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Hudson Oaks

Improvements to water/wastewater services could lead to rate increases


Due to recent changes in wholesale water and wastewater providers, the City of Hudson Oaks recently gave notice to issue combination tax and revenue certificates of obligation for the purpose of paying for improvements to the water, sewer and stormwater utility systems to the tune of $12 million. 

But what exactly does that mean for its residents? 

At a recent city council meeting, two separate presentations – one from City Administrator Sterling Naron and one from representatives of NewGen and SAMCO Capital - answered that very question. 

Currently, the City of Hudson Oaks has a master agreement with the City of Weatherford to treat its wastewater at Weatherford’s wastewater treatment plant, but Naron said that agreement will not be continuing after receiving notice from Weatherford.  

Needing an alternative, it happens that Willow Park purchased land and is constructing a new, larger facility close to its current site and Hudson Oaks is pursuing a partnership that will benefit both cities. 

“[Our engineers] Kimley Horn are currently working on and looking at a couple of alignments,” Naron said. “It will be cheaper for us and increase our capacity and give room to grow.” 

He added that Hudson Oaks would have a 20 percent equity stake to maintain if all goes to plan.  


The project itself would likely cost about $10 million, but in order to get funds in place $12 million was the targeted amount budgeted for in the obligations. Fiscal Year 2024 is where the bulk of the project’s expenditures will happen, with $6.095 million dedicated for the wastewater lines to a shared facility and lift station, $4 million for the stake in the plant, and $900,000 for the water line from Lakeshore to Shannon.  

The additional $1 million is projected to take place in FY2027 for an elevated storage tank on the east side.  

Ryan Cunningham, managing director with SAMCO Capital, outlined a timeline for council members that would begin in FY2025. The proposed revenue amounts took into consideration a yet-to-be-voted-on rate increase for wastewater based on the NewGen study that was presented earlier in the meeting.  

“The interest was calculated at 5 percent to adjust for any fluctuation that could happen, but rates are currently less than that amount,” he noted.  

Council will consider the ordinance to issue the certificates of obligations at its regular monthly meeting in June. 

Rate increase

However, in order to have a better grasp on the financial impact, water and wastewater rates need to be looked at and likely adjusted since those have not been increased since 2018 and 2008, respectively.  

Chris Ekrut, CFO/Director with NewGen Strategies, showed what proposed higher rates would do for the city’s revenue and bluntly explained that Hudson Oaks needs to transfer $433,000 in water funds - $328,000 that is not currently in the budget – to maintain its current fund balance reserve.  

He added that the average annual increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI) for water, sewer and trash providers is 4.38 percent.  

“Small, frequent increases are easier to digest,” he said, explaining how customers view rate increases. “Every city is different and it’s not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison, but the regulations are the same requirements for all cities.” 

Council will consider proposed rate changes in the coming months as the budget is considered, but monthly bill impacts for residential customers using 9,000 gallons of water and 6,000 gallons of wastewater are expected to be around $30 in FY2025, with slight increases annually after that under the plan that was shown to council members.  

Due to the time gap from when rates were last raised and the proposed amounts, Ekrut said there was a “hill to climb to execute capital improvements.” 

“Rate setting is an annual exercise and wholesale providers, i.e. Fort Worth and Weatherford, where Hudson Oaks gets its water from, will go up annually and you have to go up as well or resources will [dwindle],” he concluded.  

Councilman Sean Cannon asked about delays in customers paying bills in other cities when prices increase and if there was a larger amount of people not paying or asking for extensions. 

“There are some, yes, but customers make choices on payments and the industry as a whole is behind,” Ekrut said.  


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