Magnolia, February 8 – Simon Sequeira, President of Quadvest Water and Sewer Utility, a major private groundwater producer in Montgomery, has thanked Governor Greg Abbott for the Governor’s serious proposals during the 85th Texas Legislature to protect the property rights of landowners in Montgomery County and elsewhere from special purpose district abuses. In a statement on Tuesday exclusive to The Golden Hammer, Sequeira said, “I think the letter from Governor Abbott is timely for the people of Montgomery County for many reasons. It seems like the private property fight that people have waged on many fronts is finally getting attention.”
Quadvest is one of the main plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) in which the Beaumont Court of Appeals ruled unanimously last Thursday, February 2, that the City of Conroe and large groundwater producers may challenge the reasonableness of the regulations promulgated by that supposed conservation district. As The Golden Hammer reported on February 7 (“Texas A&M’s Bush School’s Study Rejects Groundwater Regulation”), the science concerning groundwater in the Gulf Coast Aquifer supports the argument that there will be no groundwater shortage ever at current groundwater usage rates in Montgomery County and the remainder of the Gulf Coast region.
Governor Abbott’s Office explained in a letter to the Texas House of Representatives that “The Governor is proposing legislative actions to better protect property owners when special purpose districts are created or amended…We look forward to working with legislators to pass legislation amended the general law statutes affecting special purpose districts.”
The governor has proposed five legislative changes during the Regular Session of the Texas Legislature:
Proposal #1. Include provisions for any special law legislation to require written notice by mail be provided to all property owners subject to any creation or annexation of any special purpose district at least 30 days, but not more than 90 days, before the legislation is introduced.
Proposal #2. Include provisions in any special law legislation to require that the creation of any district be contingent upon approval by vote or petition signature of a majority of the real property owners in the district according to the most recent certified tax appraisal roll.
Proposal #3. Include provisions in any special law legislation to prohibit the annexation of any property into a district without approval by a majority of the property owners subject to the annexation of any special purpose district.
Proposal #4. Include in any special legislation creating special purpose districts that the boards of directors must meet standards similar to those for general law districts in Chapter 375 of the Texas Local Government Code.
Proposal #5. Include in any special law legislation creating special purpose districts a provision to allow property owners to dissolve a district if a simple majority of property owners vote or petition to do so.
These proposals are improvements but do not go far enough to guard private property rights of Texas citizens from the abuses of special purpose districts.