I attended the Regular Meeting of the Groundwater Conservation District on June 8, 2016, and would like to share my observations:
Most of the attendees (estimated around 25), present were individuals who were not in favor of the formation of a groundwater district and wanted answers as to why it was still an issue when it had been soundly voted down in the May 7th election.
The explanation made by the Director was that the topic had until 2019 to be presented again to the public in another election. He and the rest of the Board Members present acknowledged that Aransas County citizens had not been adequately informed of the election or appropriately educated as to why it would be beneficial. It was determined that much work needed to be done before this matter is again sent out to voters, but that it would be presented again within one to two years. There was discussion on having a public workshop sometime in August, though no date was set or suggested.
Commissioner Stiles spoke on why she felt a groundwater district was needed and explained the steps of how it ended up on the ballot. According to Commissioner Stiles, it was a process which included our County Commissioners, County Judge, County Attorney, and State Representative Morrison.
Some of the other questions raised included: how much power will the District have over residents and their water, how will it operate, how will it be funded, how will people be informed of upcoming meetings, informed of another election, etc. Additionally, the question of the legitimacy of the creation of this district was brought up as well as the concern that many view this as simply another form of taxes that will do nothing but go up. None of these questions/concerns were addressed at this time.
From my viewpoint, it is going to take a lot of convincing for Aransas County residents to ever consider this topic with an open mind based on the way it was presented initially. The confidence in our local government has been severely damaged, perhaps irreparably so, when it comes to the topic of creating a Groundwater Conservation District in Aransas County.
- Diane Davis
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