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Infrastructure

Long Island Village Infrastructure Project
Laguna Madre Water District (LMWD) Bond Issue & Project Authority
Information sources include BOD Announcements and Public Records
 
 
 
April 11, 2024 Update
The agreement between LMWD and LIV was signed and recorded at Cameron County Courthouse.
 
LMWD has contacted SWG to start the bidding process. The bidding will start April 14-20. They will advertise in the newspapers and internet, including AGC, BidNet and Texas Wafer 2024 and BidNet. 
 
There will be a mandatory pre-bid conference on May 17 which will be in the Arts & Crafts room in LIV.
 
They will open bids on week May 28-31.
 
LMWD then will put the bids on their Agenda for Wednesday June 12 for consideration and approval. 
 
April 2, 2024 Update
A reported update from JoDee Nelson, LIV President. The easement has been recorded with Cameron County. SWG will be starting the bidding process. We will soon have a schedule for that. 
 
July 11, 2023 Update
Epi Castanon, JoDee Nelson, Guy Power, Romeo Rodriguez, and Ron Miller attended a meeting at the LMWD offices. The meeting was scheduled for the purpose of getting AEP representatives together with representatives from LMWD and SWG Engineering in hopes that AEP would agree to take advantage of the LIV/LMWD infrastructure project to upgrade their equipment and service within LIV.
 
AEP agreed to participate in the project and work with LMWD & SWG to place conduit for the future installation of all new service lines, transformers, and pedestals.
 
There is currently no schedule as to when this can be done due to the large amount of equipment to be ordered and the long lead times to receive that equipment. AEP is hopeful that the project can be completed in 2025.
 
As with any utility installation in any area the provider only pays the cost to install up to the point of service and the property owner is responsible for paying for the meter and the connection of the service.
 
Randy Winston with SWG was asked to look at what could be done while the trenches are open that would reduce the cost to each homeowner at the time their electric service would be changed over and what it would cost and when it would need to be paid so if the LIV board needed to take action that it might.
 
The water meters and the connection to service cost was included in the LIV/LMWD infrastructure bond.
 
Whether the cost of the electric meter and connection to service is paid from that fund will be determined by the LIV board at that time.
 
June 14, 2023 Update
Doc and Epi went to a LMWD meeting on Thursday, 6-13. Randy from SWG was present also. A suggestion was made that if anyone is building a new house now they should make sure the water and sewer are run to the road as it will save the homeowner money in the future. 
 
SWG is making appointments with AEP. Dir Rodriguez is involved also. AEP at this time feels they will only have money to upgrade the 1st phase. Randy advised them to put down conduit while the roads were torn up so they would not need to do it again. Dir Rodriguez told them to look harder for the money since they owned the electric.
 
Spectrum still needs to be contacted. LIV will contact our salesman and get a name to contact. This way Spectrum's engineers can work with SWG and LMWD engineers. There will be some disruption of service just as when a house is being built or work is being done on a water leak. SWG is hoping that Spectrum will have a technician full time in LIV while the project is going on.
 
The areas of Water, Sewer, Electric, and Spectrum have been decided, Electric, Water, Sewer. AEP will be able to have both sides of the road and this is why they should at least lay the conduit to run their wires through. Spectrum will have the grass area, which is up to 10 feet. The reasoning behind this is Spectrum Cables do not need to be as deep.
 
The Geotech work has been completed. Geotech is when they assess the physical, mechanical and chemical properties of soil and rock in order to design foundations, retaining structures and earthworks.
 
Randy (SWG) has had people here taking pictures of each site.
 
LMWD/SWG will seek bids for the LIV project as one. One company will do all the work including the roads. This way there will be one project manager which should make it easier to manage and give out information to LIV.
 
LMWD/SWG hope to have the bidding process started by Dec 2023 with the project to start Jan 2024.
 
At this point they will be starting in LIV's First Phase which is Abalone Circle.
 
Randy does feel one person of contact for LIV would be good. This way they know who to contact and since there will be one project manager LIV will know who to contact. The person from LIV does not need engineering experience as they will not be making any of those decisions. They should have good organizational skills, communication skills, and be willing to help when services get disrupted.
 
A $10 million Infrastructure Loan was approved during March 6, 2021 Annual Election Meeting. In accordance with LIV’s Bylaws and Declarations requiring owner approval to fund common expenses, 351 owners approved the loan, 91 voted against and 14 abstained. The ballot read:
In order to move forward with the infrastructure improvements that are needed, the Board is prepared to acquire a $10 million loan and encourages you to vote in favor of the loan acquisition. 
BOD Vice President, Doug Synder, presented Infrastructure Bond Proposal information during January 26, February 23 and March 23, 2022 BOD meetings.  During the Feb. 23 BOD meeting, a motion submitted by LIV's VP was passed unanimously to pay all legal expenses related to LMWD's infrastructure project to be covered under infrastructure funds.
 
Laguna Madre Water District and SWG Engineering addressed LIV participants at a Town Hall Meeting, March 31, 2022. View the entire Town Hall Meeting (copyright Mike Farrell and Asst. Pet Smith)
 
April 2022 LMWD Email & BOD Releases
During April's Coffee, Director Duke reads an owner's questions and LMWD answers to Infrastructure Bond Issue.
LIV announces another Town Hall Meeting, April 28. Recording available soon. LIV sends the following announcement by email:
1) If the project comes in under budget, is the bond refundable to the tax payers, or can a payment be made toward the principal without penalty?
RESPONSE: Excess proceeds can be used to pay bonds debt service only, you can not prepay bonds. Normally issuers excess to pay debt service and the tax levy to aside for I & S fund balance. i.e. sounds like excess funds / surplus will reduce tax burden and be restricted to repay LIV debt only. Surplus will be invested in an interest bearing account in the interim.
2) Are the LIV tax bonds callable at any point?
RESPONSE: Yes. LMWD LIV Bonds will have a 10 year call.
 
A Special Bond Election held on May 7, 2022, resulted in 128 "yes" and 100 "no" votes approving Laguna Madre Water District the authority to issue $20 Million Bond Loan for infrastructure improvements at LIV. Only LIV owners registered to vote in Port Isabel, Cameron County, Texas were allowed to participate in the Special Bond Election. No BOD announcement about the Special Bond Election Results.
 
 
No Report from Infrastructure Committee during June and July BOD Meeting. BOD Committee Chair resigns.
 
During the Coffee with the Directors, Aug, 2022, Laguna Madre Water District representatives attended the coffee unannounced to patrons. Details on the denial of appropriating state funds to reduce LIV's $20M Infrastructure Loan was explained. The State of Texas awarded funds to the top 40 projects submitted. LIV's Infrastructure Project was ranked 79. Recording available soon. LIV sends the following announcement by email:
Dear Residents,
It has been recently brought to our attention that Long Island Village was not selected to receive any grant funds for the infrastructure improvements from the State of Texas. We are asking for your assistance in sending a letter of support to the Texas Water Development Board in hopes of changing this outcome. You can mail or email the following attached template letter with your signature to:
Mr. Mark Wyatt
Director, Program Administration and Reporting
Texas Water Development Board
P.O. Box 13231
Austin, TX 78711
Email: iupcomments@twdb.texas.gov
 
Owners' questions to LWMD prompted an update detailing the status of the approved tax assessments for current and future bond projects for LMWD. Using information presented at March 31 Town Hall Meeting and the accompanying documents submitted in this email, tax assessments can be projected.
 
Director Guy Power was assigned as the new Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee.
 
September BOD Meeting: Director Power read the minutes of the two meetings the committee had held. He also stated that the LMWD had an upcoming meeting at which the LIV project will be discussed.
October BOD Meeting: LMWD awarded the Engineering contract to SWG.  At their Board Meeting on 10/26.  
No other information has been released.
 
On December 8th there was a meeting at LIV.  This meeting was requested by NADBank (North American Development Bank).  NADBank is the organization that LMWD applied to for the $20.8 million dollars needed for the LIV Infrastructure project.  This meeting was attended by representatives from NADBank, LMWD, SWG engineering, LIV Infrastructure committee, LIV Board President and LIV management team.  NADBank had requested this project site visit as part of their approval process required before finalizing their loan to LMWD.  NADBank explained that they provided funding for projects along the US/Mexico border necessary to improve the infrastructure in communities that had clearly defined need but had not received requested grants.  LMWD and SWG Engineering explained the LIV project and why the loan was needed.  LIV Management and the LIV infrastructure committee hosted a golf cart tour of LIV explaining how our community has grown over the years and why the planned project was so important.  The NADBank team was very pleased with their visit and said that they would recommend to their Board of Directors in April that the funding be approved.
 
On December 12 several members of the LIV Infrastructure committee were invited to attend a meeting held at the AEP offices in San Benito.  This meeting included representatives from AEP, SWG engineering and LIV infrastructure committee. Ron Miller & Romeo Rodriquez on the LIV Infrastructure committee are both retired AEP employees and have been communicating with AEP in an effort to get the electric grid in LIV upgraded in coordination with our fresh water and waste water infrastructure project.  This was an engineering meeting which I listened to but did not participate in.  However it was very obvious that AEP wanted to be a part of the project.  SWG provided a timeline for the project so plans could be made to order needed equipment.
 
Funding to be approved in April, engineering plans to be finalized equipment to be ordered and received and contractors to be hired prior to the end of 2023.  Construction to begin early January 2024 and project to be completed by the end of 2024.