NEW BRAUNFELS — The City of New Braunfels will pay three river outfitters and their attorneys a total of $691,063 to settle a 2007 suit over a flawed early version of the city’s “tube tax.”

The settlement, approved by city council this week, follows a November decision by the Texas Supreme Court not to hear the city’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that the initial rendition of the city-imposed river management fee, or tube tax, was invalid because of procedural flaws.

City Attorney Val Acevedo said settlement funds will be distributed as follows to the river outfitters who sued in 2007: Rockin’ R River Rides, $190,853; Texas Tubes, $141,090; and the then-owner of Corner Tubes, which is now under new ownership, $141,172.

Their attorneys will receive $217,948.

The payments are based upon the amount each outfitter paid in river management fees from 2005 to 2007, Acevedo said.

After the outfitters filed their legal challenge to the pass-through fee, a district judge in Comal County ruled in their favor, saying city officials had failed to comply with essential requirements of the city charter when they enacted the fee in 2001.

The case was appealed by the city to the Third Court of Appeals of Austin, the 11th District Court of Appeals of Eastland, and finally to the Texas Supreme Court.

City officials have said the original fee ordinance did not comply with the city charter in a couple of ways, including that it lacked the city attorney’s signature. Once the mistakes were discovered, another ordinance — with the flaws fixed — was passed by New Braunfels City Council in 2008.

The 2008 law remains in effect.

Under the River Management Fee, tubing outfitters collect the $1.25 tube tax from customers and then remit those fees to the city, which uses them to offset the cost of policing and cleaning the rivers.

(15) comments



I am not talking around anything....

Now The City placed a fee that was ruled by The Courts to be incorrect!

Now The City LOST The Court Cases & either had to pay the full amount or SETTLE!

The City lost The Court Cases & now The City Tax Payers have to pay the price!

The City has LEGAL LAWS that were & are BOTH LEGAL & AVAILABLE & proper use of those laws sure would have been cheaper on The City Tax Payers in the long run...

RiverGuy we all want to have responsible people in our city using our rivers, streets & establishments & sadly that is why existing legal MUST BE USED so that THOSE WHO DO WRONG ARE THE ONES WHO DO WRONG ARE PROPERLY PUNISHED!

Punish those folks who Do Wrong be they Visitors or Residents using the legal laws on the books!

RiverGuy we are paying the price for The City doing things that The Court Ruled against The City...

I want the same things as you do but we must use existing laws that are not counter to State Law...

Hopefully you will agree....


Point is that the City Of New Braunfels should never had been advised to do something that would not meet LEGAL CHALLENGE...

Courts (PLURAL) ruled that the City was wrong...

City LOST The Court Cases & The Appeals were LOST & the City HAD TO SETTLE or be required to pay even more Tax Payer Money than what we are having to pay now!

Sadly the City is involved in other cases that it appears will be lost & even more tax payer money will needlessly have to be paid!

Maybe it is time for The City to get a 2nd Opinion on issues before taking action & risk even more law suits & tax payer money...

Cheryl KLOSS

The city can just call it economic development and get the money from the 4B to pay the fine.

Everyone wins.


You are talking all around the problem and obviously trying to make it look like the city is the problem rather than the outfitters customers. The outfitters built their business on the backs of the young and dumb, many of which have no respect for anyone or anything. Having a beautiful river to trash is not their right. Having a beautiful river as we have in our city is a privilege to be respected and appreciated. They abused that privilege and now we all have to pay the price for their ignorance.

Kermit DOERR

Cochran, I misstated. I believe you certainly knew that the money was to go for river cleanup and police to control behavior on the river. So I guess once again we do not agree.

Chase Cochran

I agree with nbhome's statement: We do need money to clean up the police. Well stated.

Kermit DOERR

The outfitters are personally pocketing their customers' money!! That money was meant for cleaning up the river and the police. The outfitters just won this on a technicality, simply because of an innocent mistake by the then City Attorney who did not affix his signature to the otherwise legal law. THAT LAW is now in place and was fixed several years ago.

The best thing the outfitters could do would be to give that money to charity, the Parks Foundation, Ravenstar, or Friends for the Preservation of Historic Landa Park. But we all know they won't do it!!!



Now you suggestion makes complete total sense & has been one that many people have spoken of to include myself & sadly it fell on people who chose to ignore compromise & to use LOGIC & which is something that The City Of New Braunfels has NOT seen in YEARS

Sadly because of BAD LEGAL ADVICE & A TOTAL LACK OF COMPROMISE WE THE PEOPLE & TAX PAYERS are going to have to PAY $691,000 & based on other pending Court Cases will likely End Up Paying EVEN MORE OF OUR HARD EARNED MONEY & TAX DOLLARS!

Now think of HOW MUCH MONEY this City has wasted over the years on consultants, contractors, outside legal teams & yes COURT COSTS & SETTLEMENTS!

Think About when YOU pay your taxes & when you go vote in May 2013 for The City Bond Projects which will require even MORE of your money & the Question that YOU will HAVE to ask is HOW MUCH can YOU & me afford to pay!


One of the most frequently quoted remarks is that the State of Texas owns and controls all rivers and waterways. Fair enough (if that's really true). However, the City of New Braunfels owns the land at the entrances and exits. It can legally charge to use those. If they do that, then the outfitters will have to bear the expense of making and maintaining their own entrances and exits - at considerable cost. Sounds to me like a great place to reach a compromise and make a deal.


NbHome. I agree totally. Why does the city let the outfitters take over our park for the benefit of their business. Just try to use one of the city parks to support your business and see how far you get. You wouldn’t last a day. They get all these freebies and then turn around and bite the hand that feeds them with a law suit. We need to take our park back.



$691,000 Settlement is for Damages, Court Costs & LEGAL FEES....

Actual River Fee Money is over $1,000,000 & the Court s have said that River Outfitters & The City is not to get it...PERIOD!

City cannot get the River Fees Money because The City lost the case!

City went for the settlement to avoid paying the full amount awarded...

Rightfully is is supposedly should go back to those who paid it but good records must not have been kept or the folks moved or something!

Speaking for this family WE are not going to throw more money into a proven losing effort!

Suggestions made by this author still stands & it is finally time that The City DEMAND that The Proper State of Texas Agencies responsible do their job!

Kermit DOERR

It is time for the citizens to form a class action lawsuit against these outfitters to return the collected money to the tourists and citizens who used these outfitters. We need to demand that the outfitters be charged every time they use the city facilities for pick up or delivery at Cypress Park or the Last Tuber's exit. Why are we continuing to allow this? Because they moved in and have taken over this town. Their influence has crept into everything we do--even the county now.

Enough is enough.


I agree that the city has received some bad advice. My problem is that the Outfitters are unwilling to help with the cost policing and cleaning up after their own customers. That is the reason they brought this suit in the first place. They don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to collect a dollar from their customers to help us out a little. They want the taxpayers to foot the bill to keep the party going. Anytime the city comes up with a viable solution to cut costs they say we need to sit down and talk about this and come up with a solution that is fare. Fare to who? It’s sure not us! They weren’t looking for a fare solution when us, as taxpayers were footing the bill. I am tired of supporting these guys. We have already given up one of our city parks (Cypress Bend) so they will have a place to get their customers out. They have pretty much taken that over. I say enough is enough



It is a FACT that the City has received some very bad legal advice that is COSTING the City Tax Payers...MONEY...Tax Payer Money!

No as this author stated a long time ago I am in support of LESS BOOZE on the river & LESS Drunk Drivers on OUR streets, roads & highways!

Now that being this $691,000 is just a PARTIAL SETTLEMENT & does NOT include the River Entry Fee Money that must still be returned to...???

$691,000 & there are more to be paid & other lost city Legal Actions & or Court decisions on The Disposable Container & Packaging Ban that has lost in The Courts & is certain to be doomed to a similar fate that will COST CITY TAX PAYERS EVEN MORE MONEY...OUR MONEY!

Now the River Fee Money totals quite a bit of money & should it go to The River Outfitters?


Should this money go to The City???


Should the money in question go to W.OR.D.???


Now IF proper action had been done the money in question should go to THE FOLKS WHO ACTUALLY PAID IT but sadly that information is not available!

the SAD fact is that the way OUR CITY is losing, spending & or giving away TAX PAYER MONEY it is the OPINION of many Citizens that the City should not even buy a LOLLIPOP!

State Of Texas CONTROLS the waters to include the Comal & Guadalupe Rivers inside New Braunfels & if The City of New Braunfels was using their collective brains the city Management & City Council would get The State of Texas t do their JOB since The State Of Texas controls ALL State Waters to include the two rivers!

Seems to me & many others to include very learned legal experts that it would be CHEAPER & put the State Of Texas on the spot to do their Job & THE RIGHT THING!

Otherwise The City Tax Payers will keep PAYING THE LEGAL BILLS, COURT COSTS & SETTLEMENTS!

Once the City Tax Payers get tired of this then maybe it will finally STOP!


This is just another reason that we should have no sympathy for the outfitters. Their objective is to bring the frat party back by way of law suits against the city and local tax payers. Not only do they want to go back to the frat party days but want the tax payers to keep footing the bill for cleanup and law enforcement. Then they cry like a baby about the new can ban. “Our business is down” So what! I couldn’t care less about their business that was built on the backs of the taxpayers. The arrests and citations are down also. So is police overtime and trash clean up. They don’t care about the river or us as citizens and tax payers. All they care about is the head count at their business. They made their bed. So now they whine when they have to sleep in it. I don’t want to hear about their problems. They made them so they can live with them.

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