• Springer hosts

Springer hosts Town Hall

State Senator Drew Springer gave an update on what to expect during the next legislative session in January during a Sept. 12 town hall meeting.

He told a group of about 25 that the state has a $27 billion budget surplus which he said part of should be used to lower maintenance and operation tax rates throughout the state. More funding is also needed for mental health.

There’s more to that than meets they eye, however.

“Ten to 20 percent of inmates or waiting for competency hearings in court right now,” Springer said. “In Wichita Falls, we have 200 beds at a mental health facility, but we’re 300 people short in hiring so we can’t man the beds.”

Springer said increasing the number of people in the mental health industry is important but knowing it will take 4-8 years keeps people out.

Springer said a $250 million bill to bring companies to rural Texas is one he will be behind. He said too many companies are looking at the triangle of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. He said many of those companies that produce computer chips for things such as cars need to be encouraged to come to Texas. Those chips are instrumental in cars and “it shouldn’t take 3-6 months to get one from a dealer.”

Retired teachers are also due an increase in their cost of living allowance as it’s been 16 years since they’ve had one. Springer will be pushing that in the legislature as well.

With the growth expected in this area from people moving west out of the Metroplex, a discussion on groundwater was held. The area has an extreme lack of groundwater with many area lakes and ponds silted to the tune of 4050%, Springer said.

Reservoirs are being considered, two of them in Springer’s district. Unfortunate, Turkey Peak in Palo Pinto County is expected to cost $170 million. Springer has told area leaders to combined their forces and money to get the reservoir built.

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