County commissioners looking to join a water authority program decided Tuesday to postpone the final decision for further discussion.
The Texas Legislature created the Lone Star Regional Water Authority in 2011, which acts as a legal entity and serves as a financing mechanism for water or wastewater infrastructure projects. It provides additional assurance of readily available water to residents. Commissioners decided to postpone their decision of whether to join the authority until additional information is obtained.
“The court decided they needed to look into it more to get a better idea of what sort of plans and process they need for the county,” said Laureen Chernow, communications specialist for Hays County.
Hay County Judge Bert Cobb spoke about the importance of preserving water at the meeting. Cobb said joining the organization, or another regional association, will bring connectivity to the people of central Texas.
“It’s really important we participate in a district approach to have a regional answer to the problem,” Cobb said.
The water authority can issue bonds on behalf of member governments but cannot obligate members to act financially without their approval. Each member pays $12,500 a year to sit on the board, according to the court agenda.
If commissioners decide to join the water authority, Hays County would join four other governmental entities that have already done so. These include the Sonterra and Capital Land and Livestock Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs), the City of Jarrell and Williamson County.
Chernow said the water authority gave a presentation to county commissioners last week detailing what the group offers. One week later, citizens were allowed to speak for three minutes about their views on the topic.
Larry Hoffmann, a resident of Spicewood, spoke in favor of joining the authority. Hoffman said water is a complex issue that he has been following for 20 years.
“There is nothing easy about water,” Hoffman said. “It’s a complex issue, but it’s important and in Texas, we are exceeding, rapidly, our consumption of water.”
Hoffman said although joining the authority may be a good idea, it might be too soon.
“I just believe there are so many things to be considered and what you do in one area may affect someone in another area,” Hoffman said.
Jim McNeese, a Hays County resident, is opposed to joining the water authority. McNeese said the county is too large to join such an organization.
“The Lone Star Regional Water Authority is not the answer at this time,” McNeese said. “Hays would be a minority player on the board despite its much larger population and financial capability.”
Cobb said the issue remains important, even if he may never be able to drink the water he is helping to preserve.