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.
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