“This is a long time coming, and I’m glad that we are here to finally act at this moment,” Mayor Aaron Groff said. “There is no doubt going to be people with differing opinions on this matter in the community and even in this room. ... I can’t thank the MUD directors enough for their hard work.”
He added Fulshear has operated under a tight budget rebating anything in the city’s tax rate higher than $0.10 back to residents living within municipal utility districts, with over 95% of communities living within MUDs for over 10 years.
MUDs can serve as limited government entities in unincorporated areas—land outside of city limits that could someday be annexed. The entities can issue bonds with voter approval to finance infrastructure work such as water, sewer and drainage projects, according to local government code. MUDs levy property taxes and collects service fees.
But the fast growth in the city requires changes to be made to the agreement and negotiations between city staff, MUDs and other entities have been ongoing since 2010, Groff said.
Groff highlighted key changes to an agreement that will affect residents, including the following:
• The agreement gives the city capacity to increase the tax rate without giving it all back to MUD directors. Once the city tax rates hit $0.22, it gives MUDs $0.07; at $0.24, MUDs get $0.08; at $0.26, MUDS get $0.09; at $0.28, MUDs get $0.10; and at $0.30 or above, MUDS get $0.11 back. The previous agreement allowed the city to rebate higher amounts of money, but the rates are now set at these amounts.
• Residents will pay $180 less in water fees in one year. The city can now discuss regionalization of water, especially wastewater, annually. In the previous agreement, the city was required by the state to have one single wastewater rate throughout Fulshear. Because the downtown system requires more resources to operate, the city was required to have a higher water rate throughout the entire city. The new agreement will allow Fulshear to decrease the base rate on both the water and the wastewater by $7.50 each starting in October.
The MUD directors will come together and vote on all amendments by July 23 and then will send out a joint press release with the city to include further details.