As we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the improvements SPLID has made to our levee system in the last year and to inform you about our updated capital improvements plan and upcoming bond election to fund future capital improvements.
In the last year, we have:
- increased capacity in Channels 2 and 3 by 100%, removing more than 500,000 cubic yards of dirt;
- purchased and deployed temporary pumps with 80,000 gallons per minute (gpm) of pumping capacity, which increases our pump capacity by 30%;
- begun the design of a new 270,000 gpm new pump station that will be expandable to 540,000 gpm in the future, thus tripling the current pumping capacity of 260,000 gpm in the south of Sienna;
- asked our engineers to evaluate the levee system and make any and all recommendations that might improve SPLID’s ability to fight floods from both the Brazos River and a Harvey-like rainfall event.
- engaged an independent engineering consultant to review our current levee system and our operating response during Hurricane Harvey (this analysis should be completed within the next month);
- prepared grant applications to the State of Texas for approximately $100 million in new facilities to protect our community.
In addition to all the above, we established a Citizens Advisory Committee made up of five Sienna Plantation residents, to provide input into our planning process and priorities for future capital improvement projects. Last week, at the recommendation of this Committee, we called a bond election for November of this year to allow residents to vote on funding of the more than 32 projects identified through this process. The total amount of bonds to be considered by the voters is $139,000,000, which includes:
- $46,300,000 for channel, storage, and detention projects;
- $6,460,000 for sluice gate projects;
- $42,500,000 for pump station projects;
- $4,370,000 for operations and maintenance projects;
- $25,000,000 for levee structural enhancements and protection projects; and
- $14,010,000 for issuance costs.
In short, it has been a busy year. Where we go from here is now up to you.
Approval of the bond election in November would give SPLID the ability to accelerate the construction of additional pump stations, redundant gate structures, and the installation of a state of the art monitoring system throughout the community. Without the ability to sell bonds, these projects will take 12 years from now to construct and pay for, on a pay-as-you-go basis. If the bond election passes, we can do these projects in half the time, or possibly sooner. Because of our strong financial position, these bonds can be issued with no total SPLID tax rate increase. Over the coming months we will be embarking on an information campaign so that you can make an informed decision in November.