Q: What are we voting on?
The Sienna Plantation Levee Improvement District (“SPLID,” “District”) is asking voters to consider the sale of $139 million in bonds over the next several years to accelerate improvements to the levee and pump systems to make the community more resilient to potential flooding and other natural disasters.
Q: If the levee system held up so well, then why do we need to pay for all this work to be done?
Although the system held up well and prevented flooding to a large majority of our community, Hurricane Harvey dumped approximately 50-54 inches of rain over a four (4) day period. This is roughly ten (10) billion gallons of water. The drainage and pump systems are designed to handle 24 inches over that period. With the amount of rainfall inside the system and the Brazos River at flood stage, the internal lakes and channels could not contain all the water.
We want to improve our system to better handle extreme rainfall events. The most effective way to deal with a major rainfall event like Hurricane Harvey is to add more pumps and increase the size of our lakes and channels.
Q: Specifically, what changes will be made to the levee system?
The total amount of bonds to be considered by voters is $139 million, which includes:
Channel, storage and detention projects;
- Sluice gate projects;
- Pump station projects;
- Operations and maintenance projects; and
- Structural levee enhancements and protection projects
A full list of projects can be found here.
Q: How will homeowners be able to monitor progress on these improvements, as well as any quality control measures and safe guards that are put in place? How often will we receive transparent and up-to-date communication regarding these projects and through what method of communication?
The Board of Directors for the District meets monthly and meetings are open to the public. All of the plans and specifications are public records and may be requested at any time.
Additionally, the District will update its website to provide an additional vehicle of communications. The website is a source for you to find updates on capital improvement projects, maps and meeting notices.
Q: What’s the schedule for construction/completion of these projects? What projects will be the top priority?
If the bond election passes, we anticipate construction of all the projects within five to seven (5-7) years. If the bond election fails, the District anticipates it will take 13-15 years to complete all the projects on a pay as you go basis.
A full list of projects can be found here.
Q: Will my SPLID tax rate go up?
No. The District’s finance plan calls for no tax rate increase from the current rate of $.45. In fact, the tax rate is anticipated to begin declining in 2025 even with the passage of the bond election. Without the bond election, paying for projects on a pay as you go basis, the tax rate would need to remain at $.45 through 2032.
Q: What will this do to my SPLID taxes?
The proposed bonds would be sold without any tax rate increase to the SPLID.
Looking at the debt service tax rate, the average impact over the life of the bonds (versus no additional bonds sold) is approximately $0.1291 per $100 of assessed valuation or roughly $495/year based on the 2018 average taxable homestead amount of $383,382. Alternatively, the District’s tax rate without the bond election is projected to stay at $0.45 per $100 of assessed valuation until at least 2031 in order to pay for the projects with available cash while the projected tax rate in the bond election scenario is estimated to start decreasing in 2025.
In the cash financing scenario, the overall tax rate would stay elevated for longer, negatively impacting homeowners more so, than the bonding scenario which would decrease tax rates much sooner.
In terms of a timeline, the entire $139 million Capital Improvement Plan could be completed within five to seven (5-7) years through bonding versus a minimum of 13-15 years through a cash financing option (based on the SPLID’s current budget).
Q: How did we develop the project list?
Our engineer and operator did a complete review of all of the levee and drainage systems and developed a list of recommendations. The SPLID then established a citizens advisory committee who reviewed the recommendations and selected and prioritized the projects.
In addition, the SPLID hired a third party engineering firm to do a peer review to validate the existing system and comment on proposed improvements.
Q: Where can I find more information about the Levee Improvement District Bond Election?
Visit us at http://www.siennalid.org/ to obtain further information. Click on the 2018 Bond Election tab.
Q: Where can I vote?
Please visit the Ft. Bend County website here to obtain further information, including early voting and election day poll locations.
Q: When can I vote?
Early Voting – October 22-November 2
Election Day – Tuesday, November 6, 2018