Residents Working to Bring Utility District to Midland County

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY - Water, it's more precious than gold or even oil in West Texas.

"Everybody outside of the city limits is on well water," Dr. Shelton Viney with the Midland County Utility District Committee, said. "We have a lot of wells that only do one or two gallons a minute. We have families that have wells that do 60 to 80 gallons a minute, but the majority of people out in the county are on a marginal water supply."

Viney has worked on creating a district for years. It's a plan that could cost up to $55 million which would mean more taxes.

"Everybody in this county is paying; college tax, hospital tax, county tax and those are all direct investments into the community, but it's an indirect investment for the individual," Viney said. "But everybody in this district who (would) pay a water utility tax would be making a direct investment to their home."

Right now, organizers are working to get enough petition signatures to put the issue on the May ballot.

They say the district would include more than 17,000 people working and living in Midland County.

The areas most in need of fresh water including residents off West County Road 112 would be the first to benefit.

"Some people there, water pressure is already not good or the quality is not well, they know every bit invested to make a difference," Committee Member Susie Hitchcock-Hall, said.

The group also says the district would help increase property values and help jump start development south of Midland.

Even though many support the plan, committee members admit not everybody is behind it.

"We've talked to hundreds of people," Viney said. "Yes some say I don't need any water, but the majority say we need to do this project."

Right now, many people don't know of the plan to bring a utility district to Midland County.

The committee will hold a town hall meeting at the Midland Center to answer questions at 6:30p.m. on Thursday, October 28th.

They will also start collecting petition signatures this Saturday at the following locations:

Reyna's Deli
3100 S. County Road 1210

Cotton Flat Grocery
2800 South County Road 1200

Dollar General
1904 Rankin Highway

Uncle's Convenience Store
250 S. E Street