A bill that would allow Blue Mound to take over a private water system easily passed Tuesday in the Texas Senate Natural Resources Committee.Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, who sponsored the Senate version, said the city deserves fair treatment from Monarch Utilities, the company that operates the water system.“My constituents are being gouged with exorbitant rates that are unjustified and significantly higher than nearby providers,” Nelson said in a statement. “These residents should not be trapped in a monopoly that overcharges them with no way out.”Blue Mound residents pay $141 per month for 5,000 gallons of water, compared with their neighbors in Saginaw, who pay a $45 monthly water bill.Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, sponsored similar legislation in the House, saying he was tired of dealing with Monarch Utilities.If the legislation passes in the Senate and is signed by Gov. Rick Perry, the city of about 2,400 could take over the water system if the courts allow the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to transfer the certificate of convenience and necessity to Blue Mound.The state requires the certificate for operating the water system.Blue Mound initiated eminent domain proceedings against Monarch Utilities, and the court must rule in the city’s favor before the community can own the utility.
Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696 Twitter: @fwstliz