Bridgestone MUD weighed all the information at their disposal when they set their North Harris County Regional Water Authority (NHCRWA) pass-through fee. The District has elected to keep their residents’ NHCRWA pass-through fee as low as possible over the last five (5) years (2018-2022). However, given the difficulty in accurately predicting the ratio of surface water to groundwater used and the water lost during normal operation, this practice has resulted in a shortfall of $770,988.79 over the past five years (2018-2022). In summary, the NHCRWA was charging the District more for their fees than they charged the residents. Also, the District was concerned that the reduction would not be sustainable by the NHCRWA and would possibly result in an increase of the same or more in the near future.
It is common practice for MUD districts to implement a markup on the NHCRWA surface water fee by between 10 and 20% to offset for accountability and the labor costs for the provision of water. Bridgestone MUD’s line item for NHCRWA fee is (and remains) $5.05 per 1000 gallons. If the District used a markup of 15%, the rate would actually increase to $5.23 per 1000 gallons.
The Board voted to maintain the fee at its current level to help catch up from the deficit created over the past five years. Had they passed a flat $0.50 reduction along to the residents, it would have represented an average savings of only $2.50 per month.
Cost-saving measures that benefit the residents
In 2022, the District voted to reduce the property tax rate from $0.52 to $0.5088. This saved homeowners $33.60 per year in property taxes on a $300,000 home.
When Republic Services, the District’s Trash/Recycling contractor, presented a Consumer Price Increase in 2022, the District opted not to pass that through to the residents. By absorbing this increase, it saved District’s homeowners $3,216.95 per month or $38,603.40 annually or $6.56 per household.
The District also restructured their billing for trash and recycling to include it under their sewer fee. This saves District residents approximately $7,500 per month or $90,000 annually or $15.30 per household.
New Revenue-Generating Sources
In the past year, Bridgestone MUD implemented the following new fees, which are geared toward generating new revenue and reducing the costs to the District’s residents :
- The District created a Security Fee for multi-family developments in the District. The District’s annual budget estimates this fee will generate approximately $225,000 in additional revenue. Since implementation, the District has collected $161,511.31 and was able to add five new constables to the District’s contract patrol service.
- The District created aMulti-family Tax Exempt Water/Sewer Service Rate to protect the District against a potential loss of on average $81.86 per unit per month in tax revenue if a multi-family entity is converted to a non-taxable status. The Board is also working with State Representative Valerie Swanson to develop proposed legislation to restrict such conversions in the future.
- The District created a Park Contribution Fee for all new or redeveloping developments in the District. This fee is approximately $1,500 per acre. To date, the District has levied $58,617 for the Park Contribution Fee to proposed developments.
- The District created an Existing Infrastructure Fee of $4.77 per gallon of water capacity and $13.73 per gallon of sanitary sewer capacity for any new or redeveloping development in the District. To date, the District has levied $1,433,918for the Existing Infrastructure Fee to proposed developments.
The new revenue generated by all these measures will save Bridgestone MUD residents in the long-run.
Questions? Contact us!