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MUD Board & Bond Elections in May

The Trail of the Lakes MUD Board will be holding an election for three board positions and two bond elections on Saturday, May 6 from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM. Early voting will available starting April 24th through May 2nd (times not yet announced – please check the www.TrailoftheLakesMUD.com for updates). The election will be held at 17942 Silver Bend Dr.

Three board members are running for re-election, including Virginia Elkins (President), Jo Smith (Secretary), and Chris Bush (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer/Tax Compliance Officer). Two individuals are running for the election: Troy King (currently Treasurer of the Atascocita Forest Homeowner’s Association), and Crystal Counts-Kirby.

Please note that it is important for residents to be informed and to vote in these elections, as the members of the MUD board make decisions which directly affect all of us in many ways.

In addition to board position elections, two bonds will be on the ballot:

Proposition 1 is a General Obligation Bond for $14,500,000. The draft language for the bond on the ballot is as follows (as found on the Trail of the Lakes Website on 3/6/2017: Town Hall Meeting Presentation 1-24-2017): “The issuance of $14,500,000 bonds and levy of taxes adequate to provide for payment of the bonds for the construction, repair and replacement of water, sanitary sewer and drainage facilities and the refunding of up to $14,500,000 of any outstanding bonds.” Note that this is draft language and is subject to be revised prior to election day.

According to the presentation available on the MUD website, this bond “Allows the District to utilize bonds to fund water and wastewater capital projects” and “More streamlined rehabilitation and replacement of water and wastewater facilities.” Essentially, these bond funds will be use to repair and improve the water and wastewater infrastructure within the district. The presentation further clarifies that if the bond is not approved then “Other revenue sources for capital projects” include “revenue bonds” and “increased water and sewer rates.”

The MUD has provided a list of proposed capital projects and costs that would be covered by this bond:

Estimated Construction Costs

Amount

1.       Water Plant No. 2 Improvements

2.       Water Well No. 3

3.       Water Plant No. 3

4.       Clayton’s Park Lift Station

5.       Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements (TOLMUD Share)

6.       Contingency (20% of Items 1-5)

7.       Engineering (17% of Items 1-6)

$1,680,250

$1,179,750

$1,680,250

$386,100

$3,285,935

$1,642,457

$1,675,306

Total Construction Costs

$11,530,048

Non-Construction Costs

 

1.       Legal Fees

2.       Financial Advisor Fees

3.       Capitalized Interest (2 years at 5%)

4.       Bond Discount (3% of BIR)

5.       Bond Issuance Costs

6.       Attorney General Fee

7.       T.C.E.Q. Bond Issuance Fee (0.25% of BIR)

8.       Bond Application Report Cost

$290,000

$290,000

$1,450,000

$435,000

$244,202

$14,500

$36,250

$210,000

Total Non-construction Costs

$2,969,952

Total Bond Issuance Requirement

$14,500,000

 

Proposition 2 is the Park Bond for $7,000,000, with which many of you may be familiar. The MUD is seeking to develop the empty space in front of the water treatment facility at the end of Woodland Hills Dr. into a multi-function park complex and potentially add walking trails and fitness parks within the district. The draft language for the bond on the ballot is as follows (as found on the Trail of the Lakes Website on 3/6/2017: Town Hall Meeting Presentation 1-24-2017): “The issuance of $7,000,000 bonds and levy of taxes adequate to provide for payment of the bonds for parks and recreational facilities and the refunding of up to $7,000,000 of any outstanding bonds.” Note that this is draft language and is subject to be revised prior to election day.

The MUD has provided a list of proposed costs associated with this project:

Estimated Construction Costs

Amount

1.       Clayton’s Park Detention Basin Trail

2.       Atascocita Forest Detention Basin Trail

3.       Trail A Along Drainage Channel

4.       Trail B Along Drainage Channel

5.       Trail Connection along Woodland Hills

6.       Clayton’s Park Playground

7.       Two (2) Fitness Parks

8.       Dog Park

9.       Community Park and Playground

10.   Design & Construction Professional Services (15%)

$360,000

$560,000

$900,000

$412,000

$120,000

$105,000

$140,000

$1,025,000

$1,900,000

$828,300

Total Construction Costs

$6,350,300

Non-Construction Costs

 

1.       Legal Fees

2.       Financial Advisor Fees

3.       Bond Discount (3% of BIR)

4.       Bond Issuance Costs

5.       Attorney General Fee

6.       T.C.E.Q. Bond Issuance Fee (0.25% of BIR)

7.       Bond Application Report Cost

$140,000

$140,000

$210,000

$70,200

$7,000

$17,500

$65,000

Total Non-construction Costs

$649,700

Total Bond Issuance Requirement

$7,000,000

 

The MUD has conducted several Town Hall meetings regarding this project and has put forth a proposed conceptual master plan for the improvements; residents have had the opportunity to ask questions and express opinions or concerns about this project. Note that the presentation goes on to state: “Texas Water Code, subsection 49.4645(b) states, in part: “The park plan is not part of the proposition to be voted on, does not create a contract with the voters, and may be amended at any time after the election held to authorize the issuance of bonds for the development and maintenance of recreational facilities provided under the plan.” Essentially, this means that if the bond is approved, the MUD is not legally obligated to follow the proposed conceptual master plan. In this bond election, you are not voting for or against the proposed park plan – you are voting to allow or not allow the MUD to issue a bond to fund the development of recreational improvements, which may or may not look like the project presented in the conceptual master plan and which includes a playground in the Clayton’s Park neighborhood. At this time, the long-term effects (if any) on water rates or MUD tax rates if this bond is approved are unknown.

The Town Hall Meeting Presentation document on the Trail of the Lakes MUD website includes photographs and conceptual art of the ideas presented for the park and concludes by explaining the effects of park bond authorization: “Allows the District to utilize bonds to fund parks/trails/recreational facilities projects” and “More streamlined progress of the construction of parks/trails/recreational facilities.” The summary at the end of the presentation explains that the “Age of the District requires future rehabilitation and replacement of water and wastewater facilities/components,” “allows for positive effect on water/sewer rates,” “funds for the creation of District parks, trails and recreational facilities,” and “transfers more of the costs to commercial properties due to the higher values of commercial properties.”

The entire presentation from which the information in this article was obtained is available on the Trail of the Lakes MUD website at this location: http://trailofthelakesmud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Town-Hall-Meeting-Presentation-1-24-2017-00224598xAB154.pdf

Additionally, the presentation PDF as it exists on the day this article was written (March 6, 2017) is available on the Atascocita Forest Community Association website.

Please note that this article contains details provided by Trail of the Lakes MUD, as well as interpretation and opinion by the author in an effort to clarify information for residents. It is intended to inform residents about the upcoming election and is in no way intended to influence voters’ decisions.