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Officials: Misunderstanding leads to confusion over drainage district No. 2 funds

Posted at 8:41 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 21:41:09-05

Rural Nueces county residents are worried that a bond they approved in November won't be used for what it was intended.

The concerns come from Nueces County's Drainage District No. 2, a body which serves the area around Petronila and Robstown.

The problem, though, mostly sounds like a bit of a misunderstanding.

Drainage District No. 2 residents have been waiting for a drainage solution for years, so when they heard the district was turning down a grant for something they approved, there was concern.

“Nothing has been done in the area for the last 20-30 years,” said resident Eddie Aguilera. “You have money now to get shovels in the dirt, get something fixed.”

Aguilera is concerned that Nueces County Drainage District No. 2 is passing on more than a $500,000 from the Texas Water Development Board.

"They need to put this money to work, not give it away,” he said.

He's talking about a grant from the TWDB for a drainage study and master plan. Officials said the concern is understood, but unnecessary.

District voters approved that study as part of a $5.3 million bond issue last November, but that grant was never a done deal.

"No grant has been issued, so there's nothing to give back, as of yet,” said Drainage District No. 2 consultant Joseph Ramirez.

Ramirez said the district wants to pull its application because the same study is part of a proposed regional study involving Nueces, Jim Wells, and Kleberg counties.

"We've seen in plenty of times, if it rains in Jim Wells, we'll see the flooding in Nueces county,” he said. “That's why they've partnered up to do this study.”

"A while back they had some planning done, but then they came back to actually implementing the plan and they had no funds to do anything,” Aguilera said.

Aguilera said the money is now there because voters approved it. He said storms like last weekend’s make parts of rural Nueces county dangerous.

"We would like to see a time in the next couple years where if it does rain, we can at least walk out our yards and the elderly can get to their vehicles,” he said. “This is a concern.”

Ramirez said the district appreciates the concerns of residents such as Aguilera.

He adds that the district has big plans for the bond beyond this study and grant.

"Now that the bond is passed they're working with the engineers, with everybody, to put forth projects, to start turning dirt, before now, before the storm season,” he said.