Utility Debt Service Fee - Twin Creeks & Bella Vista
If you live in Twin Creeks or Bella Vista, you may have noticed a Utility Debt Service fee on your monthly Water Utility statement. This fee is related to the annexation of these neighborhoods that took place in December of 2014. Twin Creeks and Bella Vista were previously located in Water Control and Improvement Districts (WCIDs) or Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs), which had pre-existing debt that was absorbed by the City upon annexation. This type of debt is not typically paid by the City for other residential developments within the City and is not serviced under the uniform tax rate, so in order to service this assumed debt the City imposes a Debt Service Fee to residents of Twin Creeks and Bella Vista for a term not to exceed 15 years. Further information is detailed below. For additional questions related to this fee, please contact Utility Billing at 512-401-5300 or by email.
The City Council voted on December 11, 2014 to annex Twin Creeks (WCID 1F and 1G) and Bella Vista (Bella Vista MUD) under a voluntary full-purpose annexation, effective December 22, 2014. Residents received informational packets in the mail regarding the annexation and city services. You can read an electronic version of the Welcome Packet (PDF).
Following are some frequently asked questions with links to answers about the reasons for the annexation and the process leading up to it. Click on each link to find a detailed explanation in response to each question.
- What is this all about?
This is a full purpose voluntary annexation of the Twin Creeks Water Control and Improvement Districts 1F and 1G, and Bella Vista Municipal Utility District ("Districts") by the City of Cedar Park.
In 2011, Emergency Services District Number 14 (ESD Number 14) cancelled their fire service contract with the City of Cedar Park. Following that, residents of Twin Creeks and Bella Vista approached the City of Cedar Park about providing Cedar Park Fire Department fire and first responder services. The City of Cedar Park worked with the Districts to develop a means for annexation that provides residents with the services they want.
- What is the Utility Debt Service Fee on my monthly water bill?
Each of the Districts incurred substantial debt related to the developer's installation of water and wastewater infrastructure; this debt was paid for by each District with its tax revenues. This debt was assumed by the City upon full purpose annexation; however, this type of debt is not typically paid by the City for other residential developments within the City and is not be serviced under the City's uniform tax rate. In order to service this assumed debt for each District, the City imposes a Utility Debt Service Fee to residents of Twin Creeks and Bella Vista for a term not to exceed 15 years. The fee is assessed monthly on their water bill. The fee is based on each Districts' individual debt level (see Exhibit A).
Exhibit A: Monthly Fee Based on Individual District Debt
District Monthly Fee (Per Residential Unit or Equivalent) Annual Total (Monthly Fee × 12) Term Not to Exceed 15 Years Twin Creeks 1F $22 $264 Twin Creeks 1G $44 $528 Bella Vista $22.50 $270
- How does this annexation impact my local property taxes?
To learn more by viewing examples, visit the Annexation Impact on Local Property Taxes page.
- Why does each District pay a different monthly fee?
The monthly fee is based on each individual District's debt for water and wastewater utility infrastructure installed by the developer for the subdivision. In these Districts, unlike in the City, developers are reimbursed by the District for these infrastructure costs through bonds issued by the District. Upon annexation by the City, the City must take over payments on these bonds which is not done for subdivisions built by developers in the City limits. The fee is different in each District because the amount of debt on this utility infrastructure is different in each district. For example, the reason the fee is higher in 1G than in 1F or Bella Vista is because 1G has approximately triple the amount of outstanding debt as the other districts; this is probably due to the way in which the original developer allocated the cost of infrastructure improvements within the districts.
- What governmental entities will I be part of?
After annexation in 2014 residents became residents of the City of Cedar Park and Travis County. Travis County taxes will not change as a result of this annexation.
- Am I eligible for a “Senior Tax Freeze?”
Under the City's tax rate, residents over the age of 65 may be eligible for a "Seniors Tax Freeze." Under this, the levy is frozen at age 65 and older. In other words, the dollar amount a homeowner over the age of 65 pays towards their local property tax will remain steady regardless of tax rate or home valuation changes. In order for a homeowner to be eligible for this in Travis County (therefore served by Travis County Appraisal District (TCAD)), they must be over 65 and submit paperwork to TCAD requesting the freeze. This would go into effect the tax year after paperwork is filed and it is approved. For example, if I was approved for the freeze today, I would pay the bill that will be sent this year as it is and then in future years, my payment will match this year's payment.
The payments may change if the levy would decrease and it would reset to the lowered amount or could increase if improvements are added and the improvements would require a year to freeze amounts.