New Records for Water Company Production

The Windermere Oaks Water Supply Corporation set new water production record in August 2021, producing 2.6 million gallons for our neighborhood.

To produce that much water, extra costs must be incurred, for chemicals, electricity, pump maintenance and repair, man-hours, etc.

The graphic above shows how much water was pumped in the three hottest months of the year, for the last four years.
The graphic above shows the yearly increase or decrease of water produced in the three months of June, July, and August. This year, June and July were mostly the same as 2020, but August 2021 saw a good 11 percent increase over August 2020. Notice how much more was pumped in the Covid years of 2020 and 2021. Possibly seeing the result of more people in the neighborhood — more new homes and more people working from their lakehouse home. Again, more electricity, more chemicals, more man-hours, more maintenance, replacement and repairs required.

Response to Taylor on NextDoor

Hi Taylor. Great questions. I will be happy to answer them. I have tried to be as brief as possible below.

  1. What is the current status of the lawsuits? My understanding is the the courts have ruled in favor of WOWSC numerous times, so can we expect the lawsuits to come to a close soon?

a. Toma Integrity (Ffrench, Dial, Sorgen) Vs. WOWSC — decided in WOWSC favor. Judges denied remedies sought by TOMA. Appeals court agreed in 2019 and Texas Supreme Court agreed in Feb 2020.

b. 48292 — originally named “Double F Hanger Operations LLC, Lawrence R. Ffrench, Jr., Patricia Flunker and Mark A. McDonald v Friendship Homes & Hangars, LLC, and Burnet County Commissioners Court” and then recaptioned and filed as “Rene Ffrench, John Richard Dial, Stuart Bruce Sorgen, and as Representatives for Windermere Oaks Water Supply Corporation v. Friendship Homes & Hangars, LLC, WOWSC, and its Directors William Earnest, Thomas Michael Madden; Dana Martin; Robert Mebane; Patrick Mulligan, Joe Gimenez, Mike Nelson and Dorothy Taylor” — Final motion on the legal merits of the case were filed Wednesday of this week. It is available here. Dial, Ffrench and Sorgen can drop the case any time so that the corporation’s legal defense fees can stop.

c. Two cases filed to protect the company’s attorney-client privileged information (and one of which was settled positively with the Attorney General’s office before intervention by Danny Flunker) — withdrawn. No longer in court. See one final document here Another should happen any time.

d. Public Utility Commission Rate Case — Ratepayer Representatives walked away from mediation in January. An offer from the company for settlement in lower rates was ready but never entertained by ratepayer reps Josie Fuller and Patti Flunker because they dropped out of mediation. Case will continue through July. Ratepayer Reps can re-enter mediation to consider offers of lower rates or drop the case to stop additional legal fees. You can see the document describing discontinuance at this page

  1. How were the rate increases calculated?
    WOWSC used the spreadsheet analysis tool created by the Texas Rural Water Association for use by its hundreds of member water systems across Texas. The same spreadsheet was used by WOWSC in 2017 for a rate hike in 2018. It had been tailored specifically for WOWSC in 2017 by the TRWA, WOWSC board members and the water company manager. All documents about the calculations are available on the Public Utility Commission website here:
  2. With the increase, how long was it originally expected for the increase to remain to pay off the legal fees?

The Board had hoped the 48292 case would end in mid-2020. Mediation was attempted and is legally considered ongoing to this day. The Board wanted to lower rates in September 2020 but could not given the status of the case and mediation. See item 1b above. Also see item 1d because all legal fees incurred in defending the rate increase can be judged as being recoverable in the form of higher fees.

  1. How much longer do you plan for the rate increase to remain in place?
    The Board wants to decrease rates as soon as it responsibly can but the people suing the corporation — Ffrench, Dial, Sorgen in 48292 and Fuller/Flunker in the rate case — hold the cards. Their legal complaints against the company continue despite efforts at and offers of mediation. The rate increase provided about $16,000 per month in additional income to the corporation. The company pays about $20,000 per month to its law firms. (We were able to save the corporation about $24,000 per year by restructuring loans last year.) We also are aggressively pursuing the insurance company for about $300,000 it should pay. Contrary to what WOWSC opponents say, the truth is that the insurance company has NOT denied coverage. It simply has not responded despite a year of our asking for a decision.

All of this is in the president’s report which is available here and will be provided at the annual members meeting as well.

I hope that helps.

Best regards,
Joe Gimenez
PS — Please vote for Gimenez, Nelson and Schaefer. Our accomplishments and plans for WOWSC are available here:

Gimenez, Nelson, Schaefer accomplishments for the neighborhood water company

  • Purchase of new backup generator–kept the power on at the water treatment plant during the February 2021 blizzard when so many local communities were without water.
  • Secured $14,000 LCRA grant—saves 100,000 and soon 200,000 gallons of water each month
  • Refinanced loan lowering interest rate—saves us untold thousands of dollars
  • Secured financing for capital projects
  • Secured pre-approved financing for new clarifier tank (planned future project to meet growing needs of community)
  • Repaired and improved wastewater dispersal fields
  • Completed water intake barge rebuild and repairs
  • New SCADA system (WOWSC Water Treatment Plant computer system)
  • Installed new security system
  • Initiated independent Financial assessment of WOWSC done by New Gen Strategies & Solutions and implemented recommendations Creating a WOWSC Financial Policy
  • Created the WOWSC Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Working with SAPA (Spicewood Airport Pilots Association) to add at their cost, additional waste water dispersal area
  • Continued our access to clean, safe, healthy, and affordable water
  • Completed much of the WOWSC 5 year plan

*These important achievements were accomplished, all while defending your water company against several member-initiated lawsuits/petitions (essentially members suing themselves and you) and dealing with unprecedented numbers of public information requests from the supporters of the lawsuits.

Re-elect Gimenez-Nelson-Shaefer so they can continue working for you! They are honest, ethical, and dedicated volunteers who have a proven record and have worked tirelessly for you. Don’t be fooled by their opponents who are supporters of the lawsuits, have been or are directly involved with the lawsuits, or directly involved with publicly defaming our water supply company and its past and present volunteer board members.  

What’s Next:

  • Roll back water and sewer rates when lawsuits end and litigation costs are paid
  • Implement E-billing and auto-payment
  • New water clarifier to accommodate growth of the community—loan pre-approved
  • Water Treatment Plant recycling project—will save an additional 100,000 gallons per month
  • Mitigation of zebra mussels
  • Purchase a backup generator for the wastewater plant
  • Continue our access to clean, safe, healthy, and affordable water


On or before Saturday, March 27th, 2021

Please don’t let a small group of disgruntled people destroy our beautiful peaceful community with lawsuits (which you are paying for and are the direct cause of the rate increase), falsehoods, twisting of the facts, and their personal vendettas. There is already too much fighting and extreme negativity in our society. Our neighborhood and home should be a respite from these negative forces. Let’s end this madness!

For more information:,,

Information about PIA Requests that Members Need to Know

Water company members have a right to know about the company, including the costs it incurs for facilitating that right to know.

I was elected to the Board on March 9, 2019. Soon after that the water company began receiving a large number of Public Information Act requests, mostly from the plaintiffs suing the water company and their allies in the neighborhood.

The Board has done everything it can to honor these requests in hopes that they might help everyone learn more about our neighborhood water company.

To familiarize yourself with how the company handled this situation as it began to unfold in the spring of 2019, please take a look at meeting minutes here, here, here and here. The corporation had never had to fulfill so many PIA requests in all its years of operation and the Board was on new ground. In 2019, there were 46 requests which required delivery of hundreds of documents. There were approximately 3-5 requests in 2018, and a few in 2017. Before that, it was probably zero. In 2020, the company has received 32 requests thus far.

So recently, at the September 22, 2020, the Public Information Officer (me) and the company’s attorney reported to the Board on the number of requests and some special situations. All requests need some degree of legal review because the corporation has been sued. The company’s lawyers have advised us to retain the company’s rights to attorney-client privileged information contained in their invoices to the WOWSC so that opposing counsel cannot glean litigation strategy from their content.

This matter was discussed in the 9-22-20 Board meeting, particularly with regards to our law firm’s efforts to minimize their charges for response to multiple requests from the same person for the same attorney-client privileged material.

I found the time recently to excerpt that portion of the 9-22 meeting, which you can now view here, on a Zoom-recorded video. I encourage you to spend the 8+ minutes familiarizing yourself with these requests and our attorneys’ efforts to deal with them as inexpensively as possible.

Previously, our handling of this matter was described on NextDoor in this way: “The WOWSC board spent the better half of an hour disparaging me due to my PIA requests.” I hope you will watch the eight-minute discussion and determine for yourself whether the comments were disparaging — or just informative about the costs being incurred.

Please also remember that the continuing kerfuffle over these invoices is also a significant issue in the rate case filing, and you can click here to see a document describing all the legal entanglements these requests are causing — and costing.

Water loss reductions continued in September

Another update on the progress which our water company manager and Corix Utilities have made in reducing the amount of water lost in September compared to water lost in September of last year.

Look for more information on water conservation and water process expansion projects in future posts. Every opportunity is being looked at closely so that our system can keep pace with new demand from 46 new homes/taps in the last few years.

With regard to the benefits of reducing loss, utilities produce water using chemicals, processes, and pumping equipment. So any leaks that take processed water out of the system before reaching paying customers’ homes cause real financial loss to the water company.

As mentioned in my last post on this topic, KXAN has done stories on water loss at the city of Austin’s water company due to their aging pipes and valves. They lost 6.1 billion gallons in 2018 costing Austin’s utility $2.37 million. Our system is aging as well and we occassionaly have valves that fail or tree roots that break pipes.

Congratulations to our water manager and Corix operators for greatly reducing our losses in September.

NextDoor post misstates rate case particulars

More cleanup work here regarding what you may have seen on NextDoor.

The water company lawyers recently asked a judge to “abate” the ratecase to a time when judgements on a previously filed case against the company are final.

The word “Abate” does not mean “dismissed,” which is how the poster on NextDoor interpreted it.

“Halted” or “postponed” might be better synonyms in the context of the water company’s actual request. You be the judge. The water company pleading said: “WOWSC respectfully requests that the Honorable ALJ issue an order granting this motion and abating this proceeding and the procedural schedule set forth in SOAH Order No. 2 until all pending related litigation is final and no longer appealable.” (emphasis added)

Such abatement to a future date would have saved the corporation and our ratepayers money, by deferring the lawyers’ rate case fees to a future date. By opposing this postponement, the ratepayer reps are adding to the company’s legal bills in the near term.

The following link provides the water company’s motion for abatement. It also provides an informative history of the multiple lawsuits which a small group of people have lodged against the water company over the years.

The same poster on NextDoor then asked a rhetorical question, “Why would WOWSC try to halt mediation.”

A mediation had already been set for early October. It had to be postponed due to the need for rulings on these matters, particularly with regard to disclosure of lawyer invoices.

The administrative law judge did not rule against the water company in the matter of disclosure of the invoices which contain attorney-client privileged content. The Texas attorney general’s office agrees that these invoices are privileged.

The Administrative Law Judge in the rate case hopes that a future mediation can bridge the two parties’ concerns. Another mediation is being scheduled.

For reference, here is what the NextDoor post said, in part:

“WOWSC tried to get the rate case abated (dismissed). Late yesterday the PUC judge ruled the case must go to mediation. 1) Why would WOWSC try to halt mediation?”

Another Fiction — $600 bill due to rate increase

Last week another water company hater took a swipe, contending her $600 water bill was due to the rate increase enacted by the Board earlier this year.

$600 indicates that a lot of water was used, but the rate for water consumed did not increase.

Instead, the monthly increase was about $70 and was made to the “Monthly Base Rate.”

The monthly base rate is the amount we all pay regardless of whether we even turn on the water in a given month. The monthly base rate is $156.80. You can view all the rate information here.

As the Board discussed in February, the extra $70 per month adds about $16,000 to the amount of income the water company receives, and was needed for the reasons explained here. A few excerpts:

The amount of increase was determined after analysis performed in consultation with Texas Rural Water Association (TRWA) staff of the WSC’s 2019 operating expenses, which included $169,000 in legal fees, and of the FY2020 budget for WOWSC.

The analysis considered all expenses, specifically taking into account unprecedented legal expenses facing WOWSC. These historically high legal fees have been and will be incurred in large part due to two lawsuits brought against WOWSC by TOMA Integrity, Inc., and by Rene Ffrench, John Richard Dial, and Stuart Bruce Sorgen.

FAQs regarding WOWSC 2020 Rate Increase

We hope the person who had the $600 water bill will find a plumber to see whether they have a leak somewhere. Even a running toilet, with worn-out flapper gasket, can add hundreds of gallons to your usage. Other common water losses are caused by broken pipes due to shifting ground.

Apples, Oranges, Covid-19, Corporations and Governmental Entities

The water company haters continue to confuse people in our neighborhood with the fiction that our water corporation is a governmental entity. It’s not.

On NextDoor last week they were pressuring the water company for in-person meetings. They said in-person meetings are occuring at the Lakeway City Council and Burnet Commissioners’ Court.

The City of Lakeway and Burnet County are governmental organizations which have “sovereign immunity,” which means they can’t easily be sued or held liable.

Our neighborhood non-profit water corporation is not a governmental organization and as such does not enjoy the privileges of “sovereign immunity.” The corporation can be sued (and has been by a small group of people in the neighborhood in the last few years).

Nationwide there are Covid-19 related suits of all sorts being filed against companies. Learn more here, here, here and here. Why do the water company haters want the water company to take the risk?

Liability insurance and general business insurance will not likely cover the water company in the event that someone were to get sick, become grievously harmed, and allege that the they were contaminated at a water company meeting. Even if all the Covid-19 guidelines issued by national, state and county health organizations were followed, a lawsuit could happen.

Were a lawsuit to occur the water company insurance company would not likely even cover litigation related to that suit, which means the water company — and ultimately its members — would have to pay for litigation costs — or settle. That settlement money would also come directly from water customers.

The water company’s open meetings on Zoom have been great and safe. They protect the water company from liability issues in this Covid-19 era. And they continue to be allowed by act of the Governor.

Praying for the victims of scandal mongering in WO

I went to church this morning to pray for our community and for those who have become the victims of the ongoing scandal campaign against our water company. This week was particularly nasty on NextDoor. I see your anger and your discontent and I am sad for you. It must certainly detract from the joy of living in Windermere and divides our community. In particular, John and Rae, I’ve begun praying for you, and I will try to do so daily, like I do for many others out here.

The Catholic Church defines scandal as:

an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. the person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor‘s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual deathScandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”85 

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Respect for the Dignity of Persons

Scandals in Windermere are being created daily by ongoing misrepresentations of truth. Here’s just some of the baseless accusations of what we saw this week on NextDoor:

  • “70 k on deposition training.” Come on. Really? I spent three or four hours with a Lloyd Gosselink attorney in November 2019 learning about depositions. I’ve never been deposed before and I was going to be deposed the following week after serving on the Board for only six months! Training for depositions is standard corporate practice. The deposition would be about events that occured 3-4 years before and about which I had no involvement. I was not on any earlier water company boards. Any volunteer would get the same sort of help from any other organization. The attorney probably charged the water company their hourly rate, like $300 per hour. That’s a lot, no doubt, but remember: no lawsuit, no depositions, no costs. Talk to the plaintiffs. When the water company deposes them, they will ask their lawyer for the same type of training. Standard practice. The water company won’t be paying for that.
  • “The WOWSC board spent the better half of an hour disparaging me due to my PIA requests.” Response 1: It may have felt like half an hour to the person but it wasn’t. The Zoom meeting recording is still being processed, and I will post it when ready, but I am willing to bet the time we spent talking about PIA requests will total 5-8 minutes at most.
  • “The WOWSC board spent the better half of an hour disparaging me due to my PIA requests.” Response 2: The discussion about PIA requests provided transparent information to Board members and ratepayers about the number and costs of PIA requests. Does the person want transparency or not? I guess when it involves them, they don’t.
  • “The Texas Public Information act was enacted to bring transparency to organizations like ours, when there is none.” There have been 29 PIA requests in 2020 alone, following on 46 in 2019. All have been fulfilled, except for those deemed to contain attorney-client privileged information. You can download the report here to see a listing of the PIA requests as presented to the Board.
  • “WOWSC avoiding open meetings” The water company has held 11 open meetings this year. See the agendas here. The POA has held four. Water company members are encouraged to attend by Zoom from the comfort and safety of their house to prevent the spread of Covid. As our agendas say, “This is in full compliance with the Office of the Governor’s March 16, 2020 proclamation temporarily suspending certain open meeting statutes in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic and statewide disaster declaration.” We were glad to see that two members of the POA Board attended by Zoom. One seemed to be really enjoying her wine from the comfort and safety of her beautiful home!
  • “The WOWSC board spent the better half of an hour disparaging me due to my PIA requests.” Response 3: Our transparent open meetings occur for Board members and ratepayers to learn about what is going on with the water corporation. In this case, the water company Board needed to be advised of the mounting costs for responding to requests for unredacted attorney invoices, on three different occasions. This goes back to Oct. 9, 2019 when I read a statement about why the attorneys advised us on certain actions. Volunteer Board members have a high duty to follow the advice of attorneys. Again, please read the statement about these invoices on Page 5 of this document. It explains why they can’t be released due to ongoing lawsuits against the corporation.

The type of rancorous and demeaning comments we are seeing on NextDoor are being caused by this ongoing scandal mongering campaign of a few people.

Truly, to those victims who are angry and lashing out because of the scandal mongering, I am praying for you! And I am praying for those who make the scandals too. It is why I created this page and am now responding on NextDoor.