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BCRAGD changes hours

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

In order to better serve the public, the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater Conservation District (BCRAGD) has changed its hours of operation.
"Mondays through Thursdays are our busiest days," General Manager Dave Mauk explained to the district's board at a called meeting held Thursday, Dec. 11. "And Fridays are very quiet and slow."
The board approved the new hours of 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday - Thursday; 7:30 am to 4:30 pm on Friday.
"With this schedule we'll be open 49 hours a week for the public," Mauk said, "with no overtime or extra staff needed." Staffers at BCRAGD work four 10-hour days on a rotating basis.
In other business, the board authorized Mauk to work with the district's lobbyist, Greg Ellis, during the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature on several issues of concern to the district. Those issues include changing the district's election date from May to November, codifying the district's enabling acts, and working on a bed and banks proposal for Bandera County.
Currently, bed and banks permits are required from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for anyone wanting to convey water in a watercourse for subsequent diversion and use. BCRAGD will be looking at the possibility of local control and enforcement.
The board also approved a measure to allow the general manager to employ, manage and commission peace officers in order to enforce district and state rules and laws dealing with illegal dumping. Chapter 49 of the Texas Water Code allows the use of peace officers. The district is using a policy already in use by the Lower Colorado River Authority as a guideline to develop its own policies in this area.
"The officer would be used strictly to enforce river authority issues, like illegal dumping," said Mauk, "not for the enforcement of well violations."
In the announcements portion of the meeting, Mauk reported that the district and Flying L Ranch are still working with the Central Appraisal District to determine the exact amount of property involved in their permits. "They still haven't done the pump test or submitted the water availability report," Mauk said.
The next meeting of the board will be Thursday, Jan. 15.
• In last week's article about the enforcement hearing involving notices of violations issued to licensed well drillers Dean Tinnin, William McPike Jr, and Raul Zavala, this writer said no action was taken on the Zavala NOVs. In fact, the board voted to fine Zavala $6,375. If he pays within 30 days, $3,000 of that fine will be waived by the district.