Water hike complaints still flowing

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 1, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

While Judge John Jones may be fielding a few complaints about the Dallas County Water Authority, he said he is pretty pleased with the board.

“I think the wisest thing this board has done is finally – that’s underlined – elected to not hire (a) consultant,” he said. “I think that this board can now move forward and do the things they were appointed to do.”

Jones was referring to the board’s hiring of outside contractors to literally run the water system. The contractor was responsible for all aspects of the system, to management, hiring, firing, paying salaries and making repairs.

Jones said that at one time, a consultant was paid about $60,000 per month to run the system.

Jones couldn’t name the consultant, but was positive about his information.

“I know that’s been an area of concern,” he said.

The Times-Journal was unable to get comment from authority representatives as of presstime.

The board recently voted to increase water rates in the area by about 67 percent. Water bills – according to some residents – have increased 100 to 200 percent.

At a public meeting held last month, the board fielded complaints from about 300 customers in the service area. Most of them felt the rate increase was a bad idea.

Jones said the focus on some of the system’s newest clients – the tenants of Craig Field Industrial Authority – shouldn’t really be the focus of the rate increase, or the job the board is doing.

“You can’t just isolate what’s going on at Craig,” he said.”(Just) because we’ve located seven new industries there; that really has no bearing.”

Jones said that all those industries would be paying the Authority commercial water rates, per the increase.

As far as the increase in rates themselves, Jones said he understood their frustrations.

“I’ve gotten probably about half a dozen calls,” he said. “They need to go to meetings and make themselves heard.”

The next Dallas County Water and Sewer Authority meeting will be held on Nov. 8.