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LCRA hikes impact fees for wastewater customers in western Travis

Thursday, November 20, 2008 by Jacob Cottingham

The Lower Colorado River Authority has approved an 84 percent increase in the impact fees it will change for wastewater water customers in western Travis County who want additional connections or service. At its monthly meeting on Wednesday, the LCRA Board also allocated $1.5 million to improve a pumping station in the same part of the county. 


The board unanimously approved a maximum allowable impact fee of $5,250 per living unit equivalent for wastewater customers. A living unit equivalent is the amount of water typically used by a single suburban home. The current fee is $2,850 per LUE and the new assessment will become effective January 1, 2009. The LCRA expects to raise an additional $154,800 in impact fees collected for FY2009. The extra funds will go toward the West Travis County Wastewater System’s capital plan and reduce debt service.


The Board followed a lengthy process in order to increase the fee, beginning with an “Impact Fee Study for the West Travis County Wastewater System,” which was started in October 2007. A seven-member advisory team assisted LCRA staff in preparing land use assumptions on which the fees are based.


In May, the board adopted the land use assumptions and the projected capital improvement plan with the support of the advisory team. The affected area will be around the City of Bee Caves, RM 2244, SH 71, FM 3238 and RR 620, essentially the area of service for the Lake Pointe Wastewater Treatment Plant.


LCRA spokesperson Emlea Chanslor told In Fact Daily the lack of public speakers was not a surprise to the organization. “This was an update to the impact fee and did not involve an expansion of the service area,” she noted, adding that the affected area serves only about 1,500 connections.


The LCRA board also approved an acceleration of funding toward pumping station improvements in western Travis County. Because of greater than expected growth, the County Line Pump Station needs to be expanded. The station is currently is rated at 1,800 gallons per minute but can expand to 3,600 gpm. That expansion was slated to begin in Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011 and will now be moved to 2009.


Dennis Daniel, the manager for Customer and Business Strategies explained the rush in the project. “If we wait until FY 2010 there’s a high risk customers in that part of the system would run out of water and would have boil water notices and empty tanks. This is due to higher demand than we forecasted and expected when we first set the capital plan and approved it.” In addition, he said the drought has created conditions that exceed the capacity of the existing pump station.


The pump serves customers in northern Hays County including Dripping Springs. By delaying the lower priority project of the SH 71 water treatment plant, the LCRA hopes to remain within its budget for this coming fiscal year.

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