Residents Work to Annex Brown County Into Water District
Brown County residents presented a signed petition to the Brown County Water Improvement District #1 board of directors Tuesday looking to expand the district to include all of Brown County. Although district representatives said that they would be open to the action, residents lack an important requirement for the request to move forward. Currently, the BCWID voting district includes most of the city of Brownwood and part of Early but excludes most of the remaining county residents including Lake Brownwood.
Mary Green Engle presented the petition Tuesday with more than 100 signatures asking the board to consider annexing the entire county.
“I represent a group of citizens of Brown County who are petitioning for the right to vote for representation on the board of the Brown County Water Improvement District #1,” Engle said. “It is our understanding that such a petition requires a minimum 50 signatures of property owners and the metes and bounds of the area that we want to include in the water board’s voting district, which is all of Brown County.”
Engle said that although they have a petition with more than double the required signatures, they did not have the metes and bounds of Brown County.
“Our petition does not include the metes and bounds of Brown County because they do not exist,” Engle said. “Therefore, we feel that that requirement is invalid and should be waived.”
Water District General Manager Dennis Spinks said a waiver would not be possible due to state law requirements.
“The reason for that is Brown County Water District is a taxing entity,” Spinks said. “If we were to levy taxes sometime in the future, there would have to be a defined area that we could levy taxes upon and that is defined by a metes and bounds.”
Spinks told Engle that she could take the issue up with the county to secure the metes and bounds for Brown County, but he understood that it was not available and the county was not looking to spend the money for such an expensive endeavor.
“The county’s position on this is that they are not going to provide a metes and bounds for the county,” Spinks said. “Now there is a state statute that requires them to have a metes and bounds, but as long as it is unfunded, they are not required to fulfill that.”
Although the east and west boundaries of the county are surveyed, the north and south are not. Spinks said that to conduct the survey work for metes and bounds for the county would cost around $200,000 and would take about two years to complete. He also said that the boundaries would have to be approved in agreement with the surrounding counties.
“It is very complicated, but state law requires us to have a metes and bounds,” Spinks said.
Spinks suggested that the group could look at annexation for a smaller area than the entire county where metes and bounds could be secured.
“It may not be possible to annex all of Brown County 100%, but your group needs to get (County Surveyor) Don King and see what compromise you can come up with,” Spinks said. “There may be subdivision plats that can be combined to get an area that could be annexed. It may not be 100% of the county, but maybe it could include 100% of the lake residents.
Spinks said that once the metes and bounds of a proposed area could be submitted with the petition and certified by the county survey, the board could move forward with the request.
“Once we have that, I can pretty much guarantee you that the board members will accept it because they have all expressed their desire to follow the wishes of the people, but the people need to understand that they will be accepting the indebtedness of the district as a taxing entity,” Spinks said. “There are no plans on levying a tax against any property at this point.”
In other items address by the BCWID Board Tuesday evening.
*The board approved a new annual rental rate for lot s8 & 8A for Peninsula Subdivision. The new price will be $504 per year
*The board approved a new lease rate for lots 20 & 20A, Peninsula Subdivision.
*The board approved a fireworks show permit on July 7, 2012 for Wild Duck Marina
*The board heard a report from J.P. Nicot with the Bureau of Economic Geology regarding the ongoing feasibility study of alternative water sources for Brown County. The preliminary report indicates that several aquifer run through Brown County at different depths, production rates, and quality. They will continue with their study in issue a final report in a few months.
*The board discussed and accepted public comment regarding the irrigation Lateral 11. The line provides irrigation water to several area residents and is also used to fill a small pond off of Austin Avenue near Mills County State Bank and is adjacent to several homes. District officials state that maintenance cost on the old irrigation line far outweigh the revenue it generates, and they are considering closing the line. Several customers who use the line voiced their opposition. District officials said they are open to public comment on the issue before making a final decision.
*The board discussed and accepted public comments regarding implementation of waterfront property owner water contracts and fees. Several waterfront property owners expressed their opposition to contracts and fees for extracting water from the lake for personal household use. The district issued new information in writing on the issue and encouraged property owners to review. The issue will be discussed again at next month’s board meeting.
*The district approved a contract with Freese & Nichols in the amount of $11,080 to update the district’s Drought Contingency Plan and submit to TCEQ for approval.