A Killeen city councilman is asking the council to challenge an interlocal agreement that effectively puts Georgetown’s city council in charge of water policies that affect residents living in Killeen’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Councilman Terry Clark, whose District 3 abuts part of the impacted area, placed an item on Tuesday’s Killeen City Council workshop agenda asking the council to address the issue.
In September, the Chisholm Trail Special Utility District and the city of Georgetown completed an agreement that transferred the district’s assets and liabilities to Georgetown. The district, headquartered in Florence, serves about 7,300 customers, including about 200 in southwestern Bell County.
The next step in the consolidation process is the transfer of the utility district’s service area through a legal authority called a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity. The CCN must be transferred to the city of Georgetown before Chisholm Trail can be dissolved.
However, the process was put on hold in late December, pending a review by the Public Utilities Commission. Once the PUC notifies the State Office of Administrative Hearings, the hearing process will resume, according to a notice in Chisholm Trail’s February newsletter.
In his memorandum to City Manager Glenn Morrison regarding the agenda posting, Clark argued the city’s elected officials have a duty to protect Killeen’s southwest and southeast growth corridors — both of which would be impacted by the Chisholm Trail-Georgetown merger.
Clark also expressed concerns that a transfer of CCN from the utility district to Georgetown could potentially limit Killeen’s ability to provide water services south of the new Stillhouse Hollow Lake water treatment plant, for which the city agreed to spend $31.4 million to increase its water treatment capacity to 42 million gallons daily.
“Our city must engage in this discussion. I feel it is important enough to be considered our No. 1 priority,” Clark said in his memorandum.
Last year, Bell County Precinct 4 Commissioner John Fisher — one of five Chisholm Trail customers the judge authorized to protest the merger on behalf of the Chisholm Trail Stakeholders group — expressed concern that once Georgetown has its additional water rights, the district would make growth within its extraterritorial jurisdiction a priority, and rural areas south of Killeen would be an afterthought.
Clark noted that Georgetown and Chisholm Trail may take their case to the Legislature in order to secure finalization of the agreement.
As such, Clark recommended the city of Killeen engage its state lobbyists to monitor the issue and apprise the council and staff of future developments.
In his memorandum, Clark noted that several regional groups voiced their opposition to this merger, including the Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District and the Salado Water Supply Corporation.
Clark said he plans to recommend the city develop a plan and establish several goals, including talking to Chisholm Trail customers within the city’s ETJ and participating in future hearings on the CCN transfer.
The Killeen City Council’s workshop session begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the city’s Utilities Collection Department, 201 W. Avenue C.