NTMWD member cities request forum for addressing contract concerns

At its regular meeting on June 25, the North Texas Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors voted in favor to create forums addressing matters of concern among its 13 member cities with regard to their regional water supply contract with the district.

The board authorized district staff to establish the protocol for these meetings. However, no format or timeline for when the meetings will take place has been set, NTMWD spokesperson Denise Hickey said.

“The board approved staff to begin developing these meetings and how they will be held. Each city will be able to communicate concerns or desired changes and how we can go about addressing these concerns in a productive matter,” she said.

Some cities also requested to have the ability to replace any appointee to the board of directors prior to the end of their two-year term.

“The message from the board today was loud and clear,” NTMWD Executive Director Tom Kula said in a news release. “The board encourages full, transparent communication with our member cities and the district will provide a forum to address their concerns and promote concurrence.”

NTMWD’s member cities consist of Allen, Farmersville, Forney, Frisco, Garland, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Princeton, Richardson, Rockwall, Royse City and Wylie. The contract has remained relatively unchanged for decades with the exception of adding new members.

Although Hickey would not comment on which cities requested these meetings, the district’s take-or-pay method has led larger cities like Plano to question how increased conservation efforts may end up costing them in the long-run.

For more than 60 years, NTMWD has provided reliable treated water supplies to the region. Under the current water supply contract, each city agrees to purchase an amount of water each year based on the highest annual demand the city has placed on the NTMWD water system historically.

Plano continues to be the district’s largest customer, paying for a set 26.7 billion gallons annually. Set minimums help the district to provide infrastructure needed to meet that demand in the future. Plano is one city that is caught in the middle of emphasizing conservation efforts while paying for more water than it uses.

This could lead to increased water rates in Plano as expenses continue to outweigh revenues, Plano Public Works Director Gerald Cosgrove said at a City Council meeting back in April.

“If people conserve too much we will have a deficit to pay the district,” he said.

The next board of directors meeting is set for 4 p.m. July 23 at the district’s central office, located at 505 E. Brown St. in Wylie.
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