Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

July 12, 2014

Bullard scheduled to address water needs

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

BULLARD — Council members, who met Tuesday at Bullard City Hall to address future water needs through a combination of increased I&S rates and commercial water rates, have set an Aug. 12 date to adopt the proposals.

Roughly since May, “we've been pumping an estimated 22 million gallons of water per month, and TCEQ (the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) has sent word down to Bullard that we need to be in planning stages for another water source, whether it be a well, running a line to a nearby city or using surface water,” said City Manager Larry Morgan.

Working with Government Capital to follow correct procedure in securing funds for the project, Morgan said the City of Bullard will be working with a bank that specializes in this type of funding for city governments.

“We're near the end of this process, and in the August meeting, we anticipate we'll have everything in place to go out for general obligation bonds at a debt rate,” allowing the city to see through the project through from property purchase to laying of water lines that connect to a larger, more central line, he said, adding that the city will drill a well at a location west of the city, where a driller has advised holds the best water.

During Tuesday's meeting, the council “agreed to raise the I&S account to a degree that would pay for future bond issues,” Morgan said.

Additionally, council members agreed that while residential water and sewer rates would remain unchanged, commercial water rates would be increased to help fund the project.

The city manager said until now, commercial water rates were the same as residential rates, something unusual, especially for a city the size of Bullard experiencing the kind of growth it has been.

“We were substantially behind the curve when it came to cities our size,” he said. “It would be one thing if we were stagnant, but we're looking at growth, so (increasing commerical water rates) is one way to do it, and it's a fair tax.”

The combination of raised commercial water and I&S rates means “we will not have to take money out of our general operation fund,”  he explained.

Council members also approved a preliminary plat for Cherokee Village, located adjacent to and east of South Doctor M. Roper Pkwy, entered into an interlocal agreement with Smith County for boom axe service to clear a mile-long city street with a problem with trees overhanging the roadway and approved consent agenda items authorizing payment of various invoices and pay requests.