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Eastland County Water Supply District would like to address some of the claims and accusations made against the District. Starting with the District’s water loss, the District has minimal annual water loss, as do all water treatment facilities. It is the cost of doing business in the water treatment process and to assure we send out the best quality water to our customers. The District’s treatment process is considered state-of-the-art and with this process water loss is kept to a minimum while producing water quality safely above state and federal requirements. We are told by our engineers that our water loss is comparable to other water treatment facilities. The District is permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for the discharge of effluent water from our facility into Colony Creek. Operations specialist from our engineering firm eHT have produced the following water loss data which was reported to Texas Water Development Board in our annual water use report. ECWSD 2023 8.55%, 2022 16.83%, 2021 2.58%, 2020 0.10% 4yr average is 7.01%

In response to the claim that the District has not been giving the cities credit for income received from other parties in figuring water charges per the contract with the cities, that portion of the contract, section 3 page 8, states: The District may sell water to other contracting parties. Consequently, revenues received from other contracting parties shall be treated by the District as a credit to the cities water charges from the District. This section relates to water sales to other contracting parties. The following is the 2024 Cost-of-Water Calculation where you can see not only does the District give credit for other water sales but we also give credit for other income that is not from water sales.

Total Projected Operating Budget: $ 1,959,040.00

Less Expense Offsets:

Lake Lot Lease $(10,000), Eastland Insurance pass through charge $(5280.00), Interest Income $(8,000.00), Bulk Water Sales raw water $(26,000.00), Miscellaneous Income $(15,000.00).

Total Operating Pass Thru Budget $1,894,760.00
Divided by Water Usage 433,883
Total Operating Cost of Water $4.37 per thousand gallons

In past cost-of-water calculation sheets “bulk water sales” was not listed as its own line it was however included in the “Miscellaneous Income” line.

The ECWSD Board of Directors are President Steve Gerdes, Vice President Ken Chapman, Directors: Mark Pipkin, Don Griffin, Terry Slavens, Bobby Adams, Charles Calvert and Chuck Lemaster. The Board consist of four Ranger board members and four Eastland board members. The Board receives $5.00 a meeting not to exceed $180.00 a year, and this amount was set by the original charter and has not been increased. The Board does not receive any other salary, housing, retirement package or any other kind of benefits.

There have been several accusations in regards to the 2023 and 2024 election and how things have not been done correctly. The District Secretary has cleared every action with the Texas Secretary of State Election’s Legal Department, the local election’s office located at the County Courthouse and/or the Criminal District Attorney. Bob Green and David Ahrlett did not run in the 2023 election when their terms expired. According to the Secretary of State not running at the end of your term is giving up your position and a written resignation is not required. The local Elections office and Criminal District Attorney have also confirmed this. Since no one ran in the 2023 election alongside Eastland Director Don Griffin and Ranger Director Bobby Adams the election was canceled. Two vacancies had to be filled. The Secretary of State’s Election’s office stated according to Texas Water Code § 49.105 the District has 60 days to appoint someone to fill those vacancies; which the District complied with. The District has at-large board seats meaning when it comes to elections if three or more wish to run for an Eastland Director term or three or more for a Ranger Director term then all are running for the same two terms. This means the two with the most votes from each city wins the election. With this said, Texas Election Code § 141.066,relating to prohibiting the signing of more than one candidate petition applies to all methods of elections (including at-large elections such as the District’s) unless the District’s Special District Local Laws Code states otherwise, which ours does not. On rejecting an application/petition Secretary of State’s office confirmed that Texas Election Code § 141.032 refers to facial reviews. If during the course of the review one notices duplicate signatures the District is obligated to determine that those signatures are invalid regardless if the petition was challenged or not. Determining if the signatures are registered voters in the city limits of Eastland or Ranger is also part of the review process since the District’s Special District Local Laws Code states a petition must have 50 signatures of registered voters from the respective cities. After the review process, if there are no longer 50 signatures as required due to duplication and/or non-registered voters then the District Secretary may reject the application/petition. The District posts notice of elections in the local newspaper at least once in December of each year. Our Special District Local Laws Code states that the District must post a notice in the paper no later than the 10th day before the date of election. The following are the dates the notice ran in the Eastland County Today newspaper for the last four years. 2021 Election 12/2/20, 2022 Election 12/9/21 & 12/16/21, 2023 Election 12/8/22 & 12/15/22, 2024 Election 12/14/23.

The District has also been accused of having millions in surplus funds. According to the District’s annual audits, the District has had an operating loss in each of the past three years: 2021 operating loss ($174,000), 2022 operating loss ($46,879) and 2023 operating loss ($53,988). The District has several accounts of which nine are restricted by the Texas Water Development Board for the 2012 TWDB Project until the debt service ends in 2044 and 2019 TWDB Project until the debt service ends in 2050. Two accounts as well as two CDs are restricted by the USDA for the 1992 USDA Funded Projects until the debt service ends in 2032. 2012 TWDB restricted accounts are restricted by TWDB and these funds can only be used to pay the debt service or outlays for the 2012 TWDB project. We cannot access any funds for payments without TWDB approval. Once an outlay has been approved by TWDB they contact the bank to transfer the approved amount from one of the 2012 TWDB accounts into our District Revenue account so the District can pay the outlay. 2019 TWDB restricted accounts are restricted by TWDB and these accounts work the same way as the 2012. They can only be used to pay the 2019 TWDB debt service or outlays for the 2019 TWDB project. Process is the same as 2012 TWDB. These accounts are also restricted per bond requirements. TWDB requires restricted revenue to assure the debt service can be paid. USDA 1992 Debt Service Eastland Only and 1992 Debt Service Shared (between Eastland and Ranger) are restricted by United States Department of Agriculture. The two 1992 Debt Service Accounts are for the payments of the debt service only. USDA also requires restricted funds (the 2 CDS) to assure the debt service can be paid.

District Revenue account is used to pay all the expenses for the treatment plant.

The Lake Revenue bank account is funded by collections from the honor boxes at the parks for recreational permits and camping permits. This account is used to pay for the maintenance, repairs etc. for the parks at the Dam and Chockablock. This account is used for the lake only.

The Membrane bank account was setup to reserve funds for the replacement of the membranes (filters) for the plant. Membranes are the filtration system in the water treatment process and have to be replaced at a cost of around a million dollars. The District budgets to reserve $105,000.00 a year to help pay for the replacement of the membranes which is estimated to have to be done every 10 years. This account is not used for any other purpose.

Reserve/Unbudgeted bank account was set up to reserve funds for unexpected events such as the repairs during the emergency intake project which happened in August 2022. Also, for unpredictable issues like pump replacements or major line repairs, repairs that are not budgeted for in our budget under repairs and maintenance. The District was hit hard a few years back when we had two pumps go out and a major repair on the raw water line that was not budgeted for. Since then, this account was opened to help with those kinds of issues and this account is not used for any other purpose.

The Dam Maintenance bank account is for assuring there are funds available to perform any and all maintenance on and around the Dam to stay in compliance with TCEQ Dam safety rules, regulations and FEMA. This account is not used for any other purpose.

The District Board of Directors and Staff work hard to keep cost down and continue to provide the best quality water to both the cities of Eastland and Ranger. In 2023 ECWSD won the Big Country Drinking Water Contest for Best Overall Water at the 54th Annual Texas Water Utilities Association Regional School. ECWSD will continue to our very best to maintain these standards.

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