||New flood maps may effect premiums
Special to The Monitor
DENTONHenderson County residents and business owners who do not have flood insurance
are encouraged to buy coverage now to get the best possible premiums before new flood
insurance rate maps go into effect.
New flood maps become effective April 5.
The new flood insurance rate maps show locations of the 1 percent and .2 percent
floodplains and floodways, which indicate possible flooding risks for residences and
Property owners need to know that this could mean a change in their floodplain status.
We encourage residents to look at the flood maps now and to be familiar with flood
risks in the community, FEMA regional administrator Tony Russell said. The
maps can help residents make informed decisions about flood insurance and flood
While many people are required by mortgage and lending companies to have flood insurance
(especially in the wake of Hurricane Katrina), FEMA and the National Flood Insurance
Program strongly recommend that all area residents have flood insurance.
The reason is simple: You dont have to be in a mapped floodplain to have a flood.
Floodplain administrators (FPA) in each community have copies of the maps available for
public viewing. Residents should contact their local FPA to determine if they will be
impacted by map changes.
In addition, current policy holders and those planning to purchase flood insurance
protection are strongly encouraged to contact their insurance agent or company to ensure
that they have adequate coverage and that policies account for new flood risk data.
Homeowners who purchase flood insurance prior to April 5 may be able to grandfather the
current Flood Zone saving money on flood insurance. More information on flood insurance is
available at www.floodsmart.gov.
Earned Income Tax Credit helps families
Special to The Monitor
AUSTINTexas Comptroller Susan Combs says a slow economy means more Texas families
may qualify to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on their federal income tax.
2009 was a tough year and many people lost jobs or took home less pay. But if you
worked full- or part-time for at least part of 2009, the Earned Income Tax Credit could
put money back in your pocket., Combs said.
EITC refunds are based on family size and income.
Families with three or more children and less than $48,279 in earned income during 2009
may qualify for a tax credit up to $5,657.
The EITC is also available to families with two children and an earned income less than
$45,295, who can claim a tax credit up to $5,028.
Families with one child earning less than $40,463 may qualify for a tax credit up to
For a childless family earning less than $18,440, a credit up to $457 is available.
More information about how to qualify for the EITC, printable materials for businesses and
community organizations to distribute and helpful links to IRS tax forms and publications
can be found on the Comptrollers Web site at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/eitc/
or by calling the IRS at (800) 829-1040. Information is also available about the
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which offers qualifying taxpayers free tax
preparation assistance and free electronic tax filing at many locations.
Last year, more than 2.3 million Texans claimed the credit and received more than
$5.3 billion in EITC refunds, Combs said.
Thats an average of $2,313 per qualifying household, bringing financial relief
to families and a boost to the Texas economy, she added.
Water, sewer rate increases on tap
Residential water up $1 sewer rates increase $1.10
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITYWater and sewer rates are going up come May 1.
The typlical residential customer served by East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District
will see about $2.10 added to the combined water and sewer service bill.
Rising costs of lab tests, salaries, fees, chemicals and needed repairs are impacting the
budget, with $109,987 additional expenses for fiscal year (FY) 2011, general manager Bill
The board of directors responded by approving a $1 raise to the minimum base water rate
and a 50-cent increase to the base wastewater rate Wednesday.
In addition, the district is introducing an incremental fee structure that encourages
Most of the districts 5,000 residential customers use less than 3,000 gallons a
month, and will see no change in their rate of $3.25 per 1,000 gallons.
Those using 3,001 gallons up to 10,000 gallons will pay $3.50 per gallon, and those using
more than this will pay $3.75 per gallon.
On the sewer side of the bill, the average residential customer will see an increase of
$1.10 per month, which includes the 50-cent base pay increase and 20-cent use increase
from $3.65 per 1,000 gallons to $3.85.
Also, the billing cap on sewer service use has increased from $43.54 to $45.12 on 5,365
gallons of usage.
This rate structure should be sufficient for two fiscal years, given the completion
of the Mabank water acquisition, general manager Bill Goheen told directors during
Wednesdays budget workshop.
Base rates on both water and wastewater were increased $1.50 Feb. 18, 2009, and wastewater
usage was increased 15 cents.
After reviewing all the impacts to the proposed FY 2011 budget and the areas where the
district is able to see a savings, directors approved a $4,887,733 budget.
The fiscal year begins April 1, but the increase in service rates dont take effect
until May 1.
The budget calls for nearly $3 million in expenses and $1.465 million in bonds and debt
service. The new rates should generate about a $79,436 for the operating reserve with
$324,000 set aside for capital improvements.
The debt ratio is set at 1.29, increasing to 1.30 with the Mabank meters purchase.
Directors also approved a contract with the city of Trinidad for the bulk purchase of raw
water at a 25 percent cost savings over what it has been getting from the Tarrant Regional
Water District (TRWD), which owns Cedar Creek Reservoir.
The 50-year contract stipulates the purchase of 288 million gallons of raw water, or about
60 percent of the districts total water consumption.
TRWD approved the deal, as it seeks to solidify its many water allocations to a number
that corresponds to the actual amount available.
Trinidad was given water rights to the reservoir when it was being developed because of
its interference with its own city lake, and that is the reason why it can sell its
portion at no cost, Goheen explained.
Mabank water acquisition
Directors learned a ruling was handed down March 9, giving Gun Barrel City status as a
party to the sale intervention proceedings, so the issue is set to be heard July 13-15 in
The question is supposed to be whether ECCFWSD is capable of providing consistent service
to the approximate 700 or so water meters residing in Gun Barrel City currently served by
the city of Mabank, district attorney Mark Zeppa explains in his brief to the court.
If so, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality should be able to effectuate the
transfer of the portion of Mabanks CCN (Certificate of Convenience and Necessity) to
TCEQ does not need to approve the sale, only the transfer of the CCN, Zeppa stated.
In real numbers, the meters in question would bring in additional water revenues of about
Should the sale see completion while the bond rates remain constant, ECCFWSD plans to
transfer the new customers over to its system within the year following the sale.
As they are tied into the ECCFWSD system, they will pay the districts rates.
Those still on Mabanks system will continue paying their current rates set by
Mabank, as ECCFWSD will still have to pay Mabank for their continued water service to
those customers until they can be tied into the new system.
In other business, directors:
heard a request from the City of Payne Springs to obtain an acre of property, along
with the Payne Springs Fire and Rescues requested two acres.
approved updated the Customer Service Resolution Policy to reflect the new rates.
approved a pay raise for the general manager discussed in closed session. Directors
Carol Meyer and Jim Boyle opposed the pay raise, saying it was too high, though they
commended the general managers performance. The motion passed 5-2.
directed KSA Engineers to commence with TCEQs Sanitary Sewer Overflow study.
KSA president Joncie Young told directors that costs this year would be minimal, while
discussions commence between KSA and TCEQ, using data collected from previous I&I
Its a proactive program that requires commitment and follow-through on
whatever plan is adopted, Young said.
My goal is to reduce I&I by 50 percent to 60 percent through the 10-year
process, Goheen said.
The majority of the expenses should come down during the six- to eight-year period
of the program, Goheen added. By then, the district should be in good shape
debt-wise, so specific areas can be targeted.
This is just to get us started, until we can see the total scope of what were
talking about, Young concluded.