Emerald Forest Utility District calls for bond referendum, increase in tax rate cap

Residents in a handful of subdivisions serviced by the Emerald Forest Utility District have the chance to vote on two propositions this election cycle. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Residents in a handful of subdivisions serviced by the Emerald Forest Utility District have the chance to vote on two propositions this election cycle. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Residents in a handful of subdivisions serviced by the Emerald Forest Utility District have the chance to vote on two propositions this election cycle. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Residents in a handful of subdivisions serviced by the Emerald Forest Utility District have the chance to vote on two propositions this election cycle, including a $40 million bond referendum for water, sewer and drainage infrastructure and a request by the district to raise the cap on its operation and maintenance tax.

Although Election Day is May 1, the early voting process has been underway since April 19 and runs through April 27.

The district's operation and maintenance tax rate is currently capped at $0.25 per $100 of valuation, and the ballot item—listed as Proposition B—would raise it to $0.50 per $100 of valuation, according to information on the district's website. However, in a press release, district officials said there are no plans to raise the tax rate, which sits at $0.655 per $100 of valuation after the debt service tax rate is factored in.

"At this time, with all the information on hand, given the plan outlined in the bond election report, the board of directors for the district do not anticipate a total tax rate increase as a result of bond issuance for the foreseeable future," according to an April 23 statement from the district.

The $40 million bond referendum, listed as Proposition A, will help address needs over the next 10-15 years, officials said, including the maintenance, replacement and upgrading of aging infrastructure. Projects identified by the district engineer include replacing some water distribution lines, replacing water meters, rehabilitating the sanitary sewer system and two water wells, and expanding a wastewater treatment plant.

The district covers roughly 748.2 acres and services 1,862 residences around FM 1960 between Jones, Mills and Gessner roads. The district operates and maintains two water plants, one wastewater treatment plant and one sanitary sewer lift station.

About $9.1 million of the $40 million bond would also be used to provide services to 223 acres of land within the district that is under development. However, officials said those costs would eventually be reimbursed by developers, which prevents the tax burden from falling on residents already living in the district.

According to district information, the most recent bond referendum was in 2001 and was for $21 million. About $8.6 million of that bond remains to be authorized.

No members of the board of directors are up for election this year. Terms for three of the five directors expire in May 2022, and terms for the other two directs expire in 2024.

More information can be found on the Emerald Forest Utility District website.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


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