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Austwell prepares to withdraw from drainage district
by Tim Delaney
Jun 16, 2014 | 68 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUSTWELL – City council members tabled a move to proceed leaving Refugio County Drainage District No. 1 on Monday night, June 9, so that all of the council would be present for moving forward.

Mayor David Cann and Councilwoman Mary Canales were present. Councilwoman Nadine Garner was out of town.

An interlocal agreement is at the heart of the dispute. The Austwell City County interprets the agreement to say the drainage district would maintain all of its ditches while the drainage district contends only three ditches under an earlier version is what the agreement refers to.

Austwell City Attorney Hal George said he would not feel embarrassed to argue that “all of the ditches” means all of the public ditches in Austwell and not some.

However, Cann and Dwight Mutschler, who acts as an intermediary for the city, both agreed the drainage district has not done any work in eight years except for a little weeks ago after Mutschler visited the district’s meeting.

“(They) were there for two weeks, Then all of a sudden it stopped,” Mutschler said.

“I am here to say, it would be to our benefit that we have an opportunity – the landowners in Austwell – to withdraw from the district,” he said.

Mutschler suggested that the tax property owners pay to the drainage district would be used to contract for ditches to be maintained.

George said Austwell should not be obligated to any indebtedness to the district to proceed with withdrawing from the district.

He also said the city should seek property owners’s signatures to petition for withdrawal.

He said Austwell or the drainage district has the option to withdraw from the interlocal agreement. A 45-day waiting period begins after notification of withdrawing from the interlocal agreement.

But the council agreed to wait until all of its members were present to proceed.

In other business, the council approved the purchase of 125 T-shirts commemorating the town’s anniversary.

A logo was approved that says, “All is well in Austwell.”

The T-shirts will be on sale at City Hall and funds from the sales go into the park account.

Also, Austwell Volunteer Fire Department representative Donnie Denton announced the Austwell annual Fourth of July festivities will be June 28 and feature a fish fry, live auction, dance and fireworks.

Cann announced that Refugio County Commissioner Rod Bernal’s Precinct 4 crew would be working on McDowell Street next week.

Cann also warned residence of the town’s animal ordinance that provides for two dogs and two cats for residence.

“There’s a rooster running around town that no one seems to know who it belongs to. It’s against our ordinance because of our water wells,” Cann said.

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