Markout WSC plans to merge with City of Mesquite - Approved.
On Monday, Sep. 14 the Markout WSC board
Markout members will have their membership fees returned, likely will not need to give a deposit to Mesquite for service.
PUC approval can take up to 120 days.
Mesquite city manager Keheley was present and said water rates should go down some initially, that it will take about 2 years to design and implement the change to have water supplied from Mesquite. Once that it done, rates will be the same as for any Mesquite citizen.
When Grayhawk is split from the Markout system, they should then be charged the same amount as other Forney residents. (no timeline for that yet)
On Sep. 15 a statement from Markout was sent out:
For the past several years, the Markout Board of Directors has been seeking ways to reduce water costs, staffing, and operational costs. We are excited to tell you that the City of Mesquite (Mesquite), working with the City of Forney (Forney), has agreed to acquire Markout Water Supply’s (Markout) service area.
With the approval of Markout’s members, the transition will happen as follows:
- First, Mesquite will obtain approval for the merger from the Public Utility Commission (PUC).
- Upon the PUC’s final approval, Markout will be dissolved and all members will become Mesquite’s customers.
- Then, according to an agreement already in place between Mesquite and Forney, the cities will work together to physically separate the Grayhawk Subdivision from the distribution system. This will allow those who live within the Grayhawk Subdivision to receive water, sewer, and sanitation services directly from Forney.
Most of Markout’s geographic area is within Mesquite’s city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction, so it makes sense for Mesquite to acquire the entire area and then split off what lies in Forney’s city limits and for Forney to serve its own citizens. By removing Markout’s costs from the delivery of water, the costs will be more manageable for all customers.
Markout Water was needed and filled a great purpose when it was established in 1965 because there were no cities nearby to provide water to those living in the rural area. Today, the cities are literally within our service area and it no longer makes sense for Markout to exist.
We are holding three public information meetings at our office at 10371 Walnut Lane, Forney, Texas. The first will be our Annual Membership Meeting which is this Thursday, September 17th at 6:00pm, the second will be Monday, September 28th at 6:00pm, the third will be Monday, October 12th at 6:00pm. Representatives from the Markout Board of Directors as well as the City of Mesquite will be present to answer your questions about this proposed merger.
Because we are a member-owned water supply corporation, completion of this acquisition requires the vote of Markout’s members. Your ballot for the vote on the merger will be mailed to you and is due in our office no later than end-of-day on Sunday, October 18, 2020 (see ballot for voting instructions).
The Board and Staff of Markout strongly believe this is the best future for Markout’s members.
Cities agree in principle
On Tuesday, Sep. 15 the Forney City Council considered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Mesquite, allowing Forney to continue providing water after acquisition by Mesquite, and to allow Forney to provide Grayhawk subdivision water service.
After a 2-hour 21-minute executive session, Council approved the MOU.
On Monday, Sep. 21 the Mesquite City Council approved the MOU that was "provided to the city council on Sep. 18 ... with the expanded transfer area." (documents obtained indicate the expanded area is the recently annexed 52 acres "north" of Grayhawk)
Markout Board holds informational meeting
On Monday, Sep. 28 the Markout Board held a meeting to explain the plan, and take questions from members. A summary of their statements:
The board began considering long-term viability of Markout in 2014. The area is no longer rural, and changes in state law several years ago allow developers to opt-out of a water districts service area (CCN). This affects a co-op's ability to plan for the future. The board decided there were 5 options: 1) continue as-is, costs will keep going up, new members unlikely. 2) Merge - the vote to merge with Talty SUD failed to get 2/3 approval, and Talty is no longer interested. 3) City of Forney - interest in a deal ceased. 4) Mesquite (current plan) 5) sell to a private investor, which none of the board felt was a good idea.
Mesquite is currently running a 30-inch line down I-20 for developments such as Spradley Farms and Helms industrial park.
This merger would not have any impact on potential annexation. New state law requires voter approval to be annexed.
Markout has a huge expense looming: relocating water lines at FM740 and I-20, when the state rebuilds the intersection. This cost would raise the rates for members, possibly 5 - 8 times the current rate.
Several members spoke, expressing strong dislike and distrust of Mesquite, due to the attempted forced annexation in 2017. The board agreed the Mesquite "brand" was tarnished by that, but this is a win-win situation.
It is expected, if the merger is approved, that rates will go down slightly quickly, then in 1.5 - 2 years, when infrastructure is in place to switch from Forney pipes to Mesquite, Grayhawk will then pay the same rate as any Forney citizen, and other Markout customers will pay the same rate as any Mesquite customer. This is expected to be 15% less than the current rate.
The next Markout meeting is Oct. 12.
Markout Board holds second informational meeting
On Monday, Oct. 12 the Markout Board held a meeting to explain the plan, and take questions from members.
Markout Membership Vote Results
On Oct. 19, Markout reported the merger had been approved a vote of 408 members 'yes', 70 members 'no' surpassing the required 2/3 votes of 319.
We will update this page as more information becomes available.