Dialogue at the monthly meeting of the Greater Texoma Utility Authority Board focused heavily on questions surrounding Proposition 6, a statewide initiative designed to increase funding for water projects. During a discussion of wastewater upgrades in Sherman, Gainesville and elsewhere in Texoma, Board member Clyde Yeatts asked outgoing General Manager Jerry Chapman to expound on the proposition’s probable effects on additional wastewater improvements.

Dialogue at the monthly meeting of the Greater Texoma Utility Authority Board focused heavily on questions surrounding Proposition 6, a statewide initiative designed to increase funding for water projects. During a discussion of wastewater upgrades in Sherman, Gainesville and elsewhere in Texoma, Board member Clyde Yeatts asked outgoing General Manager Jerry Chapman to expound on the proposition’s probable effects on additional wastewater improvements.


"As a public employee, we have to be careful about not trying to campaign for it, but (Prop 6) is a very important issue that all of you will face when you go to the ballot box next month," said Chapman, addressing the Board. "It’s simply taking money from that economic stabilizing fund, … moving it over to the Water Development Board, and allowing it to be loaned out at low interest rates.


"That’s what the Water Development Board will do; they’ll use that for financing water projects and reclaiming wastewater. You might think that’s an easy decision, and it is for everybody west of I-35, because they’re used to being without water."


Chapman explained that the fate of the proposition may come down to geography. He said northeast Texas and the Houston area will likely vote against the measure, meaning the rest of the state would have to offset opposition in those areas.


"It’s not tax money; the people who borrow it will pay it back," said Chapman, explaining the proposition’s financing. "Two billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, but they’re a lot of needs throughout the state."


In other Board business, incoming General Manager Drew Satterwhite, delivering his first manager’s report since taking the job in September, reported that zebra mussel issues have caused a delay in the Lake Texoma Pump Station and Pipeline Improvements Project. Satterwhite explained that two, 6,000-horsepower pumps had to be shipped to Houston for repairs caused by damage the pumps sustained after zebra mussels prevented their timely installation.


The Board approved a change order for the city of Gainesville’s Northwest Water Distribution System Improvements Project. The change order, which increased the cost of the project by about 3 percent, was necessitated by two alignment adjustments and the addition of several unforeseen connections to the new pipeline.


Board members also approved renewals of administrative services contracts between GTUA and the North Texas and Red River groundwater conservation districts. The contracts allow the districts to take advantage of economies of scale by combining their administrative activities with those of the GTUA. "It’s a win-win situation, it appears," said GTUA Board President Donald Skelton.


Finally, the Board voted unanimously to enact a Pledge Agreement of Deposited Public Funds with Bank of Texas. The agreement is part of the paperwork involved with the GTUA’s change of banks. Chapman said the change of banks was initiated after Bank of America decreased its footprint in the area.