In the realm of district engineering, seamless maintenance and management of all essential services is the District Engineer’s primary objective and responsibility. With aging infrastructure requiring consistent attention, the district summons resources, primarily through bonds, to finance critical improvements and repairs. One of the most interesting services that EHRA Engineering’s District Services practice area offers is the research and coordination with multiple consultants in preparation for bond elections. Most recently, EHRA assisted Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 43 in passing a $48 million bond election in May of 2023.
Authorization of funds for bonds is meticulously planned for during District creation. As the District nears its limit of authorized bonds, EHRA analyzes the current and future infrastructure needs. We look at the aging sanitary sewer and water line facilities, possible annexations, district population growth and more. As District Engineer, EHRA gathers all necessary data to prepare a Summary of Costs for the District and forecasts their needs for the next 20 to 30 years. In coordination with the attorney and the financial advisor to the District, the Summary of Costs accounts for the rehabilitation projects, inflation and interest rates. After careful review from District consultants, the Summary of Costs is presented to the board for approval.
Community engagement proves paramount during bond elections. Public town hall meetings serve as a platform for addressing questions and showcasing detailed maps highlighting the imperative need for rehabilitating sanitary sewer structures, waterlines and drainage systems. The breakdown of costs over the projected 30-year period presents a deeper understanding among the constituents, resulting in a more informed voting process.
The successful HCMUD 43 bond election is a testament to the collective effort in maintaining sustainable growth within the community. It not only substantiates the detailed planning exercised by EHRA but also the unwavering commitment to public welfare. That being said, the process of creating a bond for the districts is not without challenges. Forecasting future requirements and the evolving community needs presents a significant hurdle. Communicating the nature of bond elections to the public and clarifying misconceptions about potential tax implications requires a delicate balance of transparency and expertise. Although challenging, the most rewarding part in working on these types of services is the unique role that we play in serving our community.
HCMUD 43 marks one of dozens of bonds EHRA has been institutionally involved in for MUD districts in the Greater Houston region. As EHRA continues its efforts in supporting community growth and resilience, the positive impact of our collaborative endeavors with the districts and their communities extends well beyond the scope of infrastructure development.