South Texas town, schools continue water fight

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Associated Press

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 31 at 6:32 PM

LA VILLA, Texas (AP) — Negotiations have hit another impasse as a fight over water and sewer service continues between a South Texas town and its school district.

The mayor of La Villa told The Monitor newspaper (http://bit.ly/Lia7fZ ) on Thursday that he expects to reject La Villa Independent School District's latest offer for a contract for water and sewer service.

"I don't think we're going to counteroffer," Mayor Hector Elizondo said. "I think what we're going to do is we're just going to sue them for attorney fees and for full payment. I think that's the route we're going to take."

Students in La Villa are back in school after the city cut off services for three days due to a dispute over the water bill, estimated at $58,000.

The Rio Grande Valley city three years ago approved a service surcharge for each student and staff member in the district. Initially set at $10 per person, the district was able to get a deal for $6 per person and signed an agreement with the city in November 2012.

Then the city raised the surcharge to $14 without the district's approval. Neither side has budged, leading to the city billing the district for back fees and temporarily cutting off services and forcing schools to stay closed for three extra days after winter break.

The school district has offered to pay $10 per person for three years if the city wipes away back payments and allows the district to still pursue legal action.

The city has responded with two offers: one that demands payment of the extra surcharges accrued and another that imposes a higher surcharge on students and staff.

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Information from: The Monitor, http://www.themonitor.com

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