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2015-01-29

BCRAGD tweaks policies

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Most of the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District's regular quarterly meeting held Thursday, Jan. 15, was taken up with three enforcement hearings. Those hearings were covered in last week's issue of the Courier.
The rest of the agenda was fairly uneventful.
Staffer Sarah Schlessinger presented an amended interlocal agreement on how to proceed on the Desired Future Conditions Explanatory Report for members of Groundwater Management Area 9. BCRAGD is a member of GMA 9. The DFC report is a legislative requirement.
The amended agreement, approved by the river authority board Thursday, has divided the cost of the report equally among the members of GMA 9. Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District in Kendall Country will handle the pay outs as work is completed and bill each of the other members of GMA 9.
"It was originally going to cost $91,000," said BCRAGD General Manager Dave Mauk, "but we kicked it back and said that's ridiculous. It's an unfunded legislative mandate. So now it's going to cost $60,000."
The interlocal agreement is part of the very early stages of the report, Schlessinger said. "The work hasn't even begun yet."
The explanatory report will explain the basis for the DFCs adopted by the GMA.
The BCRAGD board also reviewed the district's travel, ethics, financial management and public funds policies.
"These policies are required by law," said Mauk, "and it's good to review them annually." The financial management policy had not be reviewed since 1998, Mauk said and recommended several minor changes and updates, which were adopted.
The board also reviewed the district's employee manual and approved a few changes. An employee running a fever is now required to leave the office. Employees now have a comp time alternative to overtime compensation. Mauk also saw the need to update some of the rules governing the use of the district's credit card. For example, employees on out of town trips can no longer use the card to buy film or pay for film processing!
In his quarterly report, Mauk said permits were issued for 18 new wells, the district granted one variance request and dealt with two nuisance complaints.
Staffers have been active the entire quarter in sharing education about water issues with others as well as attending workshops, seminars and meetings to increase their own knowledge.
Mauk was happy to report that cooperating with Lake Medina Conservation Society (LAMCOS), and San Antonio Water Supply (SAWS) has led to a clean up effort on Simmons Road in Lakehills. This perennial illegal dumping site has been a problem area for many years. Toxic materials dumped in the area were likely responsible for contamination of a water well investigated by BCRAGD previously.
"It's a remote area with lots of ravines, so it's been used for illegal dumping for years," said Mauk. "Unfortunately, much of the waste goes into the water courses and eventually ends up in the lake."
The BCRAGD board of directors meets quarterly at the district's office at 440 FM 3240 north of Bandera. Meetings begin at 9 am and the public is welcome to attend. Information about specially called meetings, meeting agendas and various water issues can be found at the district's website.