News Release from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

May 5, 2009
CONTACT: Mark Langford at 512.463.0119

Senate approves BexarMet bill

The Texas Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill by Sen. Carlos Uresti that would let ratepayers decide the fate of BexarMet.

In calling for an election, Uresti cited a long history of problems at the water utility, including consumer complaints about bad service, mismanagement and financial improprieties.

"We've heard of these troubles for several sessions," Uresti told his Senate colleagues. "We were told that solutions were on the way, but they never came. Now, BexarMet will have to answer to its customers for its very existence."

Senate Bill 2440 provides for an election in November and the appointment of a conservator by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to oversee BexarMet's dissolution, if that is what voters decide.

Uresti said the 29-0 vote showed the frustration felt by lawmakers over BexarMet's behavior and their strong support for holding the utility accountable.

BexarMet's mismanagement was highlighted in a state auditor's report that said the utility did not have adequate controls to ensure that its expenditures were reasonable and necessary. The report also found insufficient internal controls to avoid fraud, theft, waste and abuse, and said BexarMet used flawed methodology to determine rates and fees.

Carlos Uresti is the senator from State Senate District 19 representing over 750,000 residents throughout a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County, including all or part of the following: Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Culberson, Crockett, El Paso, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts and spans two time zones.