Thursday, April 14, 2016

Solutions to the Aubrey water system for all residents-

When the Aubrey mayor and city staff came to the city council with a proposal of 5.5 million dollars of additional debt to expand our current water system, I was understandably concerned. I hoped that other solutions would be considered, unfortunately that was not to be the case. My initial ideas centered on developing a relationship with Mustang Special Utility District. When I floated the idea of Aubrey completely getting out of the water business and selling our system to Mustang, I was surprised that most of the citizens I spoke with thought it was a good idea.

In light of what has come to our attention regarding the dilapidated sewer system in the old part of town, selling our system to Mustang may the only option that makes sense. This would prevent the spending of the 5.5 million dollars, as well as wiping out the 2.7 million that Aubrey already owes on the water/wastewater system. That’s a swing of 8.2 million dollars of debt that would be erased. Additionally, I feel that we could get more than that for our system, including money to repair the horrible Aubrey streets and negotiate the required upgrading of the aging sewer system, this appears to be the only way that these things will get repaired in our lifetimes anyway. Considering Mustang's water rates are almost 30% lower than Aubrey's, it would result in lower water bills for our citizens.

Under the current Aubrey plan, 5.5 million dollars of debt will be used to build new water infrastructure and over the next 4 years the rates will increase another 20%. However, there is no provisions to provide permanent repairs and upgrades to the existing water system. The city has known about these problems for decades but has never been able to “afford” to repair the sewer system in the older part of town. Yes, that is correct, we’re spending 5.5 million to expand the water system, when we can’t afford to maintain what we’re currently responsible for.

In 30 days this argument will be null and void. Once the bonds are issued there is virtually no turning back. Dramatic and courageous steps need to be taken by the Aubrey city council. Otherwise the citizens who live in the older part of town can expect to have raw sewage running through their yards for years to come, all the while their rates are growing higher and higher to make payments on the bond.  It makes no sense for us to spend 5.5 million dollars on one hand, and tell those who live on the older part of town that we cannot afford to repair their dilapidated sewer system on the other.

It seems that some of our council members have completely missed the point on this issue.   While the 5.5 million dollar expenditure is not insignificant, the most egregious act of the Aubrey City Council is not repairing the dilapidated sewer before expanding the system.  I know that some of those on Aubrey City Council have publicly declared that they have not made a decision that they cannot "live with”.  But I wonder if the people who have to deal with the raw sewage running through their yards can "live with" their decisions.

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