WCID

The Bell County W.C.I.D. #1 is seen in October 2013.

Nearly three decades after its last competitive election, the regional group that controls the city of Killeen’s drinking water will see a contested ballot on May 5.

On Friday, former Killeen Councilmen Richard “Dick” Young and Terry Clark filed for the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 board of directors, ending a 28-year run of uncontested elections.

On Wednesday, Young said he had been made aware of the district’s election by a friend and filed 10 minutes before the deadline.

“I’m very interested in serving, and it’s a very important part of our city’s future,” Young said. “I want to make sure the citizens have an adequate supply of clean water and no one takes our water away from us.”

Young, who left the council in May 2017, said he has provided the district with proof he owned a taxable interest in property within the district’s jurisdiction and was allowed on the ballot.

“They are trying to dot their i’s and cross their t’s,” Young said. “They obviously don’t have a lot of experience with elections.”

Young said the district did not accept Clark’s filing due to him not residing or owning property within the district’s jurisdiction. District manager Ricky Garrett said two directors seats held by Allen Cloud and Mike Miller are up for election.

The Herald has sent questions to the district since Monday, asking for a full list of the candidates who have filed for the election, how the election will be held, where the district’s boundaries lie and who will be allowed to vote.

On Wednesday, Garrett said the district will hold the election at a “location central to the district” from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 5.

Garrett said he believed the location for the election would be the Killeen Community Center at 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., and the district’s jurisdictional boundaries are the city of Killeen’s 1984 corporate limits.

Garrett said information on the election would be posted 21 days before the election on the outside of the district’s main office at 201 S. 39th St.

According to a Dec. 17 Herald report, the district provides no information on its website about the district’s board of directors, upcoming elections or public notices for meetings of the board, which must be posted 72 hours before a meeting by Texas Open Meetings Act regulations.

That information has still not been updated on the district’s website.

Both Bell County and the Texas secretary of state’s office, the ultimate authority on elections in the state, have said they have no information on the district’s election procedures. The district’s last election in May 2016 was canceled due to no competitive filings.

The three directors who took the oath May 25, 2016, were John Blankenship, a former member of the Killeen Independent School District board of trustees who has served the water district for 20 years; Don Farek, a former Killeen council member and a homebuilder who has served the district for 13 years; and Dr. Mitchell Jacobs, the president of the Bell County Expo Center board and a veterinarian in Killeen who has served the district for 15 years.

Also on the board are Cloud, a former mayor of Killeen and owner of Cloud Real Estate who has served the district for 11 years; and Miller, a former Harker Heights councilman and owner of Miller & Co. Insurance in Heights who has served for six years.

The district said in January 2016 that only Killeen residents could vote in a board of directors election, but the district did not specify which Killeen voters were included in the district’s jurisdiction. Although the district supplies water to other municipalities such as Copperas Cove, Harker Heights and Belton, residents of those communities do not vote in the district’s elections.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(3) comments

TexaSoldier

@Alvin: "I was very pleased to see that both Mr. Young and Mr Clark were informed of the opening"
Dick Young would be a good WCID director, however, he should be running for Killeen Mayor this time with the low quality of candidates in the race.
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@Alvin: "Am I not correct in the in the assumption of the formation of Water Control District No. 2 which has as it's directorship and under the discretion of The Whitis Corporation..."
Unless something has changed, I have been under the impression that WCID2 will be ran and under the direction of WCID1, but I could be wrong on that. And, Whitis is too smart to be in charge or responsible for the water plant, the water tower, the piping to the M.U.D., or the road improvements. In this regard, influence is more important and valuable than ownership or responsiblity. Killeen and WCID (which is also Killeen and those paying a water bill) will be responsible for any failure, as well as on the hook for any capital improvements, maintenance, and repair issues. It's better to pull the strings.
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@Alvin: "...water rights that were presented to the city of Georgetown and not the city of Killeen????"
Our water rights were primarily sold out by the county commissioners who are the chief surface water oversight. Williamson county and Georgetown only had to find a couple of commissioners willing to sell out their own citizens. Georgetown can now expand with guaranteed Bell county water availability instead of using their own lake, which they want used for recreation purposes.
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@Alvin: "You mean to tell me that a multi-million dollar 'Water Control District' cannot define exactly where this election is to conducted????... 'Garrett said information on the election would be posted 21 days before the election on the outside of the district’s main office at 201 S. 39th St.'"
Exactly. It should be at one of the city election sites as it looks like it will be, however, I dont remember that happening before. Maybe all the good ole boys are dying off and we can expect a little more transparency.
Is the 1984 jurisdiction map on the WCID website? Of course not. You're going to have show your ID or water bill so they can manually check if you reside within the 1984 limits. Again, they have traditionally made this as difficult as possible in order to discourage input and change. People need to vote to add Dick Young so we can hopefully get some accountability and Whitis type developers cant indirectly control the water supply through their cronies on the board

TexaSoldier

"On Wednesday, Garrett said the district will hold the election at a “location central to the district” from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 5."
This is the first time I can remember that the WCID election is to be on the same day as city of Killeen elections (May 5th) but maybe I'm wrong. If I remember correctly, the WCID1 elections were every other year usually in April. But then again, I dont think they (WCID directors and influence peddlers) wanted advertised contested elections so why make it easy.
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"...district’s jurisdictional boundaries are the city of Killeen’s 1984 corporate limits"
Hopefully, we can now get some representation on the board that will update the jurisdiction boundaries. It's ridiculous that the WCID jurisdiction boundaries hasnt changed since 1984. The boundaries need to be updated at least every 10 years or so to match the current affected precincts so all someone has to do is show their voter registration card and the precinct they live in.
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"Garrett said information on the election would be posted 21 days before the election on the outside of the district’s main office at 201 S. 39th St."
One of the things that is said most often at different political forums is "transparency" and, yet, the WCID seems to do everything it can to keep things quiet. All you have to do is go to their main website page to see what little information is on it.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
Copy: “I’m very interested in serving, and it’s a very important part of our city’s future,” Young said. “I want to make sure the citizens have an adequate supply of clean water and no one takes our water away from us.” End of copy.
I was very pleased to see that both Mr. Young and Mr Clark were informed of the opening of the opportunity to serve on the ' Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 board of directors.' And I further don't see the correlation for all of the various different water control districts. So I am suggesting that there be a clarification discussion as 'which water control districts have control of Killeen's and it's water rights including the, I'll call it the 'misadventure of water control in the city of Killeen, in the county of Bell, and in the State of Texas'. Am I not correct in the in the assumption of the formation of Water Control District No. 2 which has as it's directorship and under the discretion of The Whitis Corporation, and as such, is continuing to function with the legal arm of that corporation in the fight for the water rights that were presented to the city of Georgetown and not the city of Killeen???? It is my understanding that this Water Control District, regardless of number, has the sole authority to operate as a water control district, and as such can and does 'force' the city's involved to set the water charge rates, and forces the city's involved in such arrangement, to set the bond price, in the case of a new water plant, the cost for all design, engineering, and construction up with subsequent infrastructure and all of it's subsequent laying of piping up to the inlet flow meters, and to the commissioning of this new facility, is all under the ownership of this Water Control District. Nothing but the payment of charges for the water used is credited to the city, or to the citizens. So that is in direct contrast to water that is used in the city of Killeen because 'they have no part in the ownership of a Water Control District'.
Copy: 'Young said the district did not accept Clark’s filing due to him not residing or owning property within the district’s jurisdiction. District manager Ricky Garrett said two directors seats held by Allen Cloud and Mike Miller are up for election.' End of copy.
Now that poses the question: 'who can serve in this city and in this county'???? Recently it was stated by the city attorney's office that persons who did not reside in the city of Killeen could in fact take part of the city's functions, but that does not equate to 'The Water Control District' who has said that 'it is a requirement that the individual be a resident of Killeen. Somehow, 'that does not compute'.
Copy: 'On Wednesday, Garrett said the district will hold the election at a “location central to the district” from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 5.' End of copy.
You mean to tell me that a multi-million dollar 'Water Control District' cannot define exactly where this election is to conducted????
Copy: 'Garrett said he believed the location for the election would be the Killeen Community Center at 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., and the district’s jurisdictional boundaries are the city of Killeen’s 1984 corporate limits.'
Continuation of copy: 'Garrett said information on the election would be posted 21 days before the election on the outside of the district’s main office at 201 S. 39th St.' End of copy.
I must say that to designate 'the 1984 corporate city limits' is or can be misleading in that, 1: most people do not know what the boundaries of this city were in 1984, so to state that is what I consider a misnomer which can be misconstrued. In my opinion, the city limits should be construed as the boundary that establishes the official city of Killeen, no more, no less.
As I made an attempt to verify the boundary that establishes the year, 1984, and find that this information is not readily available and consequently it is my opinion that this 'notice of election' should be a more readily available location other than 201 S. 39th St. Call it 'ease of egress of the citizen who is a citizen of Killeen and eligible to vote'.
In as much, I call your attention to the following:
Copy: 'The district said in January 2016 that only Killeen residents could vote in a board of directors election, but the district did not specify which Killeen voters were included in the district’s jurisdiction. Although the district supplies water to other municipalities such as Copperas Cove, Harker Heights and Belton, residents of those communities do not vote in the district’s elections.' End of copy.
It appears that some 'sleight of hand' is upon us.
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 4.58 % who voted.

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