City okays law firm for BRA fight

August 17, 2013

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The Granbury City Council voted this week in a specially called meeting to contribute $100,000 to hire the Haynes and Boone law firm to oppose the Brazos River Authority’s request for additional water rights.

The funding is contingent upon equal contributions from the county and the Lake Granbury Waterfront Owners Association and Friends (LGWOA).

The Commissioners Court has already agreed to spend that amount. Members of the LGWOA, as well as other citizens and business owners, were asked to contribute to the cause in a Town Hall meeting last Saturday at the Granbury Resort Conference Center.

Lake Granbury is 7 feet low.

The unanimous vote Tuesday by the City Council is also contingent upon all parties working out agreements for future fee sharing, as well as creating a steering committee to be in communication with Haynes and Boone attorneys.

The council instructed City Attorney Stuart Neal and City Manager Wayne McKethan to “negotiate the role that each party with play,” Neal told the Hood County News.

As yet, the number of people representing each funding entity on the committee has not been determined, Neal said, but Haynes and Boone lawyers have stipulated that it should be an odd number.

Neal said that the committee will be tasked with giving reports to the City Council and Commissioners Court, so that Haynes and Boone lawyers don’t have to make regular trips to Hood County.

In addition to Haynes and Boone, the City Council has determined that the city will continue to be represented by Austin-based water rights attorney Ken Ramirez.

The hiring of the Haynes and Boone law firm is an effort to create an umbrella that will allow various individuals and entities to have “party status” in the BRA permitting process. The permit is pending before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

A preliminary hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearings will be held in Austin on Monday, Aug. 26, to determine who has “party status” in the controversial water rights matter.

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