City finalizes purchase of sewer plant

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Mayor Michele “Mike” Murphy (left) and Becky Motal, general manager and chief executive officer of the Lower Colorado River Authority, signed the closing paperwork Monday for the City’s purchase of the LCRA wastewater treatment plant. (Courtesy Photo)

Liberty Hill Mayor Michele “Mike” Murphy signed closing documents this week making official the City’s purchase of a $3.3 million sewer treatment plant.

The City purchased the plant from the Lower Colorado River Authority using bonds issued by Council action April 9.

Mayor Murphy said the City has been involved in negotiations with LCRA for almost two years. The original selling price for the wastewater treatment plant was almost $7 million.

“We offered $2.3 million, which was our estimate of their actual cost of the transfer. The staff refused, so we took it to the Board of Directors at a public meeting and spoke to the Board regarding Liberty Hill and LCRA’s relationship,” she said. “A few weeks later, they countered with $3.3 million, which we accepted.

“Basically, the LCRA gave us the physical plant and the system for the cost of the actual transfer to them, plus $1 million in profit,” she added.

Mayor Murphy, who was originally opposed to the idea of the City purchasing a sewer treatment plant, said she became supportive when she realized the benefits to the community and its future development. When the purchase price became more feasible, the Mayor became an outspoken advocate for the issuance of bonds to pay for the plant.

She said the City of Rollingwood is in the process of issuing $12.4 million in bonds to pay for a treatment system without a plant, and the City of Westlake Hills also recently completed a similar deal.

Mayor Murphy said the reason Liberty Hill’s price was lower for the system and the physical plant was that the plant is located here.

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