NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - The fight over disposable containers may be over in New Braunfels, but the river is still a source of heated debate among residents.
A committee tapped by the city to find solutions to ongoing problems on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers is preparing to a send a list of recommendations to the City Council.
The Ad Hoc River Committee was formed in September to find solutions to a number of problems following one of the busiest summers in recent memory.
One solution the committee wants to recommend is a $5 flat fee for all river users and that's what many speakers were concerned about.
Jeff Henry said he's prepared to take legal action against the city if they accept the recommended fees. Henry's family owns the Schlitterbahn water park. He told the committee the city has no right to charge private property owners a fee to access the river from their own property.
"We are private property owners and we have private property rights and we will take every step necessary to preserve those private property rights," Henry said. "If they attempt to take away our private property rights, then they have drawn a line in the sand and we will go to war."
Right now, only tubers who use an outfitter are required to pay a $1.25 river management fee. The committee is recommending that fee be increased to $5.
The committee also recommends the city charge a $5 access fee for all private tubers entering the rivers from a city park.
For residents with property along the rivers, the committee is recommending the development of a season pass or other type of exemption to give them access to the rivers.
Henry said if the city wants to charge for access from city owned property that's fine, but they shouldn't force everyone else to do the same.
"We have guests that get in the river and get out of the rivers and don't cause any problem to the city whatsoever, don't cost them any money don't cause them any problems, and those people have a right to get in the river because that river belongs to the people of Texas not the people of New Braunfels," Henry said.
The river committee is also recommending changes to where shuttles pick up tubers and improvements to some of the exits to speed up the process of getting people off the river.
To deal with parking related problems, the committee recommends using the Comal County fairgrounds and Landa Plaza as central parking locations.
The recommendations will be sent to city council next week for final approval.
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