Log in
Willow Park

Council approves new wastewater rates

Noise ordinance revamped, juvenile curfew lifted


Following a recommendation from last month, the Willow Park City Council approved a new wastewater rate increase proposed by NewGen. The rate will immediately increase from $20 to $24.80 for residential and from $20 to $31.74 for commercial monthly service. 

This is the city's first rate increase since 2017.

At the Aug. 22 meeting, NewGen Chief Financial Officer Chris Ekrut gave a presentation to the council. He said that due to rising costs and construction of a much-needed wastewater plant, a three-year model - which was the one approved Tuesday - is needed to make the water and wastewater funds financially healthy. Assistant City Manager Bill Funderburk noted at that meeting that the city has been transferring money from the water account to the wastewater account to offset a deficit.

"This is what we need to do to make it whole," Funderburk told the council at Tuesday's meeting.

Other changes include requiring a $50 deposit on garbage only accounts and an after-hours fee for non-emergencies and standbys. A separate category of residential rental was also created with a deposit amount of $200.

City officials note that the current deposit of $100 does not usually cover the bills left behind by renters. They said the increase, while it may not cover the entire bill, will reduce the amount lost when renters move out unexpectedly.

Noise ordinance revamped

Citing the previous noise ordinance as being confusing and difficult to enforce, the Willow Park City Council approved a revamped ordinance that is more clearly defined and easier to understand at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

The previous ordinance had several sections that contradicted other sections, numerous terms that were easily misinterpreted and led to creating violations, and failed to make clear who was responsible for the violation, noted Willow Park Police Chief Daniel Franklin.

The new ordinance not only clears up these discrepancies, but is also more easily enforced, city officials state. It clearly defines what constitutes a violation and lists who is responsible for the violation.

"This ordinance simplifies it. The violations haven't changed, this just makes it so we can enforce it," Franklin said. "This ordinance makes it a lot more simple."

The new ordinance also provides for the authorization of temporary noise permits. It also has a penalty not to exceed $500 for violations.

For example, when an establishment such as the Parker County Ice House is hosting a musical concert, they can get a temporary permit that would allow for a slight deviation in noise level as long as reasonable measures are taken. Up to six temporary permits are allowed per year.

Also, much like a traffic ticket, if another violation occurs before the first citation is settled, it will be considered a separate violation with a separate penalty.

City officials said complete details of the city's new noise ordinance will be on the city website in the near future at www.willowparktx.gov.

Juvenile curfew lifted

Following a new law from the state, the city council rescinded its juvenile curfew ordinance at Tuesday's meeting. The ordinance had been in place for the past couple of years.

The Texas 88th Legislature in its recent session passed House Bill 1819 that prohibits a political subdivision from adopting or enforcing an ordinance that imposes a curfew to regulate the movements or actions of person younger than 18 years of age.

"Because they passed this house bill our curfew is no longer valid," Franklin said. "I wouldn't say we used it a lot, but we had curfew violations we had to enforce at 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning."

Red River rezoning

The council approved a zoning change to planned development for the proposed Red River Development's single-family dwelling subdivision of Country Hollow. The slightly more than 19 acres of individual lots was annexed by petition in November of 2021 and the council approved the planned development district in April of 2022.

Rob McClain, Director of Development for HistoryMaker Homes, said the company hopes to start development as soon as December.

"I expect within eight months we'll be sold out," he said. "We like the suburbs of Fort Worth. You guys are a perfect fit for where we are."

The applicant requested a change to the PD zoning to accommodate the existing architectural plans of the new home builder who has issued a letter of intent to purchase and develop the subdivision. 

Road repaire renewal

The council agreed to renew the city's agreement with Parker County for road repair assistance in Willow Park. The annual agreement was approved by Parker County officials at an Aug. 28 meeting.

The county will deliver all materials with the city paying vendors directly for those materials. Also, the city will reimburse the county for all labor and equipment.

The first order of duty under the renewed agreement will be work on Emsley Road at a cost to the city of $227,349.

Dispatch contract renewed

In another agreement with the county, the council voted to renew the city's contract for the inter-local cooperation agreement for law enforcement dispatch services to Willow Park, effective Oct. 1. However, the cost for this service will increase from $77,048 to $91,967.

"This will allow us to continue to use the sheriff's office for our dispatch services," Franklin told the council.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here