Friday, August 26, 2011
StopCTA wants to re-energize the airport issue with educational outreach and a groundswell of on-the-ground participation from the community in October. We’re going to kick things off at the Bastrop Producers Market on the 1st. We’ll be available to answer questions one on one (no formal presentations), distribute information and most importantly rouse folks to ACTION throughout the month! It should be great fun! Please join us!!!
Monday, August 22, 2011
These comments were presented during Citizens’ Comments at the Bastrop County Commissioners Court on August 22. Due to time constraints, the quotations from the 381 Agreement were truncated but are presented here in their entirety. It is quite encouraging that the last few weeks there has been a better turnout for the citizen’s comments. Let’s keep the momentum going!!
I doubt that many Bastrop County citizens, even those present in this courtroom today, have actually read the infamous 381 Agreement between Bastrop County and the Central Texas Airport. Most of it is rather uninteresting but don’t let that fool you. This document contains some jaw-dropping nuggets.
Today, I want to acquaint you with Section 10 titled Mutual Assistance: County Cooperation and Assistance. Keep in mind that the wording is nearly identical to the original draft submitted by the CTA’s attorneys in September 2009.
There are only two sub-sections but they are real doozies. Sub-section (a) cements the relationship between the County and the Company:
But the real meat is in Sub-section (b):
Why not just offer up your first-born while you’re at it! Basically, all Carpenter has to do is ask and the County, “at its sole discretion”, will grease the necessary wheels. I can only imagine the litigation that would ensue if the County actually refused to comply!!
A comparison with the Mutual Assistance language used in the 381 Agreement for Burleson Crossing, puts the magnitude of the County’s airport give-away into perspective:
Why all the special perks for the CTA? Was the County that desperate? Now, the morning after the con, in the cold light of day, is this Court possibly experiencing a case of well-deserved buyer’s remorse? And if so just what is this Court going to do to remedy the situation? Inquiring minds would really like to know.
Monday, August 8, 2011
These comments were presented during the citizen’s comment period at the August 8 Commissioners Court session.
Today there’s going to be some respectful mythbusting!
There is still lingering confusion about the role that Rep. Mark Strama played in the failed bill that would have annexed land under the jurisdiction of the proposed Central Texas Airport to the Cottonwood Creek WCID #3 in Travis County.
Since the beginning of the Legislative session, Strama’s staff has explained that creation of the bill was facilitated through his office as a ‘courtesy’ that would be offered to anyone requesting assistance in drafting possible legislation. Somehow this legislative ’service’ was misinterpreted as pro-active support and a myth quickly surfaced that the Representative was going to sponsor the bill.
In reality, Rep. Strama never took a position. In part because legislators are reluctant to meddle in another district’s business . . . especially concerning a contentious issue. In part because staff research quickly revealed substantial deficiencies in the project.
There was a collective sigh of relief when the Legislative session ended and no one had stepped forward to sponsor the bill. This gave rise to the myth that the issue is dead until the next legislative session. NOT SO! While the legislative approach is the easiest and therefore most desirable to developers, it is not the only way to create a MUD or WCID.
Last week I talked to the TCEQ to learn a little more about the process. Title 30: Chapter 293 of the Texas Administrative Code describes the TCEQ’s role in the formation of water districts. Texas Statutes: Chapter 51 details requirements for WCIDs and Texas Statutes: Chapter 54 details those for MUDs. Generally, the application process seems to require filing a petition to appropriate agencies and entities, a timely Public Notice in the local paper and consent from local entities including the affected county and/or city. Be prepared. This is not easy reading.
So we are anything but free and clear until 2013. Vigilance is especially warranted now that airport interests have acquired the Falcon Seaboard property. Either a MUD or WCID spearheaded at that location would not bode well for the county’s future.
Judge McDonald, you have stated publicly that any MUD-related activity would “require a public meeting”. Should one of these non-legislative options arise, the citizens of this county are going to hold you to your word and we will expect this Court to do more than rubberstamp such a proposal.