Logan administrator keeps eye on growth

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

This month Larry Wallin, administrator of the Village of Logan, celebrates 13 years at the position. The Quay County Sun visited with Wallin to learn what changes have occurred and what challenges face the popular lakeside community.

How did you come to be manager 13 years ago?
I was drawn to the job because I was interested in the direction Logan was going. We had a manager retire, so everybody asked me to put in for it.

What were you doing before that?
I grew up in the small town of Porter between San Jon and Logan, where my family farmed and ranched. We still have the land, but I don’t farm or ranch anymore. I had a real estate office and a construction company. I still keep my real estate license active, but I don’t have either of the companies any more.

How has the population of Logan grown since you first took the job?
We were pretty small. What we base our population on is water meters. When I came here we had 560 water meters and now we have 900. Our property valuations are now at between $10 million and $12 million.

Have you had to increase staff?
At the present, we’re at the same level. We’re trying to use part-time employees to keep down costs. We have 14 full-time employees and three part time.

What kind of operating budget do you have?
It fluctuates. But our overall budget is $2.238 million, including general funds. That covers everything from law enforcement to water and sewer. When I came here, the budget was $750,000.
With the Ute Lake Ranch project our gross receipts, property values and visitation have increased. Talk about free advertisement, you couldn’t count the amount in dollars that Ute Lake Ranch has meant to Logan in free advertisement. People are finding out about Logan because of Ute Lake Ranch.
Also about five or six years ago, we went to an outdoors trade show in Denver, Colo. They took all of our literature in the first six hours. We’re the only medium-sized lake that doesn’t freeze over in the winter that’s near Colorado. So we get a lot of visitors from Colorado.

When did development first start to occur in Logan?
It all started in 1994-1995, with South Shore Estates, there were about 44 lots. And there have been several subdivisions along those lines plotted out since then. These have all been within the Village of Logan city limits.
Ute Lake Ranch is outside our boundaries. And someone is coming in on Thursday to talk about another subdivision that’s also outside the city limits.

What kind of challenges do these projects bring to the village?
What we’re doing is constantly evaluating our water lines, water size, sewage needs. When we reach a peak, we know it’s going to cost the village to grow any more. Right now, we’re working on a sewer project seeking funding for a $15 million liquid waste treatment plant. Right now, the PER (Professional Engineering Report) is done and now, we’re going to our U.S. representatives and congressmen and state and federal agencies for funds for the treatment plant – and we’re just talking the North shore. That would relieve a lot of property owners, because right now they have to have three-quarters of an acre per lot to accommodate a septic tank.
We have met with governor’s aides – we’re trying to get money anywhere we can get it.

Can you give some examples of the increase in property values?
Using Ute Lake Estates, a half-acre lot in the early 1980s would have cost $10,000, in the mid-1980s, about $14,000, in the late 1980s to early 1990s, it would have cost $20,000, and now it might cost between $80,000 to $150,000 depending on how close it is to the water.

What do you think the residents think of the services?
We do have challenges. We have people moving in, who want more services, they want curb service, they want house-to-house garbage pick-up. That’s because that’s what they’re used to.
But they also like the peace and quiet, the low costs and the low taxes.
We have chip seal roads (asphalt). And we have folks who have lived here for 30 years, and they’re grateful for the chip seal roads. They say they like the peace and quiet and they say they’ll continue to live here until we get the first stop light. And if one goes up, they say they’re moving.
One of our biggest challenges is when we have 60,000 to 80,000 people come through over a three-day weekend. That’s over a holiday weekend and they want to go to or stay around the Ute Lake Park.
Our busy season is from March 15 until the Texas high schools play their first football games. Then the visitors slow down.

What are some examples of other growth in Logan over the past five years.
Since 2000, we’ve had a 40-unit motel, a restaurant and lounge, a drive-in restaurant, a marina, a home for the elderly and two health clinics.
We saw that folks were retiring here, but when they got older they had to leave because we didn’t have a health care center. We’re trying to stablize that and so now have a two clinics.

Village of Logan
Subdivision plotted, proposed

South Shore
Village Unit 1 – 40 lots
South Shore
Village Unit 2 – 31 lots
Canadian River
Bluffs – 41 lots
Ute Lake
Properties – 80 lots

Total 192 lots

Source: Village of Logan