Monday, October 20, 2014

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Proposed legislation targets rowdy section of San Marcos River

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TWC News: Proposed legislation targets rowdy section of San Marcos River
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Tubing the San Marcos River outside the city limits is rapidly growing in popularity.

"In a two month period of time we quadrupled in the numbers that we were doing," Rocco Moses, owner of Texas State Tubes, said.

Last summer was Texas State Tubes’ first on the river.

"They responded to having a more organized, cleaner place," Moses said.

It was also the first year for New Braunfels’ so-called can ban which sent thousands of tubers looking for a new place to take their party.

Although no one would go on camera, neighbors along the river in Caldwell County described the influx of tubers as lawless, calling it the Wild West on the river.

Moses said he's working to change that.

"My response to that is, we're going to put more law enforcement out there," he said.

This coming summer, Texas State Tubes and other outfitters will hire off-duty police officers to patrol their property and the river.

"If there's people going on to people's property, if there's fights, if there's all these things that are going on, we're going to say take them to jail," Moses said.

Some neighbors say that's not enough. They're asking the state to step in. House Bill 791 would allow Caldwell County to impose fees on tubers, campers and others who use the river.

One outfitter along the river said he's opposed to the creation of a taxing district because his customers aren't part of the problem and a tax on them would be unfair.

Moses isn't opposed to a fee, especially if it helps hire officers or clean the river, but he worries the fees would be tied up in unneeded bureaucracy.

"I don't believe in bringing in more government agencies or entities or creating another level of taxation," Moses said.

If the bill passes, it would be up to the Caldwell County Commissioners Court to put the creation of the park district to a county wide vote.

Comal County has a similar district that includes Canyon Lake and the Guadalupe River.

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