WCID

Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 general manager Ricky Garrett, left, discusses change orders to the under-construction treatment plant on Stillhouse Hollow Lake with board president Don Blankenship and the other directors in June 2018.

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The planned bill had two functions: to expand the district’s outdated boundaries to include customers added since 1984 and to add two seats to the board of directors.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The outdated boundaries became apparent last May when the district had its first election in 24 years and only residents of a small portion of Killeen could vote.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.

mpayne@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7553

(1) comment

Alvin

Copy: 'Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 general manager Ricky Garrett, left, discusses change orders to the under-construction treatment plant on Stillhouse Hollow Lake with board president Don Blankenship and the other directors in June 2018.' End of copy.

Ladies and Gentlemen – 'Boy are we getting set up'

The oratory was started during the rein of past city Mayor of Dan Corbin. He was the first one that started the conversation of 'expanding the water treatment plant as we are 'running out of water' and there was also, if I remember correctly, talk of Killeen running out of water meters', and that started what has become, to my way of thinking anyway, the whole water bond fiasco. From there it was, 'we have to have another 10 MGD, getting us from, and now I am running on memory, 32 MGD to 42 MGD. So our city council went along with this proposal 'that we had to have another 10 MGD or this town will whither on the vine and blow away.

Now nothing has been brought up about since it's inception to last March when the WCID-1 came to Killeen supporting a modification bill that would have introduced an expansion of the boundary's and included a revision of the number of seats on the board by 2. Now the original intent of Bill, House Bill 2105, Bell County was to 'allow developers to serve on WCID-1 board', and thus expand by 2 the number of Directors. This has been a no-no by the Texas Water Code.

Copy: '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.'

Continuation of copy: '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.'

Continuation of copy: '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.

Continuation of copy: '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.'

Continuation of copy: '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.' End of copy.

Now as I understand it, originally what was proposed to by the mayor back in his term of office that ran from 2012 to 2014 was that this new water plant was to serve ' Killeen, Copperas Cove, Belton, Harker Heights, Fort Hood'. I also was of the opinion that Nolanville was to be included in the plan that would pull water out of Stillhouse. Well as I understand it, up jumped the devil and the plan now includes 'Water Control and Improvement District No. 3 and 439 Water Supply Corporation. Now they are already supplying water to Nolanville from the confines of Belton Lake. As I understand it, they were only included in the new water plant of Stillhouse.

Copy: '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.' End of copy.

So now we have a really big kettle of fish to boil. Now I asked myself: 'Why did it take so long to figure out the boundaries of the confines of WCID-1? Why did the board introduce the Bill 2105 in February and assign it to the Natural Resources Committee when it was not submitted to the Killeen City Council until March. Hmm. WCID-1 board president John Blankenship is developer of the Bella Charca community. Now why was he permitted to assume the office of the President of the WCID-1 when it not allowed by the Water code? And finally, 'why did Assemblyman Shine go before the Assembly and present the House Bill 2105 when Killeen isn't even in his District for our Assemblyman is 'Rep. Brad Buckley. Now go figure.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are being taken for a ride and it's not a very pleasant one. We are being 'led down the golden path' so to speak.

I wonder whether any of our city council personnel are aware of just what is going on, how much money is really forecast to be spent on this project, and 'why in the world is the Killeen elevated water tank, which was the first change order, now being delayed for over a year beyond the latest forecast of water to be delivered from Stillhouse Reservoir'. These are all pertinent questions that should be asked by the office of the City Manager, Mr. Ron Olsen, or our Rep in the Assembly, Rep. Brad Buckley and asked 'why it is that he is not the one that represents Killeen, why he isn't performing that very function instead of Assemblyman Shine.

And to top it all off, back in the days of Mayor Corbin, it was said by the then current Director of Public Works, if my memory serves me correctly that 'we were swiftly running out of water and he served up a figure of 25,000 MGD and that was another indicator of how swiftly the water was being consumed, plus the fact that a developer was in the process of building 3,750 homes just outside of the city line so no funds would be available for the purpose of water/sewer extensions, road development, medical, fire, and police facilities. Well now it was just said that the water flow volume into the city of Killeen was in the neighborhood of 15.1 MGD right now 5 years later and the sewage water flow is 10.2 MGD which results in a negative delta of (-3.9 MGD) so that says we are being overcharged for who knows how many years.

Yes I think this venture is about to develop into a 'Big Can of Worms' and answers are to be forth coming.

Let us citizens of Killeen that we, as a neighborhood family community, have a lot of work ahead of us to 'get our ducks in a row' before we drown in our accumulated debt.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.28 % who voted.

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