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Bonham City Council studies improvements to streets, water distribution system
By Allen Rich
Oct 25, 2017
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Bonham -- In a special called meeting Monday, October 23, Bonham City Council approved further studies regarding improvements to the city water system and streets, and councilmembers also voted to honor the third year of the auditing agreement with McClanahan & Holmes.

As the City of Bonham continues to make improvements to the wastewater system, councilmembers were briefed on the need to upgrade the water distribution system, including the need for a second waterline from the water treatment plant at Lake Bonham to the city as a matter of public safety.

"We need to protect our most valuable asset -- water," remarked Bonham City Manager Sean Pate. "If we have good infrastructure, we can grow."

The next step would be to develop an application to Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) in hopes of securing funding for water infrastructure improvements at the lowest interest rates possible, however all design work must be completed and beforehand and submitted to TWDB along with the application.  If TWDB approves the application, the City of Bonham would be reimbursed for the cost of the design work.

The estimated cost to fund improvements to the city's water infrastructure would be $8.9 million for a comprehensive upgrade.

Bonham City Council voted unanimously to continue to explore water system improvements.

Councilmembers also discussed possible action regarding future street improvements. It is important to note that improvements to water infrastructure and streets must be done in conjunction to avoid damaging new pavement while working on waterlines.

The City of Bonham already has a comprehensive study of the current condition of streets that highlights priorities for this project. The question facing Bonham City Council is whether to pay for street repairs by raising the tax rate, utilizing a transportation fee concept, or employing both strategies in order to spread and minimize the impact.

Bonham has an A+ bond rating, which is favorable for a city of this size, and interest rates are relatively low, although trending higher.

Councilmembers voted unanimously to explore the best options to repair city streets on a priority basis.

The cost of repairing top-priority streets as well as improving the water distribution system is estimated to be $10 million, with Certificates of Obligations seen as the likely funding mechanism.

In other business, councilmember Tony Rodriguez made a motion that the City of Bonham should honor the third year of its contract with auditing firm McClanahan & Holmes. The motion was seconded by councilmember Jerry Gay and the motion was passed unanimously by Bonham City Council.  City staff will notify other accounting firms of this development.

Dave Struchtemeyer, CPA, Director of Finance for the City of Bonham, briefed councilmembers on the September 2017 Financial Report.

"For the year revenue is under budget $235,000 of which $75,000 is offset in favorable street materials cost which reduced our draw on bond revenue," Mr. Struchtemeyer stated. "The rest of the $160,000 unfavorable revenue variance was in franchise fees, which were 50% of the variance and the rest of the variance was from lower than expected campsite fees, municipal court fees and sale of property."

"On the expense side," Struchtemeyer continued, "we were unfavorable in the medical claims cost and the cost to bring the landfill into compliance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)."