Thomas Taggart is SMRF’s Friend of the River for 2021 because he truly made a difference for the river in many ways- but primarily in his work as the Director of Operations for our city of the Water, Wastewater, Stormwater, Electric and Transportation Departments. He started in San Marcos in 2000, served 21 years, and just recently retired though he continues to work on a number of projects impacting our river. After 8 years as Director of Water and Wastewater, and Tom was promoted to manage all those other departments 13 years ago. Thank goodness he was with us through all of the Habitat Conservation Planning years, which began about 18 years ago where he was, and still is, instrumental in the negotiations with all the stakeholders in that vast project that includes San Antonio and counties west of there as well as south all the way to Victoria. Tom has been a great ally in all the wastewater battles that SMRF, TRPA and the City have jointly been fighting for years, especially east of San Marcos where there are a number of large subdivisions coming in intending to put wastewater in creeks that run directly into the San Marcos River.
Tom graduated college at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri with a Bachelors of Science in ’78, Magna Cum Laude with Department Honors. His major was English Literature! Some early jobs were in Las Vegas, a very dry place, as a water director and manager, then 8 years back in Missouri in consulting, and on to San Marcos for his 21 years here. He served in so many officer positions and board positions in Texas that it would take too long to name them all, but he importantly, he served in the water and reuse fields in regional, state and national roles. One award I should mention is the Texas Top Public Works Leader of the Year in 2014. And now Friend of the River 2021!
Tom’s extensive knowledge and his understanding of the importance of the San Marcos River to this community was clear from his first years here when he worked hard to improve the wastewater discharge to the river and deal with the odor problems that were happening near the brand new treatment plant. He has urged the city to protest wastewater permits so that the small subdivisions around San Marcos would join up with the city’s treatment plant and not build poor quality small plants that would not last long, and would have to eventually be taken over by the city, at great expense to the city.
He has been invaluable on the HCP, which is truly the best agreement we could have hoped for, in keeping our river flowing in the future through droughts. We thank him for his care for the beautiful San Marcos River and wish him well in his retirement. He has a contract for now to represent the city on the HCP in the coming year or two, and to continue serving for the city on the Region L water planning board and we so appreciate that he will be there a while longer to assist these efforts.