Water Watch

Concerned about residents losing voting rights, Killeen City Council members Shirley Fleming and Steve Harris are holding a forum from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Anderson Chapel, 1002 Jefferis Ave.

Guest speakers will include newly elected board director Richard “Dick” Young, who voted against the proposal, and potentially more speakers. The forum will be in the style of a Q&A, in which residents can ask questions about the water district, Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1.

The regional water district voted in December to quit having elections. The plan was approved 3-1 by the water board but needs state approval, and water board members are trying to garner support from the communities they serve.

The water board, WCID NO. 1, controls drinking water for Killeen, Copperas Cove, Belton, Harker Heights, Fort Hood, Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 3 and 439 Water Supply Corporation.

Its decision affect your pocketbook.

Here's what it can do:

  • It sets water rates for the cities it serves who can pass the charges through to residents and businesses.
  • Levy debt: The district can also levy debt repaid from customers and has the power to tax people.
  • Potentially tax residents

The debt levied by the district is paid back by water ratepayer funds after City Council approval. In 2013, the district approved $50 million for a new water treatment plant, now estimated to cost $46.1 million, being built on Stillhouse Hollow Lake and being repaid by its water users, primarily Killeen residents and businesses.

The water district had its first election in 24 years last May but had not updated its service boundaries since 1984. That meant, when the district finally had an election, only people within a small portion of Killeen could vote.

The district has also been criticized for lack of transparency. Go to bit.ly/KDHmysterious for more on that.

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