Investigation of the Defined Area of the BCMUD
The undersigned taxpayers and residents of Sendero Springs do hereby petition the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to investigate the Defined Area of the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District (BCMUD), consisting of two non-contiguous properties: Sendero Springs, Sections 2-10 and Cornerstone (now known as Highland Horizons). The two voters in the Defined Area Election did not represent the community living here today nor did they represent the residents of the district in 2002. We argue No Taxation without Representation. We believe that the Election conducted 02/02/2002 by the BCMUD to be unethical and possibly illegal. We believe the lack of direct representation to be an illegal denial of our rights and therefore the laws taxing us are unconstitutional. In 2002 Sendero Springs and Cornerstone were undeveloped; there were no residents. The two voters supposedly lived in a trailer owned by the developer to establish residency and to become registered voters. The two voters were also the election judges. The voters' domicile, also the site of the election, was located on a 1.499 acre lot owned by the BCMUD. Known as the Buffer Lot, it was the previous site of the Brushy Creek North Wastewater Treatment Plant. This lot had a Restrictive Covenant which stated pursuant to the terms of 31 TAC 309.13(e), not to use, or allow any other person or entity to use, any existing or future structure located within the Buffer Zone on the Property as a residence, either temporarily or permanently. The voters' trailer was located where absolutely no structure should have been used as a residence. The Defined Area does not equitably distribute the costs of the water, wastewater and drainage facilities per Texas Water Code 54.804. We believe that the Defined Area produces a heavier than necessary tax burden on the residents of Sendero Springs. In addition, we believe we have been taxed an unnecessary Operations and Maintenance (O&M) tax. We believe that the Defined Area should have been established as two separate defined areas, each responsible for their own water, wastewater and drainage development with separate tax plans. As of January 2009 Sendero Springs has an AV of $ 71.7 million and the residents have contributed over $344,000 in O&M tax. Highland Horizons has an AV of $8.2 million and has contributed (est.) $27,000 in O&M tax. The potential build out for the Defined Area is not equal either. It has been estimated that Sendero Springs will have nearly double the number of single family lots than Highland Horizons. At present, Sendero Springs has 274 homes built of the projected 341 homes (Sections 2-5). No homes are currently built in Highland Horizons. We believe that these facts confirm the cost inequities for residents in Sendero Springs. The estimated construction costs for Sendero Springs Sec. 2-10 (based on plats) was $7,965,341 in 2002, including engineering and contingency. The construction cost for Cornerstone (based on acreage) was $12,799,140. We believe that this fact alone demonstrated sufficient findings NOT to create a single defined area consisting of these two non-contiguous properties. Cornerstone was only a concept plan in 2002. At the time of the election, specific information for this development did not exist. This included the improvements, facilities, plants, equipment, and appliances to be purchased or constructed and their estimated cost, together with maps, plats, profiles, and data fully showing and explaining the report. This documentation is required by the Texas Water Code 49.106(a) Bond Elections. Without these specific details, the BCMUD should not have adopted the Defined Area. The BCMUD has been levying and collecting a Defined Area tax since FY2006. For the first two years a $0.36 O&M tax was levied. In FY2008, the tax rate included $0.33 for O&M and $0.03 for a debt service tax. Beginning with FY2009, no O&M tax is levied instead the tax rate is $0.36 for debt service. We believe that the elimination of the O&M tax and the fact that NO expenditures were made from these revenues proves that there was never a need for this tax. All O&M tax money has been considered surplus funds by the BCMUD. Recently, the BCMUD publicly stated that the projected amount of the tax ($0.36 per $100) was put into place so that there would not be a tax 'shock' when bonds were issued. Taxing to avoid 'shock' is simply not legally justified. We believe the O&M taxes were unnecessarily collected for several reasons. 1. The BCMUD has not presented a detailed budget for any of the Defined Area O&M taxes levied. 2. According to the BCMUD's previous General Manager, Mike Taylor, an O&M tax for the Defined Area is not needed. 3. The district wide O&M tax funds the O&M budget for ALL neighborhoods within the district, including Sendero Springs. 4. No other neighborhoods require an O&M budget for their specific facilities. 5. Sendero Springs does not have plants or processing facilities within the neighborhood. 6. Article IV (called Risk of Loss) in the Utility Development Agreement dated December, 2001 states that the developer is responsible for damage or repair from the start of the development until the bonds are funded then the BCMUD essentially becomes owner of the facilities and becomes responsible for damage or repairs. In January, 2008 the 1st Issue of Bonds for the Defined Area was funded for $2,020,000; in addition, the BCMUD included $225,000 for Capitalized Interest. In spite of having two years of capitalized interest in reserve AND a surplus of funds from O&M tax receipts (approx. $366,000) the BCMUD set a Defined Area tax for FY2009 of $0.36 for debt service. The Defined Area is unfair; it does not equitably distribute the cost of facilities. We, the residents of the Defined Area of Sendero Springs, do not believe that the BCMUD is operating in our best interest. We urge you to investigate this matter before future bonds for the Defined Area are funded. Thank you.