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Highland Village Council to hold meeting on bond election, utility rate hike

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Highland Village City Hall. Photo by Bill Castleman

The Highland Village City Council will hold a Town Hall meeting on Sept. 14 to share information about the city’s upcoming bond election and its upcoming utility rate adjustment and increase.

Utility rate

The City Council recently approved an increase in the residential and commercial utility rate, according to a city news release. It will go into effect with your October usage and show on the bill you receive in November.

The city has had the same utility rate for water and sewer services since 2007, but after several years of wet summer and increased conservation efforts, water sales have fallen, according to the city. This combined with increased maintenance costs prompted the adjusted rate.

Delivery of the city’s utility services (water and wastewater) is solely funded by revenues derived by rates charged to customers. The city portion of the utility rate had been based on usage, with a low base charge and higher rates as usage increased. The new rate structure places a larger portion of the charge in the base rate and less emphasis on a tiered structure. The primary objective with the rate change is to find the appropriate balance between the base charge and volume rate to distribute charges fairly while providing for sufficient revenues to support the system and provide more consistency in monthly revenue generation and thereby reduce volatility.

The new rate changes will provide for roughly a 20 percent increase in total. However, with change to the rate structure, the percentage increase will vary with usage level. In general, the increase for both water and sewer is impacted at the lower usage levels. The proposed changes will provide sufficient revenues to address associated expenditures for both water and sewer costs. Detailed information on the new rates can be found on the city website.

Bond election

The City Council has called a bond election totaling $7.15 million for street and park improvements. The approval of these proposed propositions will not require a tax increase as a reduction in debt service starting in 2017 has provided a window to consider new debt issuance.

Two propositions will be placed on the Nov. 7 ballot. The first proposition, totaling $2.86 million, is for the full reconstruction of streets that have reached the end of their life cycle. The streets targeted are Rosedale Street, Ranier Court, Catesby Place, Rockland Drive, Hickory Ridge Drive, Oak Forest Drive, Winding Creek Drive, Dickinson Drive, South Clearwater Drive, Scenic Drive, North Clearwater Drive, Springway Drive, Mockingbird Drive, Post Oak Drive, Pecan, Raintree Drive, Greensprings Street, Duvall, Baird Circle, Donna Circle, Savanna Drive, and Arbor Court.

The second proposition, totaling $4.29 million, is for park and recreation improvements. Several improvements are for the city’s only community park, Unity Park. The play area, Kids Kastle, is at the end of its useful life and in need of replacement with new recycled plastic materials that will provide increased safety and less maintenance. The ponds at Unity Park require dredging to remove the accumulated silt and improvements to address drainage considerations. A drainage study conducted in 2017 recommended making improvements to accommodate a 50-year flood which will also benefit the surrounding area. A section of the park will be redeveloped to add an additional softball field to complement the existing baseball fields. The Unity Park improvements total $2.54 million.

Other park projects included are the extension of the Brazos Park parking lot, in the amount of $353,000. Several years ago a parking lot was built at this park to alleviate parking on adjacent streets. Popularity of the fields has prompted the need to increase the size of the parking area.

The development of Sunset Park, which is classified as a mini park and serves local residents as a neighborhood park site and provides water access to Lewisville Lake, comes in at an estimated cost of $162,700. The development will address erosion issues and safety concerns along with enhanced roadway completion to facilitate emergency vehicle access and turn around capabilities. Public input was solicited on the design for the park in the spring of 2017 and was approved by Council.

Resurfacing the walking track at Victoria Park to remove cracked and uneven pavement which can be a tripping hazard to patrons is included at an estimated cost of $275,000.

Finally, construction of the trail segment on Highland Village Road from the Municipal Complex to Sellmeyer Lane is included at an estimated cost of $922,300. A large number of residents adjacent to this section have no access to the City trail system to connect to Lions Club Park, Lakeside Community Park, and Doubletree Ranch Park. This presents a potential safety issue as people walk the two-lane Highland Village Road to access these amenities.

The Town Hall meeting will be held in the Council Chambers at the Municipal Complex, 1000 Highland Village Road, at 7 p.m. The meeting will also be available via live stream on the City website and available for on-demand viewing after the conclusion of the meeting.

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