Pritchett Water Supply Corp. voters reject conversion to special utility district
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
Mar 23, 2014 | 2070 views | 2 2 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of the Pritchett Water Supply Corp. on Tuesday night soundly rejected proposals to begin the process of potentially converting the corporation to a special utility district, and to dissolve the corporation, in an election marked by the disqualification of numerous ballots and controversy over the voting instructions which Pritchett WSC mailed to members.

The proposal to convert to a district was defeated, 143-95, or 60-40 percent. A separate proposition to dissolve the corporation, and convey its assets and debt to the proposed new district, lost 146-93 (61-39 percent.)

Had the proposals passed, an application and engineering report would have been filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and, upon its approval of the application, a public election would have been held to allow residents within the proposed district’s boundaries to vote on the conversion.

Pritchett WSC members who had not already cast ballots by mail voted by paper ballot at the corporation’s annual meeting Tuesday evening at the Pritchett Community Center, a meeting which drew about 65 persons other than the corporation’s board members. While the votes were being counted, some members complained that the voting instructions sent in the mail had left several people uncertain on how to submit their votes, and that several ballots had been thrown out.

The confusion apparently stemmed from the fact that the ballot itself was on one sheet of paper, a proxy form was on another, and that both papers had to be returned. Sherry Breedlove complained that “people did not know you had to send both forms back,” and that the instructions were worded in a “very convoluted way.”

She and Lou Hewitt both said several people had called them for help with voting. Mrs. Hewitt said “a lot of people” didn’t understand the instructions, and that she thought about 60 votes had been thrown out.

Corporation General Mgr. Robbie Arrington said an engineer, not the corporation, had prepared the papers sent to members, but he defended their wording, saying “How it can be any plainer? You’ve got to have a proxy and a ballot.”

Pritchett WSC had proposed the conversion, saying in a letter to members from corporation President Tommy Bledsoe that it would save customers money by exempting the organization from paying such taxes “as sales tax, vehicle registation, and other license fees and permits.”

Bledsoe also wrote that a special utility district “has better access to financing for future water system upgrades at much lower interest rates” than the corporation could obtain. His letter said the response from those attending public meetings had been “overwhelmingly positive” to the proposed change, and that the district’s directors and staff “strongly recommend” the membership vote for it.

But opponents of the proposed change ran paid advertising in The Mirror. The change would have meant the corporation was no longer member-owned.
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anonymous
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March 23, 2014
Once again the VOTERS Spoke, we are tired of this control and reckless spending.

Now it is time to vote out the ones that caused this and get Ready for another Gilmer Bond Issue to RAISE OUR TAXES MORE
anonymous
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March 23, 2014
THE TRUTH.... SAME THING WITH THE COMMISSIONERS COURT!