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Corpus Christi plans desalination town halls

An artist’s rendition of two proposed desalination plants provided by Freese and Nichols engineering firm. Courtesy image

The city of Corpus Christi has scheduled four town hall meetings to discuss proposed desalination plants that have become a central issue in the upcoming election for mayor and City Council. The meetings, which are virtual, are 6-7:15 p.m. on the following dates:

• Tuesday, Oct. 6

• Thursday, Oct. 8

• Monday, Oct. 12

• Wednesday, Oct. 14

“These town halls will allow citizens to provide input, gather important and accurate information on the project, and participate in an open dialogue,” reads a media release from the city.

The council voted 5-3 on Aug. 25 to seek permits to build a seawater desalination plant. Voting no, Paulette Guajardo, Gil Hernandez, and Rudy Garza objected to the $11.4 million financing agreement with the Texas Water Development Board for permitting.

“For me, there are too many unknowns,” Guajardo said at the meeting.

Guajardo is running for mayor against incumbent Joe McComb and Nueces County Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn. Both Vaughn and Guajardo have been vocal opponents of desalination plans.

Vaughn recently called on the City Council to reopen its meetings to the public rather than holding virtual public comment periods because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“This is the only platform that our citizens have,” she told the council during one of the virtual public speaking times. In person, people were allowed three minutes to make their statements. By phone, they are given one minute.

“The county Commissioners Court did it. We put shields in place,” she continued. “This is the only entity that I see that hasn’t done it.”

She specifically called on in-person public comments for important decisions such as the desalination vote.

To “attend” the town halls virtually, use any of the following platforms:

YouTube CCTVCorpusChristi

Facebook @citygov

• CCTV20, Spectrum Channel 1300, Grande Channel 20, or AT&T U-verse Channel 99

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