As many of you know there is an ongoing struggle around water rates in Montgomery County. The Montgomery County water issues have been going on for a long time and much progress has been made to right the wrongs of the past, starting with changing legislation that exempted board members from conflicts of interest laws to allowing democratic elections for the Lone Star Groundwater board that was historically an appointed board. Plaintiffs, in this case, the water providers, have been awarded favorable decisions by the courts 100% of the time, culminating with a recent Texas Supreme Court decision.
Yet, one thing has not changed: water providers have been forced to pay a water tax, imposed by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) through illegal forced contracts for the privilege of pumping their own water.
That ends today.
The legal battles are not over, and there is a lot of work left to do, but Quadvest believes now is the right time to protect customers against further monetary damages inflicted by SJRA.
It is true that Quadvest and others are seeking a refund for our customers due to overcharging and misappropriation of funds by the SJRA that may be in the millions of dollars, but Texas law prevents plaintiffs from obtaining a full refund. So, every month that goes by, a portion of SJRA’s illegal fees can never be recovered from the agency. The effect of this law is to incentivize SJRA to stall, appeal, file new lawsuits, and to drag out the legal process, then simply charge all these costs back to plaintiffs by increasing water fees. Essentially, we are paying the government to fight us.
Recently, after losing at the Texas Supreme Court, SJRA filed a new round of lawsuits, and on Friday, July 10, 2020, SJRA lost again in district court here in Montgomery County but filed an appeal that could take years to resolve.
Therefore, effective immediately, Quadvest will set aside all SJRA fees paid by our customers in a separate account for those fees to be refunded to customers when the final verdict is rendered. In the off chance that Plaintiffs were to lose, customers’ funds will be remitted to SJRA, less refunds the courts find SJRA has overcharged the Plaintiffs.
We appreciate your support over the years, but most of all, we appreciate your patience while we work to resolve the water issue in the best interest of our customers.
Simon Sequeira, CEO