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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
June 5, 2003     Hays Free Press
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June 5, 2003

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June 5, 2003 Letters to the Editor Page 5 I BY DANIEL MICHAEL Staff Writer UDA-The Buda City Council voted to expand the city's wastewater plant during Tuesday's regular meeting. The expanded waste water system will have the capacity to take in 600,000 gallons of water per day in the initial phase, said Buda City Administrator Bob Mathis. During the next phase of the project, the waste water plant will be able accommodate 950,000 gallons of water per day. In the final phase, it will be able to consume an average of 1.5 million gallons daily, accord- ing to Mathis. The expansion is scheduled to be completed before the year 2006, costing the city $4,688,750 in the initial phase and additional $615,00 in its final phase. "It will be a two-year-plus process to get it done," Mathis said. "We have to send it off for permits and request to the TCEQ (Texas Commission of Environmental Quality)." Mathis said the city also has to get bids from contractors and engineers on the project. The wasterwater plant will primarily serve the west side of IH-35, Mathis said. The east side of IH-35 will be serviced by a regional water plan that is in the process ofbeingdesigned, of land consisting of five "We're looking at ways to parcels near Interstate 35. maximize efficiency," he said. Mathis added that Barton Springs Edwards/Aquifer Conservation District (BS/EACD) President Jim Camp and Interim General Manger Veva McCaig do not see any need for the city to increase its water permit with the district. The City of Buda purchased 200 million gallons of water from the district last fiscal year, but only pumped about 150 mil- lion gallons, according to Camp. In other developments: The council voted unani- mously to annex 123.62 acres Ingnacio Espinoza, Lupe Perez, and Larry Boyd had requested to be annexed into the city during the May 6 and May 20 city council meetings. The city accepted a peti- tion by a small group of landowners to be released from Austin's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) into Buda's ETJ. Mathis said he thinks it's a good opportunity for the city to go ahead an annex this par- ticular property. "It is one more step home rule status," Mathis said. "It will get us there sooner." Collins, House Parliamentarian, from page 1 decent hour. For the last couple months, Collins has routinely arrived at his office at the Texas Legislative Counsel at 7:15 and occassionally arrived home by 10 p.m. Often the clock struck mid- night before Collins could go home. Of course, the legislature really isn't finished for the year. Gov. Rick Perry is likely to call a special leg- islative session to address public school finance. By most estimates, Perry will call for the session in October, which would disturb one of Collins' favorite fall pastimes -- following Hays High School foot- ball. "I ask myself, 'Why is he going to mess up football season?'" Collins said. Well, there's always summer, and Collins figures to have plenty of that. Now that the regular session is finished, Collins can tap into a mountain of compensatory time and turn to other causes and projects that matter to him. Back before he and his wife, Beth, became empty nesters, he could go on school field trips with his children because he built up so much time during the session. Collins also has been extremely: active in efi~: ~tivities and in :, matters concerning the Hays CISD. Collins co-chaired the bond task force that recommended to the school district that it go out for a $105 million school bond in February. A 1973 graduate of the University of Texas and a 1976 graduate of LIT law school, Collins went to work in 1976 as an attorney with the Texas Legislative Council. In 1986, he became rose to General Counsel (the agency's head lawyer), then Collins became the agency's executive director in 2000. Of all the duties involved, none comes with quite the profile of House Parliamentarian, who is responsible for making sure the House operates legally. With Republicans in the majority for the first time since Reconstruction and the legislature's traditional bi-parfi- sanship taking a beating, the legal calls came fast and furious. Two, in particular, especially challenged the rookie parliamentari- an. In March, Rep. Jim Dunnam (D- Waco), raised a point of order in an effort to derail a controversial tort reform bill. Dunnam and Rep. Yvonne Davis (D-Dallas) alleged that Joe Nixon (R-Houston), chair- man of the House Civil Practices Committee, conducted an illegal meeting to tell the committee he planned to roll medical malpractice reform into the tort reform bill. The Republican Speaker, Tom Craddick, took five hours deciding whether or not to sustain the point of order. The process was arduous. Collins advised that the point of order didn't have to be sustained, because the House isn't subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act. "We've taken the position for many years saying the Open Meetings Act doesn't apply to the legislature," Collins said. "The (Texas) Constitution grants authori- ty (to the legislature) to establish its own rules and procedures The Texas legislature can do anything except what is prohibited by the Texas Constitution or the Federal Constitution." Regardless, Craddick agonized over the issue for most of the day, as did Collins. ;'Ultimately, the speaker sus- tained the point of order and sent (the bill) back to committee because the openness of the process is important," Collins said. " This is one of the f'n'st bills on the floor this session. It was also one of the most iml~rtant bills, iYou've got ;a ne~ speaker, a new parliamentatian, you've got an important bill and a difficult point of order." On May 12, Collins came to work for another challenge. In order to keep the Republicans from push- ing through a redistricting of the state's delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, 51 Texas House Democrats exiled in Ardmore, OK. The Speaker locked down the House, prohibiting members from leaving. Meanwhile, the Speaker went about rounding up the defec- tors. It fell to Collins to craft an arrest warrant suitable for bring the Democrats back to the House. In addition, Collins had to design the forms for "hall passes" that would allow representatives to leave the chambers. At the end of the session, the 51 Democrats autographed a copy of the House journal from May 12 and presented it to Collins. "You knew (the session) was going to be difficult with new lead- ership," Collins said. "One of the great things about working with the legislature is that it's a history mak- ing body." In 2003, Collins became a part of that hiktor.y ' " : for the latest in community events, local politics, Hays CISD news and sports, and much more Subscriptions are $24 a year and $42 for two years in Hays and Travis Counties. Additional charges may app!y for outside areas, I'd like to start receiving The Free Press at my home every week. Name: Address- City, State, Zip: Phone: Send Check or Money Order to: The froe Press P.O. Box 339, Buda, TX 78610 $79S/sq.ft. i Now registering Summer Classes! 9' mane, ffa m0, Ages 1 1/2-Adult (Girls & Boys) Beginning-Competition Level (512) 909 N. Loop 4, Buda o Bed Rails o Bed Liners Bug Shields . Bumpers . Grill Guards . Tool Boxes . Tailgate Guards . Headache Racks o Running Boards . Manyother accessories (Cooking and Dance Projects) Kelly True Photographer NEW LOCATION AND NEW NUMBER 119 East Hopkins San Marcos, TX 78666 512-396-9858