Growth in the city of Brownsville is booming. Building for the future includes laying the groundwork for infrastructure. Brownsville growth projections through 2020 show the city adding new residential, commercial and manufacturing to the northwest and southwest. All this new city development will mean that more water and wastewater services are needed. Since not all city zones are seeing growth the BPUB worked with the city commission to calculate an equitable way to fund the needed service expansions.
In Spring and Summer 2016, the BPUB unveiled its Water & Wastewater Impact Fee plan to the Brownsville City Commission Capital Improvements Advisory Committee. On Oct. 4, 2016, commissioners adopted the impact fees. The water and wastewater impact fees will fund 10-year projected growth improvements in areas of the city zones designated as one, two and three. The adopted zone one water and wastewater combined impact fees are $800 and $1,600 for zones two and three. Impact fees were effective immediately.
The capital improvement projects (CIP) zone one is located in south central Brownsville (downtown area) and is bounded on the north by FM 802 and on the east by FM 511. Zone two includes the area of FM 802, to the north city limits; it is bounded by FM 511 on the east and US281 on the west. Zone three is delineated on the south by FM 511 and extends northeasterly towards the Port of Brownsville. Designations were made based on historical growth, city of Brownsville Master Plan and the city land use assumption plan (also known as the LUAP).
After analyzing expected city growth, ARCADIS an independent consulting firm, determined the assignment of impact fees, due to new city growth rather than existing system customers. Maximum allowable impact fees were determined based on CIP amounts divided by an Equivalent Single Family Connection (ESFC) that consumes the amount of water requiring a standard 3/4” meter known as an Equivalent Service Unit (ESU). An ESU refers to the basic service unit determining the level or quantity of use of existing facilities with excess capacity, proposed capital improvements or facility expansions for the purpose of assessing a water and/or wastewater impact fee.
Zone one water and wastewater capital projects will total $1.9 million. These capital improvements will mean new connections, to the water and wastewater collection system.
Zone two and three water and wastewater capital projects will total $20.5 million for build-outs of water and wastewater systems.
The city of Brownsville complied with Texas Local Government Code Chapter 395 which governs impact fees. Impact fees allow cities to collect funds when they anticipate future city growth and fund utility expansions. Cities use impact fees to minimize debt financing for these city growth-related improvements.