Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2776
By: Wise
Natural Resources


In Texas, nonprofit organizations (organizations)  have helped colonia
residents build their own water and wastewater projects.  The legislature
had endorsed the concept of self-help work in colonias by funding the
bootstrap loan program at the Texas Department of Housing and Community
Affairs and by adopting legislation to allow self-help plumbing projects in
colonias administered through the Texas Natural Resource Conservation
Commission. By building their own  water or wastewater projects, colonia
residents may save up to 40 percent of the cost of a traditional project.
Moreover, organizations may leverage state funds to bring funding sources
into the colonia.  House Bill 2776 creates a colonia self-help program and
creates the colonia self-help account to fund various projects to improve
the condition in colonias. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Water Development Board in
SECTION 1 (Section 15.907, Water Code) of this bill. 


House Bill 2776 amends the Water Code to create the colonia self-help
program (program) and colonia self-help account (account). The bill
provides that the account consists of money directly appropriated to the
Texas Water Development Board (board), money transferred by the board from
any and all sources available, and interest earned on the investment of
money in the account. 

The bill authorizes the account to be used to reimburse eligible nonprofit
organization (organization) engaged in self-help water, wastewater, and
platting projects in the colonias for specified expenses. 
The bill requires the board to award grants directly to the organization
that applies for the grant, sets forth the eligibility requirements for an
organization and establishes the initial application process for financial

The bill requires the board to make a preliminary decision about a grant
award and notify the applicant not later than the 45th day after the date
the initial application for assistance is received. The bill sets forth
procedures for reporting by an organization that receives a favorable
preliminary decision on a grant request. On receipt of the report, and
inspection of the project determined necessary by the board, the board is
required to award a grant to the organization for its expenditures.  The
bill requires the board to adopt rules necessary to administer the program.
The bill requires the program to be co-administered by the office of the
secretary of state until the second anniversary of the date on which the
program begins operations.  


On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect September 1, 2001.