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Water board greenlights strategic plan

Water board greenlights strategic plan

June 19th, 2019 by Jennifer Middleton in Texarkana News

MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas—The Sulphur River Basin Authority's Board of Directors approved a strategic plan during their regular meeting Tuesday.

The plan, which was not immediately available, pending the signature of Executive Director Meg Shelton, was formed during a special workshop the board held in April. During the session, the board approved a mission statement and determined that one of their goals was to serve as an effective advocate to address the needs of the Sulphur River Basin. In addition, they also set a goal of securing local and diverse funding to ensure effective communication and relations within the basin.

SRBA is required to develop a strategic plan and secure additional funding, as directed by HB 2180, passed during the 85th session of the Texas Legislature. The bill includes directives from the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which recommended the board develop the plan, increase transparency with stakeholders and the media and undergo board training.

Administrator Nancy Rose said that once the plan is signed it would be available on their website, srbatx.org.

Shelton also told the board she, Chairman Chris Spencer, Board Member Wally Kraft and Rose had met with representatives from the Joint Commission for Program Development, the authority's funding source. JCPD is comprised of five water districts in the Dallas Metroplex seeking additional sources of water for their growing populations.

JCPD has funded numerous studies to determine the availability of additional water in the basin.

Shelton said JCPD's representatives expressed interest in continuing the contract with SRBA and that they would work together to modify it to the satisfaction of both parties. SRBA's fiscal year begins in September and the board must have a budget in place by the end of August.

The funding agreement became a point of contention with stakeholders at the beginning of SRBA's 2018-19 fiscal year, as Board Member Kelly Mitchell suggested changes to the contract, but it was still put in place for another year.

It currently states that any new water project developed in the basin would give JCPD 20 percent of the water at no cost.

In other business, SRBA Consultant John Jarvis told the board he had not heard back from Army Corps of Engineers about their decision on the tentatively selected plan to reallocate Wright Patman Lake from flood storage to water supply and potentially raise the water levels in the lake.

He said the assistant secretary of the Army must approve the plan and that their letter requesting a decision remained unanswered.

The board also heard an update on the Clean Rivers Program. Rose said they would hold the annual steering committee meeting at 1:30 p.m. July 18 at Texarkana College.

The next regular meeting will be held at 1 p.m. July 23 at the Mount Pleasant Civic Center, 1800 N. Jefferson Ave., Mount Pleasant, Texas.

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