Buda OKs bond issuance for regional water project

The Buda City Council unanimously approved the issuance of $4.37 million in revenue bonds as part of the city’s participation in a regional water supply contract with the Alliance Regional Water Authority (ARWA) at its regular meeting Oct. 15.
The project will supply, beginning in 2023, water the city “sorely needs in the future as we continue to grow,” Mayor George Haehn said prior to the vote.
Graham Moore, ARWA executive director, told council members prior to the vote that the project, which will deliver water from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer to Buda as well as the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority, the cities of Lockhart and New Braunfels and other entities, is currently in the process of engineering design and easement acquisition, adding that of 325 required easements, only one has been agreed on.
“Obviously, there is a lot ahead of us,” he said.
Construction on the project, which includes a new water treatment plant, treated water pipes, pumps and delivery points, is expected to begin in early 2021.
The project will also utilize SWIFT funding from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), Moore said. SWIFT funding, which borrowed from the state’s “rainy day” fund, was approved by voters in 2013.
Moore, who made similar presentations on Oct. 15 to the city councils of Kyle and San Marcos, said the 20-year note has been secured with an interest rate of 2.6 percent, which will result in an overall savings of $556,000.
Council member Lee Urbanovsky, who represents the at-large Position 1, pressed Moore on the project’s finances. “How is the project looking overall as far as budget,” he asked.
Moore said that although estimates are now running a little high, meetings were in the works to seek input from the ARWA Board on how to bring costs down.
“It’s difficult to estimate what costs will look like in 18 months,” Moore said, “but I’m confident we are finding ways to reduce the costs. There is a potential we might come back and ask for additional funding but I think we will find the right balance. Everybody is interested in keeping the cost of the project low as long as we don’t sacrifice the long-term viability of the project.”
The bond issuance is the second of three the city will be asked to approve. In total, Buda’s portion of the project will be just over $10.8 million.
The ARWA board is composed of representatives of the cities of Buda, Kyle and San Marcos and Canyon Regional Water Authority.

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