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Willow Park

City moves closer to drainage improvements


City moves closer to drainage improvements

By Rick Mauch

The Community News

At the Willow Park City Council meeting on June 14, council members voted to approve posting a notice of intention to issue certificates of obligation in an amount not to exceed $4.25 million. The funds are for the purpose of designing, constructing, acquiring, improving, enlarging, and equipping the city’s municipal drainage utility system.

The city has been collecting fees since October of 2021 to fund storm drainage improvements throughout the city. The rates, reflected in the utility bills of residents, are $5.50 per month per 1,500 square feet of living area. For example, 2,000 square feet is $7.32 per month, 2,500 is $9.19 and 3,000 equals $11.

City manager Bryan Grimes said about $220,000 has been raised this fiscal year and he anticipates all the fees will bring in approximately $330,000 annually. Funds raised through these fees will go toward paying the debt service charges connected with the certificates of obligation.

“Some are small, some are large, but this will take care of most of it,” Grimes said of the work needing to be done with the funds.

The council vote now means they will move forward with posting a newspaper advertisement on Aug. 9 announcing the issuance of the certificates for the funds, of which Grimes said $4 million will go for construction costs and the rest for processing fees.

Grimes clarified to a citizen who expressed concern with the spending that the money will not come out of the general fund.

Grimes recommended a 20-year repayment plan, which, with interest, would be a total payback of just over $6 million and would conclude in 2042. While a 15-year-plan would mean less in interest payments, each of the annual payments would be over $350,000, whereas all of the payments on a 20-year plan would be around $300,000.

Grimes said the lower annual payments would allow some funds to be left over from the storm drainage improvement fees should some surplus money be needed outside the debt service payments.


Discussion of north side sewer service

City Engineer Derek Turner, of Jacob & Martin Engineering in Weatherford, gave a presentation to the council on the cost of providing sewer service to residents on the north side of the city. Households in that part of town are currently septic.

Turner said to provide sewer service to approximately 1,000 residents north of Ranch House Road would be around $19 million. To provide service to approximately 300 residents south of Ranch House Road would be about $9.2 million.

“I think in this situation phasing is what you’re looking at,” Turner said. “You put your name in the hat every year and get the best funding.”

Place 3 Councilman Greg Runnebaum suggested the city gather data from the homeowners in that area to see if they are interested in switching over.

“The compelling factor is we don’t have the ability to require them to get on,” Grimes added. “The first question is going to be how much does it cost? I can tell you what our sewer rate is now, but that may not be the rate for them (when the changeover takes place).”


Hoffman garners state accolades

Willow Park Marketing and Communications Director Rosealee Hoffman was recently honored by the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers as one of the top 10 “Small Shop” PR offices in the state. She was also a speaker at their recent convention in Houston.

Grimes noted that a judge said of Hoffman, “Solid and professional work. You are making the best use of your resources and are clearly well organized.”

Then, Grimes added his own praise, “She makes this thing run smoothly and seamlessly.”

Hoffman, who is is in her fourth year with the city, said of the honor, “This year we were definitely improved and definitely in the hunt (for the top prize), and hopefully next year we’ll bring home some hardware.”


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