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Hudson Oaks

Council discusses water/sewer ahead of possible rate increase


As the Hudson Oaks City Council gathered for its monthly meeting April 25, someone was missing. That didn’t stop his presence from still being in the room.

Longtime council member Brian Lixey passed away on April 18, but in his place was a lighted candle and a photo of him. Lixey served for nearly 13 years, and a moment of silence and prayer was observed in his honor, acknowledging his battle with pancreatic cancer that eventually took his life.

Shortly after, council members then got to the business at hand. A presentation by

Assistant City Administrator Hayden Brodowsky outlined the partnership with NewGen Strategies, a management and economic consulting firm that focuses on

several utility areas, including water and wastewater utilities. The city commissioned the organization for help in evaluating water and wastewater rates.

Chris Ekrut, CFO and director with NewGen, said that it is important for the council to remember that Hudson Oaks is running a business when it comes to utilities. He said the rules of revenue exceeding expenses, needing sufficient reserves and investing into the business all apply.

He then noted that the city has not raised water rates since 2018, nor wastewater rates since 2008.

Citing surrounding cities like Weatherford and Fort Worth, Ekrut showed how rates in those cities have increased yearly by about 3 to 4 percent.

“Prices are very different [today as opposed to the last time rates were raised],”

he noted, adding that “significant time” has elapsed and that small, frequent increases are easier to digest and maintain than larger increases at once.

“The average annual increase in CPI for water, sewer and trash providers is a

pproximately 4.38 percent.”

The rate review was triggered by the upcoming capital investment requirements

of approximately $12 million and changes in the city’s wholesale water and wastewater providers.

Without an increase in 2025, Ekrut said, funding for the improvements would need to be found elsewhere.

The proposed rate changes, if adopted when the fiscal year 2025 budget is approved later this summer, would affect the average homeowner using

9,000 gallons of water and 6,000 gallons of wastewater by approximately $30 per month in FY2025, but only about $12 in FY2026 and even less in the following years.

A decision wasn’t made as to what rate would be proposed or approved, and more discussion will follow in the coming months.

Additionally, council approved a resolution directing a notice of intent to issue combination tax and revenue certificates of obligation for a maximum of $12 million for improvements to the city’s water and sewer system and storm water utility system.

City Administrator Sterling Naron said the amount could be closer to $10 million,

but that the maximum is being set now to allow funds to be in place when needed.

Also at the meeting, council:

Reconsidered authorizing extended hours for the sale and consumption of alcohol for mixed beverage permit holders after City Attorney Rob Allibon told members that the approval given at a previous meeting was based on “bad information”

since the hours published were incorrect.

Due to that, and the fact that the original applicant requesting the later hours withdrew its application, staff now recommended denial and council agreed.

Authorized Naron to extend the lease agreement with Emergency Services District No. 3 for the Public Safety Building on a month-to-month basis.

Appointed Jennifer Liles to the unexpired term of Council Member Place 2.

Hudson Oaks City Council will meet next on May 23.


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