Will SAWS takeover Bexar Met?

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The Bexar Metropolitan Water District is one step closer to having its Board of Directors replaced with the Bexar County Commissioners Court, following action at the State Capitol this month. On April 3, the Texas House of Representatives overwhelming passed House Bill 1565 which allows County Commissioners to take over the troubled water district.

 

County Commissioner for Precinct 3 Lyle Larson and City Councilman for District 9 Kevin Wolff hosted a town hall meeting that same day to inform the homeowners’ association presidents in Stone Oak, Timberwood Park and other communities currently served by Bexar Met about this potential change.

 

Commissioner Larson made it clear the county would turn to the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) to operate the water systems currently served by Bexar Met. “The water issue is as big as the toll issue last summer,” said Larson. “I have received thousands of letters from the Stone Oak and Timberwood Park communities.”

 

While passage of HB 1565 is an important first step, the measure will die without passage of similar legislation in the Texas Senate. Wolff and Larson are urging those Bexar Met customers interested in seeing this change occur to contact State Senators Jeff Wentworth and/or Carlos Uresti to request that a companion bill for HB 1565 be filed immediately in the Senate. The 80th Texas Legislative Session concludes at the end of May, so the clock is ticking if any change is to occur this year, or next. If a law does not pass this session, the next opportunity would be during the 81st Legislative Session in 2009.

 

SAWS’ executive team was on-hand at Wednesday’s meeting and outlined how it could integrate Bexar Met’s existing water lines into its system. They also discussed and answered questions related to water supply and rates.  A handful of communities in the Stone Oak and Timberwood Park areas experienced water outages last summer, and water pressure continues to be a major problem for many Bexar Met customers.

 

Bexar Met officials are not in favor of this legislation. One of its board members did attend the meeting to ask questions, but did not give a presentation on its position related to HB 1565 or its plans for the future.

 

“I’ve waited for something to happen, but all I have gotten is complaints (about Bexar Met),” said Councilman Wolff. “I am in support of this legislation.”

 

To contact Sen. Wentworth, email jeff.wentworth@senate.state.tx.us.  You can write Sen. Ureseti at carlos.uresti@senate.state.tx.us