Council approves Turtle Creek 1 sewer project
Published 10:17 am Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Property owners at the Turtle Creek 1 neighborhood will soon get sewer and water service from the city of Austin.
Only two property owners who attended an Austin City Council meeting Monday opposed putting in a city water system on the property, while only one property owner objected to the sewer project.
The council approved both projects and accepted a $962,000 bid from R.L. Larson to build the systems, which Public Works Director Steven Lang said could happen as soon as next month.
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“We’re at a point where we are getting close to starting this project,” Lang told the council.
Several Turtle Creek 1 homeowners have tried to get sewer and water access to the neighborhood, formerly of Austin Township, since 2013.
Of the 28 properties in question, 16 are deemed eminent public health threats due to poor sewer systems, while another 10 properties have non-compliant sewer systems under county and state guidelines.
The council formally approved the annex in late 2013, and work went under way to hook those residents up to the city’s sewer and water grid.
Public Works Director Steven Lang gave a presentation on the Turtle Creek 1 projects last year, showing the sewer hookup would cost about $22,900 per property for the sewer project, and about $9,500 to install the water main in the neighborhood. The project could include a potential street paving project for about $4,600 and a water service hookup for about $1,500, should residents wish to have that included.
Yet after consulting with Austin Utilities, city officials found the cost to complete those projects would rise.
That didn’t deter many residents from continuing to pursue the project. Larry Ashley told the council he and his wife have very poor water from their well and need to use other water sources for things as basic as laundry.
“Those of us that have got bad water now, we’re dead,” he said.
Yet property owner Brad Anderson, whose home is currently compliant, objected to both projects as his systems work well on their own.
“My water is just fine,” he said.
City officials secured $461,000 from a Point Source Implementation Grant, as well as another $98,000 to help bring costs down after project bids came in much higher than anticipated.
City staff are also giving Turtle Creek 1 residents a little more leeway when it comes to hooking up to the city’s systems. Residents can either pay the assessment cost for planned sewer work all at once, over the next 15 years, or wait to hook up to the sewer system.
The two homes with compliant sewer systems can apply for waivers every three years moving forward before hooking up to the city.
City staff are using an assessment model with Turtle Creek 1 residents rather than its recently designed sewer access fee charge as the city began working on the project before the fee was in place.