Every summer homeowner across Montgomery County is stunned at the high bills they receive from their water company. Many residents are confused by skyrocketing summer costs and focus their ire on their water company, since they are the ones who sent the bill.
But is your water company really to blame for your high water bill? If you live in Montgomery County, the answer is no, and you should take a close look at the actions of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD)—the entity that has oversized control on the flow of water in our communities.
LSGCD’s mission is to “manage and protect the groundwater resources of Montgomery County and to work with others to ensure a sustainable, high-quality, and cost-effective water supply for current and future needs.” Unfortunately for the residents and business owners of Montgomery County, LSGCD seems to have forgotten the “cost-effective” part of their mission statement, as their actions are having a big impact on prices and your water bill.
In recent years, mismanagement by the LSGCD has caused a nearly two-fold increase in water rates in Montgomery County. LSGCD has had to increase their fees and surcharges on water because they have grossly mismanaged their budget, spending more money year after year than they generate. Some of the wasteful spending includes:
- $561,542 on legal expenses and unnecessary lawsuits, with eight different law firms on the payroll;
- $54,000 on advertising at movie theaters and on TV;
- $12,000 for car allowances;
- 77 meals at an eye-popping average of $76 per meal;
- Conference fees for staff.
Private water companies servicing customers in Montgomery County have lowered their water rates. But the customer’s bill keep rising due to increased fees and charges that are added on top of their water bill from LSGCD.
During the 85th Texas legislative session, Sen. Brandon Creighton and Rep. Will Metcalf passed HB 1982 to hold the unelected board of LSGCD accountable and give Montgomery County residents the ability to elect their own representatives. In May 2017, Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 1982 into law, giving Montgomery County residents the ability to elect their own LSGCD board for the first time ever on November 6, 2018.
This summer when you get your next high water bill, you should go to your calendar and circle in red Tuesday, November 6, 2018. On that date, you, the voters of Montgomery County, can finally fight back and vote for candidates that will bring much need fiscal sanity and reform to the LSGCD.
This is an outside commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to [email protected]