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Presidio County voters to decide on giving taxing authority to local groundwater district

A view of Cibolo Creek in Shafter, Texas in Feb. 2023.
Travis Bubenik
Marfa Public Radio
A view of Cibolo Creek in Shafter, Texas in Feb. 2023.

In Presidio County, voters are set to decide whether or not the local groundwater conservation district should be given taxing authority for the first time.

Currently, the county itself collects taxes for protecting groundwater and then funds the district from the county budget.

But Trey Gerfers, the district’s general manager, says that’s not the way it’s supposed to work under state law, so the district is asking voters to approve a ballot initiative dubbed Proposition 1 in the upcoming May 6 election.

“Proposition 1, essentially, is seeking to direct a portion of the taxes that people are already paying to the county, and send them directly to the groundwater district for its important work in protecting the groundwater of Presidio County.”

The district maintains the measure would not lead to more taxes for groundwater management.

Officials say the proposal is meant to ensure the long term viability of the district, which is tasked with managing and protecting the county’s groundwater sources.

Marfa Public Radio recently caught up with Gerfers for more about the ballot initiative.

Early voting runs from April 24 through May 2. Election Day is May 6. Presidio County voters can weigh in on Proposition 1 at the Casner Room of Marfa City Hall and at the Presidio Activity Center.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.