I need your vote, Saturday, May 7th!
Will Skiner and Mark Moran
pending newspaper publication
Granite Shoals City Council
Election 2016 , Place 6
Short Biography for
Monday, April 18, 2016
Michael Steenbergen, 60, is a native of
the Midwest who moved to
as a child in 1968.
He has lived in Granite Shoals for a little over 8 year.
Steenbergen graduated with honors from
High School, earning a full academic
scholarship to the
which he attended before joining the family business
Steenbergen helped develop a family
drapery business and then a Fantastic Sam’s franchise which
expanded to 12 Texas stores.
As General Manager of the family enterprises, Steenbergen
handled sales, advertising, human relations, leases and retail
space finish-out. He
earned his Microsoft Professional Certification and opened his
own business using his technical skills in internet development
and network administration while also managing the family’s
Falls business called CJ’s
Gifts and T-shirts.
Since 2010, Steenbergen has been a
political consultant for state and national campaigns and now
works at Advantage Sales and Marketing.
He has served as election judge and clerk in local
elections while also volunteering as a Burnet County Deputy
Will Skiner and Mark Moran pending newspaper publication
Just Released: Newspaper Coverage of Granite Shoals Election -
Friday April 29th
Text Only - Granite Shoals Full Election Article Text from Glynis
Crawford Smith and the Highlander Newspaper - copyright 2016
Reprinted under educational fair use
Granite Shoals candidates address issues
By Glynis Crawford Smith
Granite Shoals voters have two city council choices and a two options
on assignment of existing sales tax waiting for them on election day.
Mayor Pro Tem Shirley King is unopposed for Place 2, but incumbent Tom
Dillard will face newcomer Arturo Rubio for Place 4 and Place 6
incumbent Mark Morren has been challenged by Michael Steenbergen, making
his second bid for a place on the council, and newcomer Will Skinner.
The following biographical information and answers (edited for brevity)
to some key questions in the city follow in ballot order. The questions,
based on some of the longest and most frequently debated, surveyed and
researched issues before the city council, were:
1. Do you have a particular expertise and/or driving concern you want to
bring to fore on the Granite Shoals City Council?
2. Even if funded by grants, some citizens have said parks represent a
maintenance liability they oppose. What is your opinion:?
3. For many years Granite Shoals has debated use and maintenance of its
airport. What is your view?
4. Voters are being asked to make a decision about assignment of sales
tax. What informs your own choice?
5. The city has an opportunity to apply for federal grant funds that
could be applied 55 cents on the dollar to a streets project. Even if
the grant is achieved, city bond money would be required to do even a
portion of major road repairs identified as necessary. Explain your
position on whether a bond decision should go to voters and, if it
should, how much should be sought or what options should voters see on
the ballot in November.
Tom Dillard for Place 4
(Tom Dillard's response to question No. 5, found in this story, was
erroneously left out of the Friday edition of The Highlander. It was
provided in a timely manner.)
Dillard, 43, is a U.S. Air Force veteran who has served almost 16
years as a police officer, nine of those years in detective rank. He and
his family have lived in the city 13 years and he seeks a third term to
continue progress made over the last four years to become more fiscally
responsible and transparent...while increasing and improving service to
the community (and) keeping the long view in mind.
1. Expertise/ concerns: My four years on the council has taught me that
a breadth of experience among council members is exceptionally
important. I bring not only my experience as a councilman, but over 20
years of experience as a public servant on the "working end" of things,
first as an enlisted Airman in the USAF and then as a police officer and
detective for the last 15 years. As a result, I have a working
understanding of all perspectives; a citizen and taxpayer, a policy
maker, and as a "worker-bee". On a personal note, I have raised my four
children in Granite Shoals, and have an acute interest in the needs of
families in this city.
2. Parks: Developing the parks with grant-funds is an absolute
necessity. I agree that the maintenance costs must be kept in mind.
However, the spirit of volunteerism with the Parks Committee and the
continued viability of the restricted parks fund (which does not derive
its revenue from taxes) help greatly in managing those costs. We are
continuing to explore options for generating revenue through non-tax
sources to further manage those costs.
3. Airport: was recently appointed to be the Council's liaison
representative to the Airport Advisory Committee. My view is that the
airport is an asset that cannot be replaced if we make a short-sighted
decision to re-purpose the property. I feel that the prudent course is
to explore the feasibility of making it a resource that can bring
benefit to the city and generate revenue that will (at least) cover its
own expenses. Failing that test, I believe that the discussion about
re-purposing should be seriously discussed.
4. Sales Tax: We have a unique opportunity here to generate more revenue
from a tax source that does not impact the property taxes. The
legislature has removed most of the restrictions on the use of sales tax
revenue. This creates an opportunity that has not existed prior to this
year. By supporting the proposition, we can increase the sales tax to
the same amount that most cities have (2 percent) and infuse most off
that directly into the general fund, where it can be used with maximum
flexibility. The portions of the sales tax that are dedicated to road
improvements and maintenance represent a minimum budget commitment and I
will continue to advocate and vote for additional road-project funding
in the ordinary budget process.
5. Bond Issue: The grant funding that is sought presents a huge and
unique opportunity for the city to leverage some tax-supported debt into
a much larger sum of money to be used on our major thoroughfares. We
have been studying the needs of the community and balancing those
against the realities of the city's financial position. With the current
low-interest-rate environment and the city's improved bond rating, along
with the terms of this funding opportunity, we find ourselves likely
able to complete a five million dollar set of projects for about two and
a quarter million dollars. This is not necessarily the budget for the
project, but it serves as a good example of the arithmetic involved.
Debt should never be incurred lightly, but fiscally responsible "use of
debt" in a case such as this can provide a huge, long-term benefit to
the community. Both Phillips Ranch Road and Prairie Creek Road require
extensive reconstruction and I believe that the opportunity to receive
55% of the necessary funding from sources other than the property tax
roll is something that needs to be seriously considered by the voters.
Arturo Rubio for Place 4
Rubio, 50 is the father of three daughters. He has lived in this area
for most of his life and in Granite Shoals for 22 years. He and his
brother own a family business in Granite Shoals that provides utility
services in Central and South Texas. Issues of an infrastructure to
attract an expanded business tax base were primary issues that brought
him to the campaign.
1. Expertise/concerns: City roads and water supply are in need of
repairs, we should come up with a master plan to do that as funds are
available, but openly explain to the public how important it is to do
this, ultimately good roads and underground infrastructure not only on
certain areas but also covering from the main road from city hall to
Valley View, will make our city more desirable for new businesses (and)
grow our tax base. My experience in construction will help to guide our
city trough this process.
2. Parks: Parks definitely need to be maintained, funds have been spent
in a small area around city hall, limiting the access for all residents.
For example, a ball court on any given park in a different place does
not require much maintenance, but would mean a lot for our youth. Grants
should be dispersed to benefit all, and we should take on the
responsibility of maintenance. It would not be much. We need to let our
young people know that we care they are the future of our city.
3. Airport: I hardly ever seen and airplane land on this airport. At
least I don't remember seeing one. It is a large piece of land that
needs to be put to a good use. Considering the needs of our present
population, it certainly needs to be debated involving all the residents
of Granite Shoals.
4. Sales Tax: I have mixed understanding, since is not clear how it will
work, /The need for an economic development board is here. Granite
Shoals is not a small town anymore and deserves to know how our taxes
are spent, and get the most of it.
5. Bond Issue: The only way to improve our city is with grants trough
federal agencies there is no way around that. My biggest concern is to
get this grant money spend it on road improvements without considering
underground facilities. It needs to be debated to inform all citizens of
any plans and options then put it out to the voters for consideration.
Often times cities do what Granite Shoals is about to do, improve roads
and then find out that sections of new road have to be removed because
there was bad planing in underground facilities, which is directly tied
to any road improvements. What is the possibility of a sewer system for
the city? It is inevitable. The idea is great but what comes first is
more important. A bond decision should go to voters on how much they
Mark Morren for Place 6
Morren, 46, has lived in Granite Shoals 32 years and has been a
homeowner for 27 years. Although he does engineering designs for
Pedernales Electric Cooperative, he also has channeled his expertise as
a sportsman and taxidermist into wildlife management. He has worked
closely with the development of the pilot project for urban deer
management in the city. He is treasurer for Mosaic Community Church and
he and his wife are parents of two children.
1. Expertise/concerns: As a business owner and treasurer of my church,
my expertise would be that I make the money that I'm in charge of or
have earned be managed in a positive way that they will have a positive
outcome for the future.
2. Parks: We are known for being the city of parks. I think that we
manage the city's resources in a positive way for the maintenance of the
parks that it doesn't affect our budget in a negative way.
3. Airport: The council was informed this year that the airport cost us
$13,000 to maintain (last year). The people who use it are not property
owners here and we received not a penny for the use of it. Although they
are putting a proposal together for the future of the airport, as far as
cost of memberships and landing fees. So, once the council receives the
proposal, we can make a sound decision on this matter.
4. Sales Tax: I believe it will be good for the city as it will spread
the cost out to people coming into our city and buying things from
stores and business instead of just the citizens of Granite Shoals.
5. Bond Issue: This new opportunity of 55 cents on the dollar is really
good. It is a no brainer. Citizens asked us to do the job to find a way
to get things fixed. The council members are doing our part applying for
the grant, citizens should do their part to get the roads fixed. The
grant would cut a total $5 million in half.
Michael Steenbergen for Place 6
Steenbergen, 60, is a Midwest native and a graduate of the The
University of Texas at Austin who has lived in Granite Shoals more than
eight years. His experience in family businesses included, C.J.'s Gifts
in Marble Falls, a drapery business and a 12-store Fantastic Sam’s
franchise. He started a Microsoft Certified Professional Internet
development business. Since 2010, he has been a political consultant for
state and national campaigns and now works at Advantage Sales and
1. Expertise/concerns: I wish to be the Voice of the People. Experience
with Burnet County elections, as an election clerk and election judge,
and as a certified Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrar, gives me the
background to create more citizen input and involvement. From
registering residents to vote to encouraging participation in city
government and affairs, I intend to lead by example and bring a true
voice to the average citizen. With decisions like increasing taxes,
selling parks and closing airports possible, it is critical to have a
variety of opinions and positions represented on the council.
2. Parks: Our city has long been praised for its beautiful parks and
easy citizen access to the lakes. Swimming and boating are why many
invested in Granite Shoals. The parks and boat ramps are part of our
city’s good reputation and need to be maintained and upgraded. The parks
should not be rezoned, sold, nor have their purposes altered. We need to
look at using the parks to create “A New Community Spirit” for our city
through more sponsored events like family picnics, local talent shows or
fishing contests. I fully support our parks and their expanded use. It
is also important to remember as council members we are custodians, not
proprietors. It is our job to preserve our city’s valuable assets, not
dispose of them.
3. Airport: One of the attractions of our local community is having a
municipal airport available for our future growth. This is an asset that
should be jealously guarded as part of the future of our city. According
to an FAA report, the benefits of even small airports include critical
community access such as remote rural access, air cargo services, taxi
services, along with emergency preparedness and medical flights. We
should not change the use of this city property to a soccer field and
should look at using some of our numerous existing parks for soccer and
4. Sales Tax: I am against both sales tax propositions. The propositions
are confusing, poorly worded, and ambiguous. Neither separately, nor
together, do they give the voter a true knowledge of what they are
voting for or against. Until the city council presents coherent, clear
and sensible propositions for the amount and allocation of sales tax
rates and revenue the voters should vote “No”. The State of Texas allows
local government entities like Granite Shoals to charge up to 2 percent
sales tax in addition to the State tax of 6.25 percent. The vast
majority of cities charge their allowed 2 percent and so should Granite
Shoals. Traditionally, our city sales tax has been under this 2 percent
rate at 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent I advocate a single sales tax
proposition that revokes all previous rates and a clearly worded
proposition that says sales tax will be 2 percent with 1 percent
allocated for general fund and 1 percent allocated for street repairs.
Stop all this “0.5 percent”, “0.25 percent”, “0.75 percent”, and a “1.0
percent” rate are all terms used in the current propositions. The voter
will need a calculator in the voting booth to make any sense of the
propositions language and rates, repeals, expirations and new levies.
5. Bond Issue: It is too early to send any bond proposals to the
citizens of Granite Shoals. Federal grant money is often available for
local road development and should not be the sole reason Granite Shoals
looks at a bond issue now. The public is not currently informed enough
about the long term road improvement plans to be prepared to take on
more new debt. The current tax, borrow and spend direction of the city
council had already created over $10 million in bond debt by the end of
2014. This debt was mostly created with the purchase and renovation of
the new city hall. Our city government is spending the majority of
taxpayer money on itself and its luxurious accommodations. Citizens do
not even know they still owe money for the building when I ask. There is
not enough of a connection, or true open flow of communication, between
the current city council and the community at large to propose and pass
more bond proposals in November. Do not let one city festival lull the
voters into authorizing $5 million dollars more bond debt.
Will Skinner for Place 6
Skinner, 32 and a native of Arlington, has lived in Granite Shoals more
than 8 years. He works with a Kingsland utility company. He and his wife
have two children, but he mentors a student, serves on the board of a
parent teacher organization and volunteers with a church youth program.
1. Expertise/concerns: Two of my main concerns in running for Granite
Shoals City Council are the road conditions and the need for more public
2. Parks: In regards to our city parks, I believe with so many young
families and children in our community, maintaining them is a necessary
3. Airport: After speaking with several residents, they have expressed
to me one of their main reasons for buying/building in our city was
because of the airstrip. I believe the airport has great potential to
bring in revenue to our town.
4. Sales Tax: As far as the pending sales tax issue, honestly, I am
unsure of all of the details. Once I get on the council, I will look at
the statistics and promise to put the tax payers needs first.
5. Bond Issue: The damaged roads in Granite Shoals have been an ongoing
concern. I feel we need to discuss all suggestions brought to the table
to remedy the issue.
City of Granite Shoals General and Special Elections: May 7, 2016
City Council places 2, 4 and 6 are up for election along with a special
election for Sales Tax
All voters in the City of Granite Shoals (Precinct 3 and Precinct 18)
will vote at the Fire Hall on Election Day. Voters should
bring a form of photo
Early Voting By Personal Appearance will be conducted at:
Burnet County Courthouse
Marble Falls Courthouse Annex
220 S. Pierce
810 Steve Hawkins Pkwy.
Burnet, TX 78611
Marble Falls, TX 78654
Applications for ballot by mail can be requested from and should be
returned to: Doug Ferguson, Burnet County Elections Administrator, 220
S. Pierce ST, Burnet, TX 78611.