Texas Water Development Board Approves $238,000 Planning Grant for Aldine CID

AUSTIN, TEXAS—The Texas Water Development Board yesterday approved $238,210 in grant funds for a regional water supply and wastewater facility study in Aldine.

The study will provide hard data regarding needed facilities and infrastructure improvements in Aldine, a schedule for implementation, alternatives for funding, and capital and operating cost estimates.

Now the TWDB and the Aldine Community Improvement District must agree on a contract for services, a process that generally takes about 30 days, said Phyllis Thomas, TWDB director of research and planning, grant management division.

Created by the State Legislature, the Aldine CID has the authority to plan and develop a water or sewer system within its boundaries once the 18-month study is complete.

The district is also authorized to create or contract with a separate for-profit or not-for-profit corporation to develop and maintain such a system.

The grant represents the first step in a multi-year process to replace Aldine’s current water, sewer, and drainage facilities—a piecemeal arrangement that relegates more than half of all homes in the district to shallow fresh water wells that are often contaminated by nearby sewer septic tanks.

“This (grant approval) is a major accomplishment for a district that’s just 18 months old,” said Clyde Bailey, Aldine CID board president. “A lot of credit goes to (State Rep.) Kevin Bailey, who pushed this grant through and lined up in-kind contributions, and to the Harris County commissioners, who adopted a resolution for this grant application on our behalf and provided substantial in-kind contributions.

“Looking forward, I believe that all other improvements in the district – safety, beautification, business development, everything – will flow from this first success,” said Bailey.
Total cost for the TWDB planning study is $419,273. Through the efforts of State Representative Kevin Bailey, the district secured a number of in-kind pledges that will reduce its cost to just $25,000.

In-kind contributions brokered by Rep. Bailey include: $76,950 in legal services from the law firm of Bracewell & Patterson, $68,760 in mapping and engineering services from Harris County, and $67,500 in inspection services from the Texas On-site Wastewater Association.

Once the TWDB study and plan are complete, Aldine CID may call on Harris County, the State Legislature, federal and state matching grants, municipal utility district bonds, and rate-payer revenue to support the actual project.

A lack of public services, such as those addressed by this grant, has left Aldine largely unable to compete economically with its neighbors to the north, south, and west over the past two decades.

In fact, Aldine’s aging water and sewer facilities increasingly pose risks to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens and the area’s economic viability, according to David Hawes, Aldine CID executive director.

“We believe this (grant approval) is the single most critical factor in improving the physical, social, and economic well being of the Aldine community and the foundation upon which all other improvements will occur,” said Hawes.

The Aldine Community Improvement District was established by the Texas Legislature in 2001 to address public issues not otherwise provided by the state, county, or city.

In August 2001, voters of the district approved a one-cent sales tax that took effect January 1, 2002 and is expected to generate annual revenue of $800,000 to $1 million.

The Aldine CID is bordered roughly by the Hardy Toll Road, F.M. 525, U.S. 59, and Little York.