2011

Scam Alert

If you receive a letter from a Company as listed below, please contact your BBB and your County Attorneyz;
Home Service
 P. O. Box 141274
Austin, Texas 78714-9913
Phone - 1-877-444-7750

Several residents in my area have received a long letter that appears to be tied to Monarch/SWWC and Aqua Texas. As best we can tell this is not true. 
The parent firms of HomeServe USA, Corp. & HomeServe USA Repair Management Corp  are under court orders to cease and desist in Kentucky and Ohio. 

Please do not fall for this and notify the authorities should you receive their letter. This is an attempt to scare you into purchasing a insurance policy that does not pay off. Please share with your neighbors.

Rent the Community Center!

The Wildewood Community has been reserved for Saturday DEC. 10, 2011 (Wedding), and Sunday, DEC. 25, 2011 (Christmas Day Family gathering). The other dates are available for your parties or family events. The cost is $50.00 per day, $50.00 refundable deposit for owners or residents of the community $75.00 for non residents. The key will be available the day before your event. The rental includes, kitchen facilities, 2 restrooms. Chairs, tables, etc. The Center is currently decorated for the Christmas Holidays with table coverings, Christmas tree, etc. To preview, call Dianne Haley 903-574-1883.

Kickapoo Tea Party Meeting Jan 15

The next KTP meeting will the Monday, Jan 15 at the Wildewood Community Center. Open to the Public, bring a guest. You do NOT have to be a member of the KTP to attend the meetings. All are welcome to find out what is going on in this community, state and country.

Community Dinner and Meeting

Start your December celebration with your neighbors!
Bring a dish and join us on Thursday, December 1, 2011
6:30 PM at the Wildewood Community Center.
There will be dinner, short meeting, and fellowship.

If you can make it let June Hitt or Dianne Haley know please. Email us through this website if you have questions.

T.A.M.E.R. UPDATE 11/28/2011

1.   SOAH Docket No. 582-12-0224 & TCEQ Docket No. 2011 -1533-UCR do actually refer to the STM Case (Sale, Transfer & Merger) and not the rate case. Therefore this is the first order specifically pertaining to the STM case.
2.   The October 10th hearing was the preliminary hearing on the rate case and several motions were filed at that time referring to the STM case. However the official hearing on the STM was on November 8th and also at that time the SOAH Judges ordered the rates rolled back to where they were prior to August 1, 2011.
3.    Please note on the front page of the order that several groups were not admitted as parties to the STM case. Some of those have since joined TAMER. Also these parties were admitted on Nov. 8th, not Oct. 10th.
4.    Contrary to the date shown on the order the parties did not receive the order until Wednesday afternoon (late) of Nov. 23rd and this was by e-mail or fax. Mailed copies have not yet been received. 
5.    The SOAH Judges did not throw out the STM Case as we had requested. Instead they took the case based on very weak arguments by the TCEQ. Who Wouldn't Know That. 
6.   In the body of the order they show how you can go on line and review the orders pertaining to this case and the rate case that is in abeyance. However, I have previously sent to you an easier way of checking. 
7.    The Prehearing and Hearing Schedule pertain only to the STM case and not to the rate case. 

Download Attachment Here

T.A.M.E.R. UPDATE 11/09/2011

Pull up a chair, fasten your seat belt, take a deep breath and hang on we have marvelous news tonight. Most of you won't remember, but during the WW II there was a reporter by the name of Walter Winchell who always opened his nightly radio news show with the following phrase: "Good Evening Mr. & Mrs. America and all the ships at sea, there is good news tonight." And that is what we are going to do:

A.  
SOAH HEARING TUESDAY NOVEMBER, 8 2011 - The meeting was scheduled for 10 AM in courtroom 404 of the William P. Clements building on 15th Street in downtown Austin. The room really was not designed to handle the crowd that was there, but thankfully the air conditioning was still working. Don't have an accurate court of how many were there, but they did open an overflow room, well over 100. Additionally they had set up satellite areas in Ft. Worth and San Antonio with both voice and closed circuit TV. This appeared to work well, after a few glitch's. Many thanks to all of you who attended in Austin or the satellite areas.

1.    SOAH Judges Tommy Broyles and Richard Wilfong opened the meeting at 10 AM by outlining what the procedures were going to be and making sure that the various parties to the proceeding were at the front tables where there were microphones were available. There were certainly enough lawyers at the tables. The room was set up as an actual courtroom with the judges and a court reporter elevated above and the various groups at tables below. The audience were to each side of the room and behind the tables and out into the hall. 


After ALJ Broyles finished the procedures portions the meeting was called to order about 10:15 AM. He then outlined that this was a two-part meeting as follows: The first portion would be to address the Oct. 10th preliminary hearing on the Rate Case filed by Monarch/SWWC. The second portion would be to set the Sale, Transfer & Merger (STM) filed by Monarch/SWWC of several other water companies operated under different names, but being merged into Monarch and setting one rate for all. This STM was being contested by TAMER and numerous others as not having been properly filed. ALJ Broyles then notified all parties that the two cases would not be consolidated into one case as Monarch/SWWC had proposed.


2.   As we began the Rate Case portion of the meeting all parties were introduced and several additional parties were named to join in the rate case. I will list all parties at the end of the book. 


3.   Next came the Public Comments section with Elected officials or their staff members being allowed to make statements and enter written letters or papers first. It was really impressive to see the turn-out and the support the ratepayers were receiving from elected officials. Again I will list all who spoke or were there and acknowledged at the end of this. 


After the elected officials and their staff's had spoken it was then opened to the public to speak in Austin, then Ft. Worth & San Antonio. About 35 persons spoke. TAMER individuals did not testify since were being represented by our attorney DAvid Frederick. We would have testified if necessary. We took a break for lunch around 11:30 until about 12:15 and then resumed public testimony. 


4.  A little after 2 PM we go into the real nitty-gritty of why we were there. Let me outline some of the points and then with great fanfare tell you what made this a marvelous day.

    a.  All of the Elected officials had requested that either the rate case be thrown out, the STM case be thrown out of both should happen.
    b.  The Office of Public Interest Council (OPIC) had filed a brief requesting that the rate case be held in abeyance and rates reduced until the STM case was decided.
    c.   TAMER through our attorney David Frederick had filed a brief asking that the rate case be held in abeyance and that the interim rates be established as the rates that were in effect in July 2011 (the old rates). David did an outstanding job of pleading our case.
    d.   The Coalition of Cities had filed for interim rates based on the non-similarity of systems. Did an excellent presentation. 
    e.   Several other smaller groups made presentations and all were variations on what we had proposed.
    f.   Last, but certainly not least Monarch/SWWC through Lambeth Townsend and Mark Zeppa the attorneys made their pleadings. Townsend did all the talking. 

NOW LETS GET TO THE MEAT OF WHAT HAPPENED: Sometime around 3:30PM or a little later the SOAH ALJ's made the following rulings:
1.   The Rate Case is abated. Abated means that discovery, trial or mediation cannot go forward on the rate case until the STM case is resolved.
2.   Because of the abatement the ALJ's did not rule on Monarch's motions to dismiss the STM.
3.   The ALJ's granted our motions to set interim rates. Those interim rates will be the rates you were paying prior to the filing of the rate increase. In other words look at your July bill and those are the rates that will be in place, not those after August 1st. This applies to the base rates, gallonage charges, sewer rates and all other fees. 
4.   The first bill you receive after the meter readings on Nov. 15th will be back at the old rates. This probably will be the December bill. If you do not know what your old rates were please let me know. This applies to the cities also that have final jurisdiction over their rates. Cities like Coffee City will simply go back to the old rates.
5.   No refunds of the overpayments on the new rates since August 1st will be made until the case is finally settled. The ALJ's say they 
cannot issue refunds, only the TCEQ can do that.
6.   Should the STM be thrown out then the entire Rate Case is moot and Monarch/SWWC would have to start over. 
7.   Last but not least the various parties and the ALJ's tried to set up a schedule for the upcoming STM Hearings. No agreement was reached and it was determined that all parties would submit suggested schedules to the ALJ's tomorrow the 10th. A briefing is do on November 18th to hear Monarch/SWWC's motion to dismiss our case concerning the validity of the STM.
8.   In our opinion the STM case will not be dismissed and will go forward. That means that in all likelihood no final decision on the STM case will occur earlier than August of 2012.

9. WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO NOW; We need you to really look at what is being saved in dollars you are now spending for the water and/or sewer bill. With that in mind we (the TAMER Board) are asking you to dig deeper and contribute as follows: Under the rates now imposed my personal water bill is about $50/month more than it was under the old rates. Therefore I plan to contribute at least two months of that saving to TAMER to help defray our legal, expert witnesses and forensic accounts expenses. 

Your bills may be less or more, but without your contributions we cannot finish this case. 


We have won a great victory on November 8th and we must go forward to win the final victory. IT IS UP TO YOU.

PARTIES TO BOTH THE RATE CASE & THE STM CASE
1.   Monarch Utilities I, L.P. - Lambeth Townsend, attorney
2.   TCEQ Rate Case- Stefanie Skogen, attorney
3.    OPIC - Scott Humphrey, attorney
4.    TCEQ STM Case - Brian McLeod, attorney
5.    Coalition of Cities - Jim Boyle, attorney
6.    T.A.M.E.R. - David Frederick, attorney
7.     AC River Creek HOA - John Carlton, attorney
8.    Country Bend HOA & 5 others - Art Smith
9.    City of Bulverde - Patrick Lindner, attorney
10.  Denton Creek Estates & 1 other - Kathy Nielson
11.  City of Oak Point - Art Rodriguez, attorney
12.   Windermere/Hornsby Bend HOA - Clark Thompson
13.   Wynnwood(sp) Haven Estates - Tonya Watson

ELECTED OFFICIALS PRESENT OR REPRESENTED
1.   Susan Nold Representing Senator Watson - letter
2.   Representative John Kuempel - testified in person and gave letter.
3.   Claire Wiley representing Representative Mark Strama - letter
4.   Timothy Head representing Rep. John White
5.    Emily Eppright representing Rep. Lyle Larson
6.    Sara Haynes representing Rep. Larry Phillips
7.    Adrianne Emr & Steven Albright representing Senator Nichols
8.    Jeff Stokes representing Rep. Lance Gooden
9.    Katie Ogden representing Senator Jeff Wentworth
10.  Lara Wendler representing Senator John Whitmire
11.  Ryan Wiseman representing Senator Kevin Eltife
There may have been others there that I failed to see or recognize and apologize if I missed anyone. 

Many thanks to the TAMER Board, the individuals who are constantly working on this and to David Frederick, Nakisha Nathan and the rest of David's firm. We are where we are because of the hard work of many. Also many thanks to the new members. 

T.A.M.E.R. UPDATE 11/01/2011

As most, if not all of you know, next Tuesday November 8th is the combined Rate Case & STM Hearing. The following is data on the hearing:

Date - Tuesday November 8, 2011 (Also Election Day, vote early)

Where - William P. Clements Building
              300 West 15th Street
              Austin
              Courtroom 404 (4th fl)
Time - 10:00 AM

Also there appears to be a video conference to be held at the SOAH San Antonio office. This is located at 10300 Heritage, Suite 250. The phone number there is 210-308-6681.


The meeting on November 8th will be very similar to the Preliminary Meeting held on October 10th. That said it is not imperative that all of you come to this meeting. The meeting room as it now stands is designed to hold somewhere between 50 & 100 people. Hopefully they will have overflow rooms available.


T.A.M.E.R. Board members and our Attorney David Frederick will be there to represent everyone. This time, barring a virus, I will have an e-mail out to everyone on Wednesday the 9th. 


If you do plan to come to the meeting there is a parking garage one block away that charges $12/day for parking. Otherwise street parking is available, but most have meters that have to be fed. 


WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW -  
1.   Continue to be in touch with your State Senators & State Representatives. Although they cannot change the laws prior to 2013 now is the time for us to work with them in drafting laws that will shift the responsibilities to the PUC, reign in the IOU's and make the water/sewer issue consumer friendly.

2.   In order to win this fight we must continue to raise money to pay for our legal fees, expert witnesses and rate specialists. There are several new subdivisions that have already contributed to our funds. However, there are also groups that have not helped at all in the case. Each of those who have not contributed should do so immediately. This will be a long fight and we can only go as far as the money that is donated. 


Please Give Now.

RATE CASE PRELIMINARY HEARING - OCT. 10, 2011

Click for Order PDF

A.  RATE CASE PRELIMINARY HEARING - OCT. 10, 2011 - 
     1.  A large audience of between 250 and 350 people attended the hearing. No final count is yet available, although the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) did ask everyone to fill out a sheet. At some point copies of those sheets may be made available to us. 
     2.  The room was set up so that the SOAH Judges, commonly called ALJ's, were sitting on a platform well above us. Below them were several tables together that had all of the principal attorneys seated facing the the ALJ's. Behind the attorneys the audience was seated.
     3.   For the first hour or so the ALJ's Tommy Broyles & Richard Wilfong outlined the procedure and answered numerous questions from the audience. This was, in my opinion, one of the better run preliminary hearings we have participated in over the years.
     4.  I have attached Order #2 from the ALJ's showing all of the parties that were admitted to the case for your review. 
     5.  From about 11:00 AM until approximately 1:40 PM testimony was taken from several Senators(Deuell, Nichols & Watson) & Representatives offices in the form of letters presented to the ALJ's requesting a suspension of the rates until the STM case had been resolved(more on this later). Also Representative James White of District 12 & Representative Lyle Larson of District 122 testified in person asking for a suspension. After this a lunch break was taken and we were able to talk with many people we had not met before and give them information on TAMER and how the case would proceed. 
     6.   After lunch we reconvened and the TCEQ presented documents to the ALJ's.  Then began the process of the Designation of Parties to the case. We had anticipated that Monarch/SWWC would challenge TAMER's right to be a party and were prepared to present numerous witnesses to show we were representing many ratepayers. Surprisingly the attorneys for Monarch/SWWC agree not to challenge us as a party. A Coalition of Cities represented by attorney Jim Boyle was admitted also. I will not attempt to go through all of the various groups and attorneys that were admitted to the proceeding. However, as you read through Order #2's first two pages you will see that there a lot of parties. A couple of these parties have since contacted TAMER and will be joining with us in the ongoing battle. 

The next big hurdle is the November 8th STM Hearing.  I have had numerous questions as to whether or not we need a large crowd at this hearing and the short answer is NO. Our attorney David Frederick, his staff & members of the TAMER board will handle this next meeting. 

Some have asked how long this case(s) can last and at this point there is no short answer. In all likelihood final settlements will not be made until well into next year. 

B.  PUBLIC HEARING ON OCT.13TH IN DENNISON - State Representative Larry Phillips hosted a public meeting with TCEQ personnel and 3 people for Monarch/SWWC present. Report of the meeting would indicate about 150 ratepayers attended, most if not all are members of TAMER. Many kudos to Representative Phillips for hosting this and running meeting. By separate e-mail tomorrow I will send out a recap of that meeting. 

Many thanks to all the work that Denis Boquist and several others are doing in the Lake Texoma area.

C.  WHAT NEXT -  As soon as I have received a tentative schedule I will let you know. The main thing now is to continue to raise donations. The STM case and the rate case are going forward and we need more funds to stay the course.

Water Battle News Stories

Click the links to get to the news stories.

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/monarch-could-hike-prices-more-than-40-percent

http://www.kvue.com/home/TCEQ-hearing-on-Monarch-water-rate-increase-heats-up-131461538.html

http://www.kvue.com/home/A-proposed-rate-hike-leaves-water-utility-customers-angry--131486708.html

TAMER UPDATE and HEARING NOTICE 9/12/2011

A. NOTICE OF PRELIMINARY HEARING BY SOAH - While we have not seen the official notice of the hearing it is posted on their website and attached you will find a copy. Please note that the meeting is a 10 AM and this will mean a very early rise or a stay in Austin on Sunday night the 9th of October.

Below you will find the location of the Red Oak Ballroom and the PDF links to Notice documents.

Norris Conference Center * Red Oak Ballroom
2525 West Anderson Lane, Suite 365 Austin, TX 78757
Phone: (512) 451-5011 Fax: (512) 451-1444
www.norriscenters.com

Notice of Hearing PDF

Norris Conference Center Info PDF

090711_TAMER_Mtn_for_Interim_Rates PDF

It is very important that we have a huge crowd at this preliminary hearing and get all of the TAMER groups aligned as one. David Frederick and the TAMER Board will be at the hearing early and we will have sign in sheets for everyone to update the information we have. We would suggest that many of your groups look into chartering a bus and thereby lessening the individual driving, plus I do not know anything about parking facilities at this location. We have been told that the auditorium seats about 300 people. In the preliminary hearing in 2007 we had well over 350 people present. We should have more at this meeting.

B. MOTION FILED FOR INTERIM RATES - On September 7, 2011 TAMER filed a motion with ALJ William Newchurch for interim rates. Additionally the Cities of Blue Mound & Plugerville filed resolutions at the same time objecting to the rates and calling into question the STM. The filing and 3 attachments are attached for your review.



A. STATE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS (SOAH) - The following Judges have been assigned to the Preliminary Hearing on the Monarch Rate Case. Primary Judge will be William Newchurch and the Assistant ALJ will be Tommy Broyles. Many of us know Judge Newchurch from the 2007-2008 rate case.

B.  MONARCH'S STM (SALE,TRANSFER & MERGER) APPLICATION PRELIMINARY HEARING DATE - The TCEQ has acted promptly on the STM complaints filed by many and this is a plus for us. Additionally the TCEQ has already sent the information to SOAH and a preliminary hearing date has been set. The following is pertinent information for all.

TCEQ Docket Number - 2011-1533-UCR
SOAH Docket Number - 582-12-0224
Date of Preliminary Hearing - Tuesday 11/8/11 - Election Day - vote early.
Location and Time - We do not at this point have a location or a time. As we receive that information we will let you know.

No determination has been made at this point as to the type and size of crowd we will want or need.

C.  PROTEST PETITIONS -  There are still several groups that have not sent their petitions into TAMER to be forwarded. While we have more than enough signatures for the hearings it will help us going forward to have as many protests as possible. Remember this battle does not stop with the hearings, but is ongoing into the next legislative session. Our legislators do look at numbers. Please get your petitions in this week. Remember Oct. 1st is the deadline for submission of the protests. If you have sent protests in, but did not copy TAMER please send us a copy. 

D.  DONATIONS - I sound like a broken record, but remember we can only go as far as the money you donate will take us. Some groups have been extremely generous and others are lagging behind. Please send you donations is ASAP. 

E,  TAMER BOARD MEETING -  On October 1, 2011 the TAMER Board and our attorney David Frederick will meet at the Wildewood Community Center in Chandler, Texas. We will meet at 11 AM and lunch will be furnished. While this is not a general invitation to all 20k TAMER members we would invite those of you who are leaders in your community to join us. Would suggest that you have the blessing of your board. 

Water Battle News Story

Click link for this story.

http://www.texasobserver.org/forrestforthetrees/privatized-water-suppliers-what-could-go-wrong

Home for Sale

213 Indianola Rd.
Chandler, Texas  75758
903-849-9909

Block 4  Lot 38.
Double wide mobile Home.Very nice.

T.A.M.E.R. UPDATE 7/20/2011

Notice of Public Water Hearing July 28th, 2011

Also, there is a new T.A.M.E.R. website (click here) where you can get information about the water battle and donate money to the fight.

Community Center Rental

The Wildewood Community Center is available for rent for special events or meetings.
The fees are: Wildewood Home Owners  $50.00 per day, Others $75.00 per day
There is a $50.00 deposit, but will be returned if the Center is cleaned and ready for the next event. No alcohol is allowed.

Email newidea2012@yahoo.com to book your special event.
The Community Center features a full kitchen and has plenty of room for family and friends.

New Board Members

An annual meeting, picnic and election was held Saturday, June 4 at the Wildewood Community Center. Your new Board of Directors are: Joe Haley,Danny Harris, Doug Hix, Carolyn Blake, Regina Eli, Peggy Fincher, Charles (Chuck) Sage

The new Board met briefly and chose their officers.  Joe Haley, President, Danny Harris, VP, Peggy Fincher, ST.

We thank those that served their term and for their dedication to the Wildewood Community. Thank you Rosa for serving and thank you Tyersa for stepping in to substitute for a resigning board member.
Your service is appreciated.

T.A.M.E.R. Donations Needed

T.A.M.E.R. (Texans Against Monopolies Excessive Rates) is in need of funding to continue our fight against excessive water/sewer rates. You have saved thousands of dollars over the past few years due to the efforts from T.A.M.E.R. and it is time for every resident to contribute to this fight as we take it to Austin.

Please send $50.00 donations to:

T.A.M.E.R.
P.O. Box 1590
Chandler, TX 75758

T.A.M.E.R. UPDATE 4/12/2011

Click for update Read More...

T.A.M.E.R. UPDATE 3/25/2011

Click for the details. VERY IMPORTANT! Read More...

T.A.M.E.R. UPDATE

Click here for PDF of water utility battle update.

T.A.M.E.R. UPDATE

T.A.M.E.R. – Orville Bevel.

Sunset Advisory Commission has approved to transfer the rate from TCEQ to the PUC. Senator Nichols will sponsor the bill in the Legislature. They hope to get it passed.

There will be a rate increase in January.

Board Change

Frank Ott became the Architectural Chairman at a special meeting in Nov, 2011 and at that meeting the board elected Joe Haley President. Frank subsequently resigned from the board in December.