State staff says water contract in North Texas is ‘unreasonably preferential’

The Public Utility Commission staff recently filed its review of the North Texas Municipal Water District water contract.

The Public Utility Commission staff recently filed its review of the North Texas Municipal Water District water contract.

Image description
Staff with the Public Utility Commission of Texas recently weighed in on a dispute among area cities, saying current water rates are “unreasonably preferential, prejudicial and discriminatory.” The PUCT is seen as a third party on the matter.

At issue is the North Texas Municipal Water District water contract used to calculate how each of its 13 member cities pays for water and services. The water district uses a contract where cities pay for the highest historical usage regardless of how much water is used that year.

Discussions about the contract began in 2016 when the cities of Plano, Garland, Mesquite and Richardson filed a petition asking the PUCT to review the water contract.

The PUCT staff recently filed its review of the water contracts, finding them “not in the public interest,” according to a November court filing.

Commissioners appointed to oversee the PUCT are expected to decide on the case this spring, Janet Rummel, public relations and communications officer for the NTMWD, said in an email.

“The [NTMWD] believes a better solution would come from the member cities negotiating with one another for any change to the contract structure,” she said.

The other NTMWD member cities include McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Farmersville, Forney, Princeton, Rockwall, Wylie and Royse City.

If the commissioners agree with the PUCT staff and the four petitioning cities, it could result in rewriting the member cities’ contract. Rummel said that could result in some cities, such as McKinney, paying a higher portion of shared costs. This cost could be passed along to residents or absorbed by the city.

The water district charges not only for used and unused water but also storage, pipes, treatment and testing of the water. It also charges for investments in projects to make sure the district does not run out of water, Rummel said in a previous interview with Community Impact Newspaper.

To divide the cost of the shared system among the cities, the 13 member cities agreed for each city’s portion to be based on its year of highest annual water use, Rummel said.

“NTMWD issued debt and built a system to meet that previous need. We must repay the debt and maintain those pipes,” she said.
By Cassidy Ritter
Cassidy graduated from the University of Kansas in 2016 with a degree in Journalism and a double minor in business and global studies. She has worked as a reporter and editor for publications in Kansas, Colorado and Australia. She was hired as senior reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's Plano edition in August 2016. Less than a year later, she took the role of editor for the McKinney edition.


Hidden Springs of McKinney Senior Living opened in March of 2020. (Courtesy Hidden Springs of McKinney Senior Living)
Hidden Springs of McKinney Senior Living celebrates 1st anniversary

The community opened in March 2020 with 130 independent-living apartments and has grown since then.

Restaurateur Dale Wamstad's new eatery Rooster Town Wafflery opened in Richardson on April 21. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
Breakfast, lunch spot opens in Richardson; Ono Poke coming to Southlake and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Frisco ISD has plans to launch a new virtual learning school for the 2021-22 school year. (Courtesy Canva)
Frisco ISD to launch virtual school for 2021-22

The Virtual School will be offered to families with students in grades 3-12 who wish to have their students continue to learn virtually.

(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Local air conditioning company looks to relocate to new facility in McKinney

The company will be able to expand its operations in the new facility, documents stated.

Empty Bowls has connected people and artists over the past nine years. (Courtesy Empty Bowls McKinney)
Empty Bowls event marks 10 years of fighting hunger in McKinney

The event has become so successful over the years that it now covers a large portion of Community Lifeline Center’s annual food costs.

Romeo's Pizza is looking to open in Frisco. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Frisco; steak, seafood lounge returning to Plano and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

As part of President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely nationwide, the department’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option is being expanded beyond the summertime. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USDA extends free school meals provision through 2021-22 school year

Schools nationwide will be able to serve nutritious meals to all students free of charge regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022, officials announced.

McKinney City Council approved zoning for an apartment complex in McKinney. (Courtesy city of McKinney)
McKinney City Council amends zoning for future apartment development

The complex will be located on about 9 acres south of the intersection at Heritage Drive and Pearson Avenue.

The company also has plans for another location in Northeast Fort Worth. (Courtesy Starbucks)
Starbucks coming to Fort Worth; Makers Gym opens in Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Continued growth at Legacy West in Plano is helping to boost the local economy, according to the county’s 2020 comprehensive annual financial report. (Courtesy Legacy West)
Collin County finances healthy despite pandemic, report shows

Considering challenges officials faced last year, Collin County’s bottom line is “extremely healthy,” an independent auditor told county commissioners at their April 19 meeting.

vaccine vial
Looking to get a COVID-19 vaccine? Collin County has thousands of openings this week

Thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines are sitting in Collin County freezers waiting to be claimed.

Independent Financial is expanding its McKinney headquarters. (Courtesy Independent Financial)
Independent Financial sets up future expansion with 17-acre buy in McKinney

The purchase brings Independent Financial’s corporate campus to nearly 30 acres, tripling the business’s original footprint.