Council agrees to MUD 19 plan to annex land, postpones wastewater discussion

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The Liberty Hill City Council postponed discussion on two of the most important issues on Monday’s regular meeting agenda, but did adopt a resolution agreeing to the inclusion of additional land into MUD 19.

With all members present Monday, the Council delayed discussion on an infrastructure plan for water and wastewater. The Council agreed to take up the matter during a workshop scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17. Also included in the discussion will be whether or not the City of Liberty Hill should require residents to connect to wastewater service if the necessary equipment is already in place on the property. Also at the workshop, the Council will discuss various street maintenance construction projects.

City Secretary Barbara Zwernemann said the purpose of the workshop is to set some priorities for the City.

Following a presentation by Ed Horne, developer of Santa Rita Ranch, the Council voted unanimously Monday to adopt a resolution consenting to the inclusion of 103 acres into MUD 19.

Horne explained that Council approval was not necessary for the annexation to occur, but in order to maintain a positive relationship with the City, developers were seeking approval.

Horne said 103 acres known as the Rogers Tract on the east side of Margarita’s Restaurant at SH 29 and CR 260 will be divided into 230 residential lots. MUD 19, which manages the utilities for the 3,000-acre Santa Rita Ranch, will annex the property into its service area as permitted by state law. The City of Liberty Hill treats the wastewater for MUD 19 and MUD 19A at its wastewater treatment plant.

“We don’t have to get the consent of the City, but we’re asking for it. We will go to the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) showing the City is consenting to the annexation.

“We acquired the Rogers Tract to get access to CR 260 to enhance access (to Santa Rita). We also contributed the largest sum to the City to let the City build a gravity flow line (along SH 29),” he said.

Horne said builders in the new development will pay the City $200 per home as part of a proposed development agreement that will come to the Council in the coming weeks.

Also Monday, City Manager Greg Boatright reported to Council that testing had been done inside the Liberty Hill Police Department for the presence of mold.

“There were no levels of any danger, but there is still a musty smell,” he said.

Boatright said vents and air ducts will be cleaned, and floors that have some water damage will be replaced or repaired. A dehumidifier may also be a remedy. Tests showed 65 percent humidity in the building, a range that should be between 30-60 percent, he said.

“There was some concern that we would have to move out of that building, but it will only take minimal investment for cleaning of ducts and vents,” he said. “The problem is manageable.”

He said the City owns the LHPD building conveyed by Prosperity Bank some years ago. However, the agreement states the property may not be sold. Boatright said he will communicate with the bank if the City relocates the police force to another facility.

The City has expressed an interest and submitted a sealed bid to purchase the Liberty Hill ISD Administration Building. That decision from school trustees could be forthcoming this month.

After reconvening from a 50-minute closed session, the Council voted to take no action on a personnel matter relating to job descriptions, salary and work hours for employees in the Public Works Department.

Revenue bonds for water infrastructure

On Oct. 30, the Council voted unanimously in a special called meeting to approve an ordinance authorizing the issuance of $2.5 million in revenue bonds to finance the construction of water lines along Bagdad Road to bring water to the City of Liberty Hill.

The bonds carry an interest rate of 3.01 percent through American National Bank of Texas.

The Council voted to issue bonds for the construction after a petition signed by 32 Liberty Hill voters was submitted hours before a meeting Oct. 27 where officials were scheduled to approve the issuance of certificates of obligation for the project. Certificates of obligation carry a lower interest rate.

The petition was filed by former Mayor Jamie Williamson and officials said the move cost Liberty Hill taxpayers more than $100,000 in the form of higher interest rates and fees.

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