Hutto signs contract on $59M water system

From left to right, Hutto City Manager Odis Jones,  Hutto City Council member Lucio Valdez, Hutto Mayor Doug Gaul and Hutto City Council member Scott Rose sign the contract that gives Hutto control over its water supply.

From left to right, Hutto City Manager Odis Jones, Hutto City Council member Lucio Valdez, Hutto Mayor Doug Gaul and Hutto City Council member Scott Rose sign the contract that gives Hutto control over its water supply.

Hutto city officials last Wednesday signed the contract to purchase the city’s water system from Heart of Texas Water Suppliers for $59 million.

Hutto City Manager Odis Jones negotiated the sale in August after getting authorization to negotiate for a maximum cost of $63 million. Now, for the first time, Hutto owns its water supply.

“This is a major accomplishment for Hutto,” Hutto Mayor Doug Gaul said Oct. 11. “This is truly a momentous occasion for us to get out from under that contract and now have control over our destiny and control over our waters.”

Gaul was joined by Jones and Hutto council members Scott Rose and Lucio Valdez during the contract signing ceremony.

Although Hutto uses only 800,000 gallons per day, the city was being charged for 2 million gallons. Before the contract for the water system was being negotiated, the price for water usage was set to be raised to 3 million gallons a day. Jones froze rate hikes for the city during the negotiation process.

City officials at the signing said that purchasing the water system now allows them to pursue the city’s economic goals without the limitations of a bad water contract.

“It stabilizes the system in a way that allows us to go out and compete and do economic development and it gives the city the water it needs to be able to grow,” Jones said. “You cannot compete for economic development and growth if your water system is unstable.”

Jones said the deal will save Hutto millions of dollars over the length of the bond and further into the future.

Residents of Hutto won’t see any immediate effect on the reduction of their water rates, but the deal does provide stability to those rates over the length of the 40 year bond used to purchase the system and beyond.

The city was forecasting rate hikes as high as 150 percent over three years under the previous contract that Hutto held with Heart of Texas Water Suppliers.

“The citizens of hutto are going to benefit from this greatly – not in the short term, but in the years to come they will notice that their water bills won’t constantly be going up,” Valdez said.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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