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HIGHLANDS: $16m water improvements on Nov. 3 ballot

HIGHLANDS – The Highlands water district will hold a meeting next Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 6:00 p.m. at the Community Center to present information to the public on a Bond Referendum package that will appear on the Nov. 3rd ballots for local residents.

The tax exempt bonds in the amount of $16 million dollars, to be spent over the next 8 years, will ensure that customers have properly functioning water supply and sewer treatment facilities.

Harris County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 is the sole water and sewer service provider for Highlands and surrounding areas, since 1939.

Mark Taylor, manager of the waterdistrict, stated that an engineering study by LJA engineers had been conducted, to assess current conditions and plan for systemwide improvements. Their recommendations are:

At the wastewater treatment plant, to replace outdated equipment 60 years old, add new controls and meet new state standards;

At the wastewater collection system, replace two existing lift stations and eliminate another;

At the water plant on Battlebell, renovate and return the plant to service, and rehabilitate the 35 year old elevated storage tank;

At the water distribution system, replace aging lines some of which are over 70 years old, and increase pipe size as necessary.

The Bond will be paid for by a small tax increase, according to Taylor. The amount would initially be about 8 cents per $100 assessed value, with an increase in 2018 of 18 cents and in 2024 of 16 cents. The total impact of the taxes would be about $430 for a $100,000 home by the year 2024. This final tax rate is $.63/$100, compared with other nearby areas, of $.55/$100 in Crosby MUD, $.68/$100 in Lake MUD east of Highlands, and $1.12/$100 in Barrett Station.

Voters will be asked to approve the bonds, on the November ballot. Early voting starts Oct. 19 to 30 at any Harris County early voting location, and on Nov. 3 at the Highlands Community Center and the Highlands Elementary School.