New information has revealed an additional $3,221.80 that taxpayers in the Tarrant Regional Water District were billed for boxes of goodies given away at elementary schools—and four of the schools are outside the district.

Previously, Texas Scorecard learned that WaterWise boxes—containing shower heads, bathroom faucet valves, and rain/drip gauges—had been given out to students at Benbrook Elementary School. Through an open records request, it was discovered that taxpayers had been billed $21,217.60 for these boxes and that they were distributed to six elementary schools and one intermediate school.

However, not found in the response to the open records request were any invoices for Benbrook Elementary School. Texas Scorecard followed up with the TRWD and received a response saying that “staff did locate an invoice responsive to your request that was inadvertently overlooked.”

Two additional invoices were received for Benbrook and Luella Merrett Elementary Schools to have WaterWise boxes delivered there, for a grand total of $3,221.80. This updates the total to $24,439.40 that taxpayers in TRWD have had to pay for these boxes that were delivered to nine schools.

Furthermore, the TRWD map shows that four of these schools—Snow Heights, Bedford Heights, Della Icenhower, and Benbrook Elementary itself—are outside of the district, meaning that TRWD voters paid for water goodies for those who don’t live within the district.

This waste is more evidence of TRWD’s fiscal irresponsibility with taxpayer dollars—dollars meant to be used for flood control, not real estate development projects or boxes of shower heads and faucet valves.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.