Council amends MUDs’ wastewater agreement

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By Christine Bolaños

The Liberty Hill City Council approved an amendment to its wholesale wastewater agreement with Municipal Utility Districts 12, 19 and 19A on Monday. The amendment was part of some “housecleaning items,” as City Manager Greg Boatright put it, that the Council needed to take care of.

“This deals with Rancho Sienna, Santa Rita and Santa Rita North,” Boatright explained. “It speaks specifically to the wholesale services amendment because it’s different than what it is for Summerlyn. This is a commitment that we had committed for the number of LUEs (amount of wholesale water services sufficient for one living unit equivalent) that are committed to those three MUDs. This amendment deals specifically with that.”

Extensive negotiating and working with the MUDs has provided the city staff with solid education on how the process works.

“If you recall, these agreements were inherited not only from the LCRA but also from Chisholm as far as the retail side. What it’s done for us, everyone, including the whole team — bond counsel, legal counsel, finance advisor, finance, city manager, planning — is it’s brought us to the point where we know now what’s in the agreements,” Boatright said. “What we’ve tried to do as much as possible is make it specific to the city. There were some minor changes that we made concerning the agreements, but it’s really got us to familiarize ourselves with the agreements and know exactly what’s in them, what we’re committing to and now we have a 30-year agreement of service for our city.”

He said the process was painful and frustrating at times as the city went through nearly 10 drafts.

“It was a good thing for our city to go through because now it’s more of an agreement for our city and not the LCRA. The LCRA’s handprints were all over it, but it now speaks to the city and some of the concerns we had,” Boatright explained.

The motion passed 4-0 with Councilmember Troy Whitehead absent from the meeting.

The Council also approved amendments to wholesale wastewater operation services agreements with MUDs 12, 13, 19 and 19A to renew and extend terms of the agreements and amend a provision relating to a recently completed rate study and charge to be applied.

“This is basically taking the term out 30 years and adopting the rate study. One of the things that’s in the agreement that the MUDs wanted privy to is that in three years we will revisit the rates and if necessary, do another rate study. The MUD will have full participation from the standpoint they’re going to review all documents and even hire their own rate consultant,” Boatright said. “We negotiated they could hire their rate consultant in conjunction with ours, but they would pay for it.”

The Council approved the amendments 4-0.

Next, the councilmembers accepted a bid for the purchase of the $10 million City of Liberty Hill Wastewater Treatment Facility revenue bonds, series 2015. The low bidder was Chase Bank at a 2.523 percent interest rate. By accepting the bid the city is promising not to issue more than $10 million in bonds in this calendar year.

The council, also in a 4-0 vote, authorized issuance of the bonds in aggregate principal amount of $10 million; execution of a purchase letter and a paying registrar agreement. This means that if the city issues more than $10 million in bonds this calendar year, the interest rate would go up to 2.788 percent.

Next, they approved the first amendment to wholesale wastewater service agreement for Highland Meadows between the City of Liberty Hill and Williamson-Liberty Hill Municipal Utility District and removing Brazos River Authority as a party.

The council tabled a form proposed by the Parks and Recreation Board to be used for nominating and recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to Liberty Hill City Park on County Road 200.

“They went through several different drafts of this nominating form if you will. What brought it about was there were several requests to name the park or aspects of the park after certain members of our community,” Boatright told the council. “The Parks Board took it upon themselves to address the request and the best way to handle that. As a result, this is what we have.”

The city manager described the form as a guideline with the understanding that the council can make any changes to the document it wishes.

Councilmember Wendell McLeod made the motion to hold the item until the following council meeting so that there would be more opportunity and time to study the form.

The council lastly approved action to amend operations, maintenance and management agreement between Liberty Hill and USW Utility Group for the Liberty Hill Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. The agreement needs to be amended only if the Tax Counsel recommends certain revisions to comply with the IRS.

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