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Tropical Storm Imelda Impact

In September 2019, Tropical Storm Imelda made landfall as the fifth-wettest tropical cyclone on record in the continental United States; the storm devasted parts of the southeast Texas. Due to these record breaking floods, many residents of Newport MUD not only suffered damages to their own personal property, but the District sustained major damage to its wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), lift stations, and critical sanitary sewer infrastructure.

The board of Newport MUD is providing this update so that residents can understand the costs that are incurred to maintain the District’s aging facilities. As you may know, Newport MUD is requesting voter consideration of bonding authority to make immediate and necessary repairs and improvements to District infrastructure, including the WWTP, lift stations, and infrastructure.

Handspike Lift Station that flooded during Tropical Storm Imelda.

Why is it critical to do these projects now?

The District was created in 1972 and much of the District’s water and sewer infrastructure has been in place for nearly 50 years. As water and wastewater infrastructure ages, it requires maintenance, rehabilitation, and, sometimes, replacement as part of its lifecycle. On average, infrastructure lasts about 30-40 years with optimal maintenance and operations, and much of our system has already exceeded its expected lifespan. The board of Newport MUD has been proactive in establishing a capital improvements plan to address these necessary infrastructure projects.

Tropical Storm Imelda is another example of why the District must continue to address its aging infrastructure. Due to Imelda, the District incurred unexpected repair costs of $463,063.46 to date that had to be paid directly out of its general fund. The cost to the District will continue to rise until the necessary infrastructure updates are completed.

Crack in the Effluent Line that caused sink hole.

How can the District fund the necessary repairs and improvements?

The primary alternative to authorizing the bonds is to fund all necessary projects on a “pay as you go” basis, likely requiring substantial increases in maintenance tax rates and/or water and sanitary sewer rates.

Funding “big ticket” capital improvement and repair projects with maintenance taxes or water and sewer rates would impose steep increases in monthly bills because the District must collect all the required funds in advance of starting any project. This method places the entire financial burden on current residents and could create significant delays for the completion of large projects, especially if there was another emergency repair like the District experienced with Tropical Storm Imelda.

Authorizing the District to issue bonds would allow the Board to spread the costs of the necessary projects over 20-30 years similar to how a mortgage on a home works. This enables the District to complete necessary projects quickly and allows the costs of the required projects to be both spread over a longer timeframe and be shared by both current and future users of the District’s system, including commercial property owners.

Newport MUD’s water and sewer sanitary infrastructure needs critical and immediate repairs. The purpose of the bond election is to request authorization from voters to issue bonds in small increments over time, on an as needed basis, to fund these critical projects and rehabilitation. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the District through our website at: http://www.newportmudtx.org/contact.

Sink Hole at the Effluent Pump Station