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2009-11-12

City declines to accept Guilott’s counter proposal

By Judith Pannebaker

After a protracted executive session on Thursday, Nov. 5, Bandera City Council emerged into open session and voted 3-2 not to accept Gay Guilott’s counter-offer to the city “concerning litigation or claims or settlement or possible settlement of litigation or claims.”

Councilmen Binky Archer and Robert Koimn voted in favor of accepting Guilott’s counter-offer and settling any potential lawsuit filed against the city. Possible litigation stems from Guilott’s non-compliance with city ordinances and a possible appeal to District Court.

In prior interviews, Guilott repeatedly stressed she had no problem connecting to the city’s water system, but declined to pay for water - even at a deeply discounted rate - she never intended to use.

When constructing her new office complex, Guilott installed a water harvesting system, which she proposed to use in lieu of hooking up to the city water main. She is, however, connected to the city’s wastewater system. Guilott is using bottled water for potable purposes.

Due to client-attorney confidentiality, the Bandera County Courier could not obtain a copy of Guilott’s counter-offer. However, the last offer from the City of Bandera Attorney Barbara Boulware-Wells of Akers & Boulware-Wells, LLP, tendered to Guilott’s attorney Sue Ayers of Baker Botts, LLP, included:

• a 50 percent reduction in water rate charges to $8.33 per month for water during those months Guilott does not use city water and paying the regular rate of $16.67 for 2,000 gallons of water during those months she uses city water. This stipulation would require installing a control valve on Guilott’s side of the water line, but would place her in control of the months when she used city water. Meter readings would confirm Guilott’s use - or non-use - of city water.

• requiring Guilott to pay the full amount charged for all commercial customers for wastewater - $25 per month.

• giving Guilott an additional one-time credit of $1,000 to her city water-wastewater account, bringing the total to $1,500 the city has credited her account.

• requiring Guilott to have her property connected - at her own expense - to the city’s water system in conformance with the city’s building codes.

• an issuance by the city of a certificate of occupancy - after final review, inspection and approval.

• dismissing all charges currently pending in municipal court against Guilott regarding her non-compliance with city ordinances.

Although Guilott opened her new real estate office near the corner of Highway 16 and Main Street in January 2008, she has never received a certificate of occupancy from the city. Since that time, she has been accruing fines of $200 per day.

At press time, a trial had been set for 9 am, Thursday, Nov. 12, in municipal court to hear the city’s case against Guilott for her on-going non-compliance, according to City Administrator Gene Foerster. Municipal Judge Lynn Holt will preside and presumably Boulware-Wells will represent the city.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the City of Bandera Board of Adjustments decided they lacked the jurisdiction to hear Gay Guilott’s request for a variance to a city ordinance requiring her to connect to city water. The only appeal left to Guilott is in the 216th Judicial District Court.