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Neighbors unhappy with Aransas Pass official’s water hookup

Posted: 8:38 PM, Jul 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-18 21:38:42-04

Many Aransas Pass residents are frustrated they can’t get city water.

“It would be nice to have city water to drink instead of the well water we have out here,” said Jeff Haine.

Haine has lived on West Young Ave. for five years.  He says he looked into getting city water when he moved in, but the price was just too high.

“Roughly it was going to be around $6,000-7000 and then there would be a hookup fee,” said Haine.  “And if I had to cross the street it would cost me $1,800, but luckily I was on the right side of the street.”

Haine says the Aransas Pass has promised expanded water service for years.  So imagine his surprise. when the house being built across the street by Fernando Quintanilla, the city’s Public Works Director suddenly had water.

“I don’t think he paid the same price that I would have had to pay to bring it to my house,” said Haine.

Quintanilla’s neighbors are upset because he was easily able to acquire city water, while they’ve been waiting for years.  The Aransas Pass city manager acknowledges the optics are terrible but insists everything was done legally.

City Manager Gary Edwards says he found out about the issue late Tuesday.  After looking into the situation, Edwards discovered Quintanilla paid $700 dollars to have his water turned on.

But he didn’t pay to cross the street.

Edwards says the street fee was waived because Quintanilla was extending a service line rather than a main line, and the road shows wear and tear.

“This is something we’ve done all over town, so the precedent has been set,” said Edwards.  “There are about seven or eight examples on Avenue A, there are four or five examples on Saunders, of where we’ve done that no charge.

That doesn’t sit well with Haine and other neighbors who simply want city water.

“Everybody here has been paying property taxes for years,” said Haine.  “We should all have water down here, not just a city employee.”

Edwards also told KRIS 6 News plans are in place to bring city water to more of Aransas Pass.  Designs for a lift station are being finalized, but the person who owns the land the city wants to build on won’t sell.

Edwards adds the project is already fully funded.

Quintanilla was unavailable for comment because he was in Victoria for training.