San Benito considers bond issue to fix sewer system

April 4, 2019

SAN BENITO — After months of planning, commissioners last year suddenly voted down a sewer system bond that would have boosted the city’s 72-cent property tax rate by six cents.

Then, city officials began hunting for grant money to fund the project. Now, a bond issue appears to be back on the table.

Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking toward the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s deadline.

In October 2012, the city entered into an agreement with TCEQ to participate in its Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative program following a series of sewage spills near the Arroyo Colorado totaling 49,000 gallons from November 2009 to January 2010.

As part of the program, the agency agreed to waive severe fines and penalties if the city would upgrade its sewer system.

Earlier this week, City Commissioner Carol Lynn Sanchez stressed the urgency of funding the project.

City Manager Manuel De La Rosa stated commissioners could reconsider a bond issue to fund the sewer system upgrade or seek a loan through the Texas Water Development Board.

Mayor Ben Gomez said the city will consider funding options including a bond issue.

Since the state ordered the city to upgrade its sewer system in 2012, he said, past administrations failed to fund the project.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Rick Guerra, who opposed the last year’s proposed bond issue, appears to have second thoughts about funding the sewer system overhaul.