AUSTIN-State Representative Lance Gooden has filed two pieces of pro-consumer water utility legislation in an effort to bring relief to water customers across House District 4. The bills, HB 1456 and HB 1457, were filed to address the excessive rate practices of out-of-state investor-owned water utilities (IOUs) like Monarch Water. "Unlike city water utilities and water supply corporations, these IOUs are not accountable to voters living in areas they serve," stated Rep. Gooden.
Under the current law, a municipality can initiate and contest a rate increase proposed by an IOU on behalf of its citizens. However, ratepayers in an unincorporated area are forced to raise their own funds to fight against a well-funded company for the right to affordable drinking water.
"I believe this is wrong. HB 1456 would level the playing field and allow a county to initiate and intervene in a contested rate case on behalf of its citizens living in an unincorporated area," said Gooden. "I really appreciate Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders for joining me, along with the entire Henderson County Commissioner's Court, in supporting this legislation."
Representative Gooden's second bill addresses the legal expenses incurred by an IOU if its ratepayers contest a proposed rate increase. Under the current law, IOUs are allowed to pass legal expenses onto its ratepayers if the IOU wins a rate case.
"This law only serves to discourage the consumer from contesting a rate increase," said Gooden. "With HB 1457, I'm seeking to reduce the amount an IOU can pass along to its ratepayers."
"For too long these monopolistic companies like Monarch have been fleecing citizens across Texas with exorbitant rates while consistently applying for rate increases," Gooden continued. "These practices are currently allowed under Texas law, and the IOUs would, obviously, like to keep the laws the way they are."
Rep. Gooden acknowledged his legislation will face tough opposition in the House by a well-funded lobby bankrolled by companies like Monarch Water.
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Color run coming to Athens
Have you been seeing those pictures on the internet of people in wild costumes, running through clouds of neon pink, blue, purple, and green and coming out looking like a rainbow?
If you have, you’ve been looking at the hottest thing to hit the walking and running world – the color run. And it’s coming to Athens on March 22 to benefit Hope Springs Water and celebrate International World Water Day.
AISD students honored for reading challenge
To get kids excited about reading and encourage more adults to spend time reading with their children, the National Education Association launched the first NEA's Read Across America day in 1998.
On March 3, NEA's Read Across America marked 17 years of celebrating reading and the birthday of Dr. Seuss.
Athens Independent School District participated in the event, but added a twist to encourage students to read more often.
The minimum standard for living
The average minimum wage worker renting a living space in Henderson County will spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on their home.
The National Low-Income Housing Coalition reports Henderson County renters would have to work 85 hours at minimum wage for a two bedroom apartment. Of the six counties in the 5th Congressional District, Henderson ranks second, behind Dallas, for the most hours required.
Chandler, BMC to settle contract
Since the beginning of the year, Chandler city officials and leaders of the Brownsboro-Murchison-Chandler Youth Foundation have worked to finalize an agreement on use of the facilities at Winchester Park.
County preparing to address roads
With hundreds of miles of pavement to deal with, three Henderson County Road and Bridge Precincts may soon be getting a tool to help them keep track of the tasks involved.
The Henderson County Information Technology Committee discussed on Wednesday whether to acquire Precinct Tracker software and will present its findings to Commissioners Court.
The students have spoken, Brownsboro ISD considering adding a soccer program.
Superintendent Dr. Chris Moran is scheduled to updated the school board on the progress of the program during the meeting on Monday, March 17.
A by-precinct breakdown of Henderson County’s vote on Tuesday shows pockets of support for candidates who came up short in the vote totals.
The 27 boxes in the county delivered 9,908 votes, of which more than half, 5,219, were cast during early balloting. There were 8,869 in the more hotly-contested Republican races and 1,039 Democratic votes.
Missing no more
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department reports the recovery of a boat and a tractor among the $40,000 in stolen property located over the past week.
A true country caterer
It’s not every restaurant that you visit, that while you are eating, you are watching the RFD-TV channel known as “Rural America’s Most Important Network.” The huge wall screen keeps eyes going back and forth from where they are cutting their pork chops, to current information about the profit that can be realized from soy-bean growth on that day.
CASA receives $5,000 from Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric believes in supporting non-profit organizations in the communities where they work and live.
Recently, Steve Ramsey, Location Manager, from Schneider Electric presented a check to CASA’s Resource Development Officer Elvis Allen, as a sponsor of CASA’s annual 5K Race and fundraiser for the upcoming 2014 event.
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