SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – A coalition of groups is launching a petition drive that would reduce the salary of the San Antonio Water System’s chief, which is estimated at nearly $500,000. SAWS President and CEO Robert Puente also received a $100,000 bonus last year. The coalition seeks to limit the CEO’s salary to no more than 10 times that of the lowest-paid SAWS employee.

The SAWS Accountability Act also would require all of the utility’s projects that exceed $1 billion to undergo an independent performance audit.

“In 2014, the San Antonio City Council rammed the Vista Ridge Pipeline Project on SAWS ratepayers and landowners 142 miles away,” said Reinette King.

The Vista Ridge pipeline would deliver more than 16 billion gallons of water per year to San Antonio from aquifers northeast of Austin starting April 15.

“They were warned it would harm San Antonio’s own source of drinking water, the mighty Edwards Aquifer,” King said.

She also cited efforts to switch a 1/8-cent sales tax from Aquifer Protection to transportation.

The League of Independent Voters, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Homeowner Taxpayer Association of Bexar County  and others are trying to get at least 20,000 petition signatures from registered voters to put the proposed charter amendment on the May ballot in 2021.

If approved by voters, the SAWS Accountability Act also would seek term limits for the chairman of the board.  In addition, it would ban trustees and general manager from working for the City of San Antonio or SAWS for a period of four years following their term.

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