Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here we are December 28th and I am awaiting my transition back into the private citizen category. Certainly something that I am looking forward to.

While I have had this blog up for sometime I have been somewhat lax at staying current. Due to time constraints and certain rules that Judge's have to serve under I have been limited in time and freedom of speech. These will issues will be resolved December 31, and I am going to try to stay a bit more current with postings in the future.

Many have asked what I am going to be doing in the future. Well, Horticultural Hotline will remain on the air. That is unless they kick me off.

I plan on remaining in Milam County it is my home. I also plan on staying involved in local issues including county government. This blog will be one of the ways that I will attempt to share with readers "real" information on the issues. By "real" I mean non-partisan accurate information that will help the reader make an educated decision on an issue.

I also will be sharing information on the upcoming Legislative Session in Austin. With a 25 billion dollar shortfall facing the state there is a lot of work to be done. There is also a lot of room for misinformation during the session.

Take redistricting. Will Milam County be best served by remaining in a district with an urban county? Will a representative be able to effectively represent a district that has a super majority of the constituents in an urban county? Milam County needs to be aligned with counties with like issues.

There are lot of challenges facing our state and county and as responsible citizens we need to arm ourselves with all the information we can so that we can effect good decisions by our leaders. Seems lately the fanatical groups that are yelling and foaming at the mouth are the only ones making the news. Time the common folks spoke up.

Stay tuned and tell your friends about Inside Milam County...it's a good thing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm Back

Been gone with the campaign and work and just plain busy. However, I do plan on blogging on a regular basis in the the future.

I will continue to blog on Milam County issues and news. Maybe not as deeply inside after December 31st, but still a Milam County resident and interested in all the happenings.

Stay tuned and tell your friends.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Well here I am again. No excuses for not blogging more often. Just busy and lots going on. Budget time for the county. I will be using this site more often to communicate with folks in Milam County that use the net.

There has been a lot in the media lately about the county budget. Some of it actually misinformation. I will try to clarify the reality of county budgeting in this and coming blogs.

One of the "foggy" rumors about the 2011 budget for Milam County is that we will be raising taxes. We are in fact lowering the county tax rate one cent to sixty cents per one hundred dollars of valuation. This coupled with the fact that most valuations decreased for 2011 results in a lower tax bill for the majority of county taxpayers.

The reason that Tax Increase Hearings are being held is that the county will be raising more revenue from ad valorem taxes than it did for the 2010 budget. Not because we are raising the tax rate, but because the Luminant Power Plant Project is now complete, and the full value of the plant is now on the tax roll. Anytime an entity receives more revenue from property taxes they are required by state law to hold Tax Increase Hearings. Even though the increase is a result of increased valuations rather than actually raising the tax rate. Perhaps a better title would be Tax Revenue Increase Hearings.

Many people actually pay a lower county tax bill in 2010. If you have questions about the county budgeting process stay tuned to this blog site, or call my office at 254-697-7000 and I will answer your questions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Budget Woes for Texas Could Mean Unfunded Mandates for Local Government

Lots of talk going on about the financial situation for Texas. Seems as though while fairing better than most other states the recession has still had its effects on the Lone Star State. Last report has us about 18 billion short of what the state will need to operate over the next biennium.

Being an election year I am sure that Governor Rick will be taking advantage of the budget shortfall anyway he can. Note I said taking advantage not credit. Seems to me if he is requesting that all agencies cut budgets by 5% maybe he should take a look at what we taxpayers are paying for his living quarters. $8,900 per month plus utilities. Doesn't this guy have a house?

A five percent cut in his rent will only amount to 445 dollars, meaning we will still be paying 8,455 per month for his rent. A person really has to wonder about leaders that talk about cuts but seem to always find a way to avoid any cuts in their budget. Surely there are some suitable places for rent in the 1,500 to 2,000 range.

So, what about the budget shortfall? I am not real sure that five percent cuts will solve the problem. Cuts plus an increase in revenue for the state is what is needed. Austin already is using dedicated funds, such as the 911 fund, to balance the state budget. Those Stimulus Funds that Rick did not accept also helped balance the last budget.

Maybe it is time that Texas took a real long look at casino gambling. The facts are that casino gambling has helped in each and every state that has legalized the revenue source. The state currently conducts a lottery, which truly is one of the worst forms of gambling there is. Back in the days I think it was referred to as the numbers game.

Point is Texas will be needing more money to balance not only the next budget, but future budgets as well. One way that Austin has balanced budgets in the past without raising any taxes is through unfunded mandates. Texas has managed to keep schools running and take credit for not raising taxes. The truth of the matter is that they simply mandate that local government raise taxes.

Unfunded mandates currently cost local government millions of dollars each year. Instead of stepping up and accepting their responsibilities they simply passed the buck and then took credit for not raising taxes when in fact they were the only reason taxes were raised.

The next Legislative Session begins in January 2011. Redistricting will be a major battle and will detract somewhat from the state's budget woes. The reality for local government is that they must be vigilant and pull together to prevent Austin from passing the buck.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dewberry Festival

Those of you that did not make it to the Dewberry Festival missed a sure enough Central Texas good time. Probably one of the better turnouts that I have seen in quite a while. To think all of this began with Jeff Smitherman's idea to honor the status of Milam County as the Dewberry Capitol of Texas.

Milam County became the Dewberry Capitol of Texas in 1995. Then Representative Dan Kubiak authored and presented House Resolution 11 which was passed on March 30, 1995. The late Gene Smitherman, of KMIL radio, is often given credit for coming up with the idea. However, those of us in the know are sure that it was his co-host Silas Strausburger that presented the idea to Representative Kubiak.

Silas was especially partial to dewberries. Listeners across Central Texas could keep a check on the local dewberry crop progress by tuning into the morning talk show entitled the Breakfast Club. Dewberries were a favorite food for Silas, and he also supplemented his income by selling fresh dewberries to the public. One year a gallon of dewberries that Silas donated to charity sold for 1,700 dollars.

I am proud to have been a part of the very first Dewberry Festival ever held in Milam County. The first Dewberry Festival was held in Cameron's City Park in 1999. The first ever event was the brainchild of Jeff Smitherman. In 2001 the event was combined with the Chamber of Commerce March Fest

One of the big events then and still today is the Dewberry Cook-Off. Jeff Smitherman called me as he was formulating plans and questioned me as to when the dewberries ripened in our area. I informed him that in an average year in Milam County, if there is such a thing, dewberries will be ripening around the first of May, and peak around mid-May.

He then questioned me about the last wekend in April, and I agreed that in some, but very few years, there would be some dewberries ripe during the later part of April. Especially when the last weekend of April fell close to May 1st. For whatever reason he decided the last weekend in April would be the date, and it has continued to be held the last weekend in April.

Now, with all that being said I too am a connoisseur of fine baked dewberry goods. However, the key to truly exquisite results relies on fresh dewberries. That is not to say that one cannot create a great cobbler or pie with frozen dewberries.

Nevertheless, for those of us that look forward to the first cup or two of fresh picked dewberries for that initial cobbler of the year there is no substitute for fresh main ingredients. Time to look at changing the event to the first weekend of May. Might not improve the event, but it will sure improve the chance of having a cobbler made from fresh dewberries. I believe it only fitting that the Dewberry Capitol of Texas have fresh dewberries available during the celebration.

Monday, April 19, 2010

County Roads

Okay, okay, so it has been almost a month since I last posted to my blog. Things have been bit hectic not only in the courthouse, but in the personal life as well. Sometimes it is hard for some folks to realize that elected officials, especially at the local level, are people too.

For those of you that have been keeping up with local happenings through the media you know that one of the recent "issues" for county government has been roads. I have owned property in Milam County since 1969 and while living here off and on since 1969, my family has permanently resided in Milam County since August of 1979.

One of the reasons I decided to locate my family and raise my children here was the people of Milam County. The rural area provides, in my opinion, a much better environment for raising kids. Both of my sons graduated from Yoe High and both grew up on a gravel road.

There were a couple of individuals in court last week complaining about County Road 250. It has been my practice to personally go out and drive the roads that the court receives public comment on just to see what some people think is a "bad road." I drove the entire length of CR 250 and CR 250 Loop on Saturday April 17th.

One individual was complaining about the horrendous condition of the road. I will admit that the Commissioner is in the process of getting the road in shape for seal coating so there is some inconvenience with the oil on the road, but overall I found the road in very good shape. I managed speeds of 30 to 40 miles per hour with no problems. Plenty fast for a gravel road.

Another individual was attempting to blame the condition of the road for an accident one of his family members had. The accident led to the family member receiving a ticket for failure to control speed. If I remember correctly every thing I have ever learned about driving includes the principle that you adjust your speed according to the road conditions.

Their bottom line was that something needed to be down about the road and that it should be done today. I attempted to explain to them that the Judge had no authority to tell or force another elected official to do anything (that is a whole other column), but they did not buy it. Some times the truth is hard for some folks to take.

As a landowner for over 40 years and full time resident for almost 31 years I can attest that the county roads are much improved over what they have been in the past. They are wider, and better maintained today. Granted they are not all paved, but part of country life is the roads, and in Milam County the majority of the roads are gravel.

Progress is being realized with the condition of roads in Milam County. Progress will continue to occur. The reality is that Rome was not built in a day, and 780 plus miles of gravel roads in Milam County will not change over night. As for me and my family that's just fine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Partisan Elections; Where Did They Come From?

During the campaign I have been asked on several occasions why we have to vote by party in the local primary elections. Many individuals have approached me stating that they want to vote for me, but also want to vote for one of the GOP gubernatorial candidates. That's a good question.

How was it decided that school boards and city elections would be non-partisan, yet county government is partisan? By county government being partisan local folks in many counties across the state must choose to vote in the state election or the local election.

I asked why partisan elections started at the county level, and the only answer that I got was that they had to start somewhere. I guess that is a point, but are local county elections a good starting point in this day and time? Seems that this system inhibits voters from casting votes for all candidates they are interested in.

According to Jim Allison partisan elections actually began at the Federal level. To maximize their influence on policy, national leaders organized into the Federal Party (succeeded by the Whigs and now the Republicans) and the Republican Party (succeeded by the Democrats) for the election of 1800.

During the 1800's, the political parties extended their organization and influence into state and local elections by selecting and endorsing candidates through a convention system. In 1905, Texas election laws were changed to require that major party nominees had to be selected by a party primary rather than a party convention.

County and precinct positions were included since the county is an arm of the state. However, municipal and local district elections were allowed to remain "non-partisan." Whether county and precinct candidates should be affiliated with a political party has remained controversial.

For many years in Blanco County all candidates filed as independents so as not to affiliate themselves with any political party. Over the years there have been a number of moves to move the judiciary to non-partisan or appointed positions. Naturally, these proposals have been opposed by both political parties. Since members of the legislature are elected by the partisan system the chances of change are problematic.

Jim Allison serves as General Counsel to the County Judges and County Commissioners Association.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stimulus Funds for Me?

Stimulus funds, for them or against them they are here. Like them or not there are some stimulus funds available to Milam County folks. It is one of those opportunities that some might want to take advantage of.

It goes without saying that we are currently going through some difficult and trying economic times in Texas. Locally we have been spared the depth of the recession that other areas in the nation are experiencing, but there are still many folks feeling the effects of hard times.

During the month of April Texans can receive rebates on qualifying appliances. The appliances include refrigerators, dishwashers and water heaters purchased between April 16th and 25th. The state received 23 million dollars from the U.S Department of Energy to establish the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program.

This is a first of its kind program for Texas. The program will be administered by the Comptroller's State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). There are several "conditions" that applicant for the rebates must meet for eligibility. The first of course is that you need or can afford to purchase a new qualifying appliance.

Participants must be Texas residents. They must purchase an appliance in-store at a Texas retailer and replace an old appliance with a new energy efficient model to receive a mail-in rebate. These rebates can be stacked with other rebates and incentives available from the manufacturer. Purchase might also be eligible for federal tax credits.

Each household is eligible for up to two appliance rebates. However, the rebates must be for different appliances. All old appliances must be disposed of properly. Those participants that recycle their old appliances will receive an additional $75 rebate. The actual rebate for the appliance purchase varies with appliance purchased.

You can also sign up to receive up-to-date information via email, get answers to frequently asked questions and review a list of eligible appliances and the rebate amounts on the Comptroller's SECO Web site at www.secostimulus.org/rebate

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Progress. Just exactly what is progress? Webster's defines progress as an onward or forward movement, a gradual development, especially, the progressive development of humankind. We constantly talk about economic progress and economic development being of prime importance to Milam County. While it is important I often wonder if we do not need to be careful of what we ask for.

Being born in 1951 I personally have seen a lot of progress. Today we have hand held devices that can do more than the first computer that filled several rooms. Cell phones not only allow for mobile voice communication they also email, text, surf the net and take pictures. GPS devices can tell you your exact location within inches, and even tell you when and where to turn.

I grew up without air conditioning, no TV, and radio stations were few and far between. Not sure that we even knew what FM stations were back then. Central air and heat was unheard of, and air conditioning, or refrigerated air was in more cars then homes back then. But we progressed, or did we?

Progress is sort of like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. While technology was supposed to allow us more time for the good life, seems that many folks are chilling in front of the computer today on face book or surfing some internet site thousands of miles away. No doubt that we can communicate more effectively and technology has changed our lives.

Texas is continuing to grow, and some would call this progress. However, the exploding population growth is putting some strains on our infrastructure. Highways are more congested and our air is more polluted. We produce more garbage and use more water. One major area that I feel we have actually regressed in is transportation.

In 1969 when I first came to Milam County a person could easily get to many places now inaccessible unless you have an automobile. Buses stopped in many of the local towns several times each day. East and west bound as well as south and north bound passenger trains traveled through and stopped in Milam County.

Today there are no passenger trains traveling through Milam County and bus stops are a thing of the past. So have we progressed in the area of transportation? Have we helped decrease pollution or decrease traffic on the highways by making mass transportation available? We have actually reduced the number of ways rural folks can get to town.

Progress in mass transportation for the state is something that Austin needs to start thinking about. Personally I believe we are already late in beginning some sort of mass transportation agenda. We have talked about it for years, but have done little.

It is time to move forward in planning for long term development of mass transportation for Texas. I know we like our cars and pickups, but the truth is that there are many of us that today would opt for mass transportation if it was available.

I will not argue that much of the progress we have seen has been good. However, it is time to think about what the results of progress will be and how we can manage some of the negative effects that are sure to be the result of increased population growth. Efficient mass transportation programs are one way we can reduce the detrimental consequences of progress.

Monday, March 1, 2010

House Interim Committee Meetings

Thanks for those of you who have become followers. Be sure to let your friends know that Frank's column is still alive in the cyber-world. It was a big disappointment to me when I learned the local newspapers were not going to be publishing my column during the race. However, they have their reasons and it all deals with equal time for opponents in a contested race. I do plan on being back in print the first or second week of November and at this point plan on continuing this blog.

That being said there is something else that will be back in 2011. It is the Texas Legislature. The 82nd session will be convening in January of 2011. While many folks might believe that the only time our representatives in Austin work is when the legislature is in session they are wrong. A great deal goes on between the sessions at the capital. Right now a number of issues are being studied by interim committees.

Currently there are more than two dozen interim committee charges that are of interest to counties. House committees will organize hearings on these charges and make recommendations for the 82nd session. The House Committee on County affairs will be hearing two charges of interest to counties.

Charge number one is to study the current practices and tools available to counties to manage growth and development. Unlike cities, counties are limited by statute as to what authority they have over controlling growth and development. This issue has been before the legislature before, but little has been accomplished.

Charge number two is related to indigent health care within counties. The committee is charged to study the delivery methods for indigent health care services that emphasize community based care to improve the continuity and quality of care. This charge could include a review of the indigent health care program and look for ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the program.

Number two is one that counties will really have to watch out for. In past sessions the state has tried to mandate payment of county tax dollars that go to support indigent health care locally be paid to the state. Then the state would reallocate those dollars to the counties when health costs were incurred. Not a good plan. Bottom line in my opinion we need to watch out for one of those good ideas from Austin that winds up costing us more local tax dollars.

One interim issue that we should all be interested in is one being studied by the Interim House Committee on Public Safety. They will be taking a look at the driver responsibility program and looking for ways to improve the program. This program was established by the 78th Legislative Session. It is a program that assigns points and surcharges to drivers for offenses of certain traffic laws.

Drivers that are not in compliance with the program may have their driver licenses suspended. The suspension of a driver's license has consequences for the criminal justice system. The program has been under scrutiny since its beginnings primarily because of its extremely low compliance rate. The surcharges that are assessed are simply not being collected at the rate predicted.

As a result of non-payment of surcharges the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been required to establish an indigency program for the Driver Responsibility Program by September 1, 2011. Under this new program DPS will be required to waive all surcharges assessed for a person who is deemed indigent.

There are some 180 issues out there for study by the various interim committees. One especially interesting to me is one before the General Investigating and Ethics Committee. They are charged with the review of the definition of "political advertising" and to determine whether the definition should be expanded to include content contained in blogs and other types of Internet communications. Who knows, depending on the outcome of their study next time I might not be able to blog during the campaign.

Make it a point to let your representatives know what you think. It is never too early to begin lobbying for or against a particular issue. Study up on the interim issues and watch for the results from the committee studies. You can find a listing of all of the issues before interim committees at www.house.state.tx.us/committees/charges/81interim/interim-charges-81st.pdf - 2009-11-19

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Off Year Elections; Could be Time for a Change

Trying to stay on task can sometimes be a difficult job. Making sure that one blogs on a regular basis can also be difficult. My planned schedule is to post a blog every Monday. However, the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes just do not work out. Being sick for about ten days or so, on the campaign trail and my day job just have not left much time for blogging.

This year's "off year" election ballot in the Republican primary includes a number of non-binding resolutions that will be used by the "party" as a method to convey the party's grass roots' opinions to the elected officials. seems as though the issue of property tax reform has been grass roots for a long time, yet those in control have done little.

Ballot proposition #2 continues to push the cap tax and control government growth idea. What the GOP pundits fail to realize is that local government is already capped at eight percent. Any increase above that automatically triggers a rollback election. This eight percent is a reasonable amount that lets local government plan for the future and provide revenue to provide required services as well.

My Mother always told me that we should learn from our mistakes and others' mistakes as well. All one needs to do is take a look at California and see what this cap mentality has done to that state. Proposition 13 capped property taxes statewide in California, and inflation has not kept up with the rising costs of services putting California on the verge of bankruptcy.

I am afraid that redistricting during the 2011 Legislative session will overshadow any real move by the elected officials to make any meaningful changes to the property tax system. Add to the agenda balancing the state budget for the next two years and the folks in Austin will have all they can handle. Redistricting is important, but watching the state balance the budget on the backs of the taxpayers while those in power preach property tax reform is going to be interesting.

Speaking of the budget being balanced, local government is going to have to keep a close watch on our Austin leaders as unfunded mandates are one tool they often use to balance the state budget. Some years ago the state paid for 65% of local education cost and the taxpayers contributed 35%. Today the taxpayer is picking up 65+% and the state the remainder. By the way state redistributes local tax money to help meet their responsibility.

Maybe it is time we quit using the term "off year" election. Every election is important, and this one could well become an "on" year election for the voters if we turn out. It is time to take a look at those in Austin and make a move to change their thinking. It has been said that people do not want to be led from the left, or from the right, or for that matter from the middle. They want to lead themselves. They elect folks to do that for them.

Take a look at who is in Austin and consider their record, not their party. Could be time to vote for someone who still believes in government for the people by the people. With a little effort on our part this could be an "on" year election. Maybe it is time for a wake up call for some of those that proffer to serve at our pleasure.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Water Could Lower Tax Rate

Water is an issue in Milam County and will continue to be an issue in the future. No, I am not referring to the abundance of rain that we have had in recent months, but to the groundwater that lies beneath the southern half of the county.

Since taking office in 1999 water has been an issue, and our water has been in the cross-hairs of water entrepreneurs across the state. That was one of the reasons that the Commissioners Court lobbied during the 2001 legislative session for the creation of the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District.

The district was created to protect our water resources. The board has recently come under fire from some citizens that feel they are not doing their job and conserving our water. This is based on the fact that the board has issued a number of permits that amount to a whole lot of water that could eventually be moved out of the district.

While the district has some control over groundwater within the district state law prohibits the district from preventing the export of groundwater from the district. While they can control the amount based on permitting, they can not totally ban the export of water.

The water issues in the state are very complicated. While we have local groundwater districts we also have regional planning groups. These groups are in charge of working with local to districts to formulate a plan that will manage the aquifers in the state on a regional basis.

The bottom line is that while some folks want all the water to stay in the district it just ain't gonna to happen. So what are some options or plans? Well, if you look at it from a regional basis, by the district permitting now they are actually saving, or dedicating the permitted water to a use. It might be leaving our district, but is is still under the control of the district and the local management plan.

That being said we will be loosing a valuable resource. So is there anything that the county could expect in return? I say yes. The water will be going to areas of the state that will benefit from economic development resulting form the availability of our water. The development will increase their tax base and allow for the lowering of that area's tax rate.

Currently the state has in place a severance tax on oil and gas. I would propose that we define a way to implement the same thing on water for counties. This income from the export of water from a county would then be dedicated, by law, to the reduction of property taxes. I call it the Vowell fee after the gentleman who gave me the idea.  Even though we would be loosing our water we would still be benefiting from the use of our valuable resources.

During the last legislative session I visited with our state representatives about this idea. It was a bit late to get it into the legislative process, but this year it is going to be one of my priorities during the session. I can't tell you exactly what will come out of the process. However, my main goal would be to ease the tax burden on local taxpayers.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sales Tax Declining

Every month the Comptroller's Office sends out figures on sales tax collection across the state. The latest figures for the state were down 1.65 billion dollars for December 2009. That is an 11.6 percent decrease from a year ago. Sales tax revenue declined every month during 2009, except for the month of January.

Milam County sales tax was also down in 2009. During 2008 Milam County received $1,507,607.12 in revenue from sales tax, compared to $1,224,531.97 in 2009. This is a net loss of $283,075.15 in revenue to the county. Revenue that is dedicated to the reduction of ad valorem property taxes.

With the unemployment rate in Texas running 8.3% in December of 2009 it does not bode well for the future of sales tax revenues in Texas. Folks have to have a job to be able to spend so the state, counties and cities can collect the sales tax. No sales no tax.

Milam County will most likely see an increase in sales tax revenue for the months of February and March. Over 1,000 workers are being brought into the county for a shutdown. This will certainly help, but when the shutdown is completed the workers and their paychecks move on.

Bottom line is that unemployment and sales tax revenue are two indicators of the health of the economy. While many pundits say that we are moving into the recovery phase these two indicators do not necessarily agree.

Counties will not be as hard hit as the state. Texas depends on sales tax revenue to fund approximately 57 percent of the biennial budget. Big problem for the state is that what they predicted during the budgeting process in 2009 is off by almost 13% compared to the same time period last year.

In response to this projected shortfall all state agencies have been requested to find 5 percent that can be cut from their total budget. Agencies must reply to the request by February 15th. It is going to be interesting to see exactly what is cut.

The good news is that the counties will not be as severely affected by the decrease in sales tax revenue. Sales tax accounts for far less of a county's overall budget. The bad news is that if the economy does not turn around in the near future the overall economic decline will have an effect on counties across the entire state. If we get to that point it is going to be interesting to see what we cut.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Water has been in the news in Milam County lately. Water is a major issue for all of Texas. As the population of Texas continues to grow water will eventually be one of the limiting factors as just how much growth the state can handle. It will also direct where this growth can occur.

I had the opportunity to spend the New Year's weekend with some friends in Wimberley, Texas. We also visited them earlier this summer and noticed that a majority of the creeks and streams that the area is famous for were dried up. Even the Blanco River was dry.

These spring feed water courses were affected by the drought, but also by the tremendous increase in population in the area. The increased demand for water has put a tremendous stress on the Edwards Aquifer that is the source of the springs that feed these waterways. Which had the most affect is anybody's guess, but you can be assured that an increasing population will continue to place an increased burden on the Edwards.

Most of Milam County is blessed with abundant ground water. The Simsboro Wilcox Aquifer system runs through Texas from the Texarkana area all the way to Laredo. This aquifer system is said to be one of the most abundant sources of groundwater in the state. Its abundance is one of the reasons that many speculators have their sights set on our water.

The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD) was created by legislation in 2001. Leaders from Milam and Burleson Counties saw the need to protect our groundwater for the future and were actively involved in the creation of the district. A ground water district is the only avenue to protect the valuable water resources in our county.

There has been a great deal of discussion recently about the permitting of wells by the Directors of the groundwater district. While there are some that say this is wrong the truth is that it is one way to know what is going on with the aquifer. Another reality is that due to the importance of this aquifer system the state has mandated that it be managed on a regional basis. This will mean that districts within a region will have to come up with a regional management plan.

There is little doubt that the water issue is and will continue to be a major issue for the state. I feel that with the POSGCD working for us our water will be protected. This protection will insure that Milam County has sufficient water for future growth.

One issue with the board that has come to the forefront is the way that directors are appointed. The legislation creating the board does not provide for term limits or any special protocol for the appointment of directors.

Each county appoints five directors, one representing agriculture, one for industry, one for municipalities, one for water systems and one at large member. These directors are appointed by the commissioners court of each county.

During the coming weeks we will be meeting with representatives from POSGCD and Burleson County to discuss the manner in which board members are appointed. It is hoped that some guidelines might be adopted for an application process.