McAllen Urging Residents to Call Governor Perry Regarding SB978

If you haven't been following an obscure Senate Bill that sparked debate in McAllen then no worries, allow me to fill you in with this blog post from the ever fabulous Kathleen McKinley:

SB978 is local bill which dissolves the Hidalgo County Water Improvement Distrcit #3 and allows the City of McAllen to assume operations. The bill basically eliminates an unnecessary layer of government and removes a statutory flat tax that is being forced on landowners.

Two things strike me as totally unfair. 94% of the district’s funding comes from McAllen taxpayers, yet none of them are able to vote for their board members of the Hidalgo County Water Improvement District. In contrast, the City of McAllen’s Commission and PUB Trustees are all elected into office and their meetings are broadcast on TV and online, their agendas, packets and minutes are also posted online so that our citizens can have an open and honest government. Every time government is not answerable to the people, things like this happen.

The Hidalgo County water district is comprised of McAllen and small part of the city of Hidalgo. What was once, a hundred years ago, a water district to serve agricultural properties, is now obsolete.

The bill received sweeping support, unanimous in the Senate and only 5 nays in the House and is amazingly a pretty conservative bill coming from Democrats in the RGV.  You can tell just by the fact that this bill has united the broad spectrum of pretty liberal voters all the way to Tea Partiers alike.

SB978 has made its way to Governor Perry's desk and the City of McAllen put out this post today:

McAllen Mayor Richard F. Cortez, the McAllen City Commission and the McAllen Public Utility Board are respectfully urging everyone to call Governor Perry’s office and urge him to sign Senate Bill 978! This bill will reduce government and cut taxes.

The Governor is apparently considering a veto of this Bill and will decide today (Friday) whether to sign or veto it, so please call right away. Today (Friday) is the day Governor Perry will decide.

Instructions for calling: Call the Governor at (800) 252-9600. From there, you can either leave a recorded message or press “2” and get an actual person. Just ask the person to urge the Governor to sign Senate Bill 978.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I work for the City of McAllen.  However, before that I was a Governor Rick Perry campaign staff member.  And before both of those I am a McAllen taxpayer.  So yes, this bill is pretty important to me.

Here's a debate that took place sponsored by Futuro McAllen:

Futuro McAllen's Hearing On HCWID 3 from City of McAllen, TX on Vimeo.

UPDATE: Unfortuantely, Governor Perry has vetoed this bill. I hope the HCWID3 will fix their wrongdoings and work to provide McAllen residents an accessible and affordable water supply.

UPDATE June 21, 2011: Governor Perry has requested an audit of the District.