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LSGCD May 14 Meeting Highlights

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CONROE, TX – The Regular Meeting of the District’s Board of Directors of Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) commenced shortly after 6:00 pm following several short preceding public hearings including the Hearing on Permit and Permit Amendment Applications, the Public Hearing on Amendments to Permits to Establish Total Qualifying Demand Under the District Regulatory Plan, and a Show Cause Hearing on Enforcement Matters.

During the hearing on establishing Total Qualifying Demand (“TQD”), it was explained that the applicant, Aqua Texas Inc. (Woodland Ranch) was a small volume groundwater user whose demand had increased such that they had previously amended their permit to such an allocation that they became a large volume groundwater user (“LVGUs”). It was noted by the District’s General Counsel, Stacey Reese, that the board has not yet approved new rules, nor have they received the final signed order striking the reduction rule for LVGUs and therefore this hearing was necessary under the District’s current rules. The permit holder has been made aware of the upcoming changes to the District’s rules. Action was taken to approve the Interim General Manager’s recommendation to establish TQD for the permit.

 

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The Show Cause Hearing directed permittees to appear before the Board and show cause why the Board should not take further enforcement action against them for failure to remit 2019 water use fees. The Board approved staff to proceed with additional enforcement action, including the ability to file civil suit, in accordance with previous enforcement procedures.

All Board members were present except for Treasurer Jim Spigener. Present were President Webb Melder, VP Harry Hardman, Secretary Stuart Traylor, Director Jon Bouché, Director Jonathan Prykryl and Director Larry Rogers.

There were no public comments made and the minutes from the April 9th meetings were approved.

Bookkeeper Kay Martin shared the financials and net income year to date of $313,957. Jon Watson, CPA with Brooks Watson & Co PLLC presented the fiscal year 2018 audit. He shared that Ms. Martin was extremely thorough and he found no deficiencies in her work. The last several years the District has ended the year in a deficit, but with the settling of the various lawsuits in 2018, the District ended with a net income of $1,563,139.

Bob Harden, District Hydrologist, provided information that the District will continue to thoroughly study the issues of subsidence in Montgomery County based on the feedback from the public at the April Town Hall meetings.

The District approved the draft 2018 Annual Report for print and distribution to the public, with suggested revisions from Interim General Manager, Samantha Reiter.

 

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President Webb Melder suggested the directors consider creating two study groups to allow for additional discussion technical and non-technical draft rules. The suggested study groups would include 3 directors in each group.

The Technical Study Group will consist of President Melder, Secretary Traylor, and Director Bouché. The Non-Technical Study Group will include Vice President Hardman, Director Prykryl, and Director Rogers.

Following discussion at the April 9th meeting regarding consistent messaging on the District’s website and printed material, the Board agreed on a tagline to be used: “Managing nature’s precious resource while protecting property rights, balancing conservation and development, and using the best available science.” The tagline is reflective of the new management plan and Board’s mission. Implementation on printed materials will be forthcoming.

As an ongoing action item for meetings, Director Hardman will continue to update the Board on issues related to GMA 14 and development of desired future conditions related to LSGCD. LSGCD will remain committed to the methodology of the common reservoir to legally and properly manage our water resources. The next meeting of GMA 14 will be held June 26th.

 

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Ms. Reiter then provided her report that included updates on the April Town Hall meetings. She reported The Woodlands location had the highest attendance with voiced concerns about subsidence and the effects it can have on possible flooding, as well as maintaining alternative water supplies. Concerns in East Montgomery County were centered around not renovating regulations, concern of subsidence, and the interim process while rulemaking is underway. The District was asked to be part of their area long-term recovery task force to increase the communication with LSGCD. Ms. Reiter has noted that she has began the process with SWAGIT Productions to equip the board room in order to live stream the District’s meetings and promote further transparency by the District.

Ms. Reese ended the meeting by stating that all motions to dismiss the lawsuit and obtain a final judgment have been filed and she anticipates receipt of the signed final judgment in the near future.

The meeting adjourned at 6:41pm.

More information on meetings, agendas, and minutes may be found at www.LoneStarGCD.org.

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