Thursday, May 26, 2011

Legislation Clears the Way for Hidalgo County Water District to Be Dissolved

May 25, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ricardo Lopez-Guerra
              512-463-0578
Legislation Clears the Way for Hidalgo County Water District to Be Dissolved
AUSTIN -  State Representative Veronica Gonzales (D-McAllen) announces
the passage of SB 978 today which allows the City of McAllen to
dissolve the Hidalgo County Water Improvement District # 3 and save
McAllen's taxpayers millions of dollars while guaranteeing
uninterrupted service.
Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa authored SB 978 and Representative
Gonzales sponsored the bill in the House. Hidalgo County Water
District # 3 was created almost 100 years ago to service agricultural
landowners, but the area, which is primarily McAllen, became urbanized
and the Water District became obsolete.  Only about 13 agricultural
landowners continue receiving irrigation water from the District, with
the city of McAllen constituting 94% of the total revenues taken in by
the District.  Dissolving the District will allow water to be
delivered at the same level but at a much lower cost to the rate
payers.
"I am very happy with the passage of this bill by an overwhelming
majority.  The Water District has outlived its purpose and this major
victory for McAllen will eliminate an unnecessary layer of government,
and will save agricultural landowners and McAllen residents money by
transferring the duties over to the elected Public Utilities Board,"
stated Gonzales.  "This legislation has been brought three sessions
and the third time was the charm.  I commend Senator Hinojosa for his
outstanding work and dedication to this legislation in the Senate.  It
was a privilege working with him to pass this bill through both
chambers and move it on to the Governor for signature."
"This bill, once signed into law, will increase the services McAllen
residents currently receive and make them available at a lower price,
not to mention that having a more secure and efficient source of water
will allow the city to deal with the droughts and hot temperatures
that we continuously experience in South Texas," Senator Juan "Chuy"
Hinojosa said. "I want to thank everyone who supported our efforts -
especially the hard work of Representative Gonzales on getting over a
hundred votes in the Texas House of Representatives."
"On behalf of the citizens of McAllen, I thank Senator Juan "Chuy"
Hinojosa, Representative Veronica Gonzales, our State Legislature and
everyone who supported the passage of SB 978," commented McAllen Mayor
Richard Cortez.  "Once signed by Governor Rick Perry and when SB 978
becomes law, McAllen residents will no longer be burdened with
unnecessary bureaucracy on future growth and development for the City
of McAllen. We believe the McAllen Public Utility can run the District
much more efficiently and assure homeowners and farmers uninterrupted
water service."
The bill was supported by every member of the Hidalgo County
delegation in the Legislature as well as various McAllen business,
economic organizations, landowners and residents.  City leaders must
now hold a public hearing to determine that McAllen meets various
requirements and then adopt an ordinance allowing the city to accept a
transfer of the district's obligations, liabilities, and assets.
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