A bill designed to expand the Killeen area regional water district’s boundaries and set up election procedures was reported “favorably” Monday to the Texas Senate, according to the Legislature website.
The bill was recommended for local and uncontested calendar, without any amendments made to it Monday, real-time tracking of the bill indicated.
Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple expressed confidence in the bill Monday afternoon.
“Once it passes local consent in the Senate, it will be on to the governor,” Shine said.
The legislative session is set to end May 27.
On March 23, controversial wording was removed from the bill. The original draft of House Bill 2105 by Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 would have allowed developers to serve on WCID-1’s board, which is not allowed by the Texas Water Code.
The bill was introduced in the state Legislature in February and assigned to the Natural Resources Committee. Since then, Shine presented a substitution bill that removed the developer wording, according to Shine’s chief of staff, Charlotte Blakemore.
The planned bill had two functions: to expand the district’s outdated boundaries to include customers added since 1984 and to add two seats to the board of directors.
The bill was drafted in late January following the water board’s Jan. 23 meeting, where the board gave General Manager Ricky Garrett authority to proceed forward. Garrett told the Herald it was his idea to add an exemption allowing developers on WCID-1.
WCID-1 board president John Blankenship is developer of the Bella Charca community.
The district’s boundaries include only a small part of Killeen represented by 1984 city limits, while its wholesale customers include all of Killeen, Copperas Cove, Belton, Harker Heights, Fort Hood, Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 3 and 439 Water Supply Corporation.
The outdated boundaries became apparent last May when the district had its first election in 24 years and only residents of a small portion of Killeen could vote.
In December, WCID lobbied its customers to cancel elections, in favor of appointments, as the boundaries were expanded. Killeen council members rejected the district’s attempt to remove voting rights, and the water district dropped it plan to eliminate elections. Before Shine filed the bill in February, Garrett inserted the clause to allow developers to serve on the board.