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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Council approves engineer study for joint venture with Arlington

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Two cities in serious negotiations over water/sewer operations

Last week, the Kennedale City Council met in special session for one issue, the approval of an engineering study that would assist the city in evaluating a proposed agreement with the City of Arlington involving the operation of Kennedale?s water and sewer system. {{more: continue …}}The study was approved on a 4-1 vote.
The proposed interlocal agreement between the City of Kennedale and the City of Arlington is now in the nuts and bolts stage. Both city councils have been given presentations and each have allowed their city staff to begin hammering out the details and filling in the framework of the proposal.

The essence of the agreement is that for a fee, the City of Arlington would take over the operation and maintenance of both the water and sewer systems of Kennedale. In return Kennedale citizens would see immediate relief in lower water/sewer bills and the City of Kennedale would benefit from the larger resources available to Arlington in upgrading and maintaining the city’s system.

Kennedale City Manager George Campbell was looking for something to be presented to both city councils within 60 to 90 days.
outline of the propose agreement …?
The general outline of the agreement would:?
  • make Arlington responsible for the operation and maintenance of Kennedale?s water and wastewater system while Kennedale would retain ownership of all utility assets in place at the time of the agreement.?
  • give Kennedale water and sewer users a rate that would significantly reduce costs for residents.? It would be the same rate as Arlington user but an alternative rate system that would still see lower cost for users.?
  • allow Kennedale water department employees (approximately 10) to be hired by Arlington at wages and benefits currently available to similar employees in Arlington. Kennedale employees would have to pass the same pre-employment screening as other Arlington hires.
  • maintain current agreements with other entities in regards to water and sewer, i.e. Fort Worth.? These agreements would be effect until contractual dates expire.?
  • would be for 2 years in the initial phase and be renewal in 5 year increments. This first two years will allow both sides to evaluate the marriage before continuing.?
  • would paid Arlington an annual fee to that would include the initial cost of connecting to the Arlington system; the upkeep and maintenance of the system along with the development of a capital improvement plan by Arlington for the Kennedale system.?
  • would allow Arlington the right to transmit water through Kennedale lines to other Arlington customers as needed at a set fee payable to Kennedale.?
why this makes sense?
A look at the numbers gives a more complete picture.
  • Kennedale has a little less than 3,000 water customer while Arlington has over 100,000.?
  • Cost for Kennedale to operate and maintain their water/sewer system is currently $301.10 per customer while Arlington?s is just $51.20.?
  • ?The average water and sewer bill in Kennedale is $113.44 while the average bill in Arlington is $57.95.?
  • In order to guarantee enough funds to maintain the water and sewer system in both good and bad times, Kennedale has a fixed fee of $26.00 for water and $36.00 for sewer per month regardless of usage. Arlington has fixed fees for water and sewer of $10.30 and $12.94 respectively.?
In other words, Arlington can do it much cheaper while maintaining quality because they are able to spread maintenance, operation and system update cost over a much larger customer base.
no relief for this summer ?
This is complicated agreement. Campbell calls it one with ?a lot of moving parts to it.?
Getting down to the nitty gritty includes the engineering reports that will examine the how the two systems will merge, how the the initial cost of this joint venture will covered and how to make it cost effective for both sides in the long run. The latter issue will be major concern city council members in both cities. They will have the final say in the matter.?
If there is an agreement, it might not come until Indian summer.?

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