Raymondville to borrow $1.5 million to fund water upgrade

RAYMONDVILLE — The city’s water towers are up for a big face-lift.

Earlier this week, city commissioners gave the go-ahead to borrow $1.5 million through the sale of certificates of obligation as part of a $2.59 million project partly funded through the Texas Water Development Board to upgrade the city’s water system.

In a meeting Tuesday, commissioners voted to sell the bonds at a 1.5-percent interest rate during a 30-year term to pay back the water board’s $1.5 million loan.

To help fund the project, the water board is offering the city a $1 million grant, Mayor Gilbert Gonzales said Wednesday.

As part of the project, the city will refurbish and repaint its three water towers.

“With this grant and loan we’ll be able to put the smile back on our ‘smiley-face’ water tower,” City Commissioner Edward Gonzalez said. “Water towers are iconic.”

The three towers’ most recent repairs came about 10 years ago, City Manager Eleazar Garcia said in an earlier interview.

Soon, the towers’ make-over will help them through another 10 to 15 years, he said, adding each tower will cost $200,000 to $300,000 to repaint.

Across town, the project will install 10,920 linear feet of water lines, replacing old galvanized pipes with PVC pipe, Garcia said.

For the city’s households, new water lines will boost water pressure, the mayor said.

Meanwhile, he said, the city will replace 50 of its 178 fire hydrants.

“This will increase the quality of life for the citizens of Raymondville,” Gonzalez said. “We’ll have better equipment. It will restore some of our water lines to give them better capacity and we’ll have new fire hydrants in case of fire.”

The city’s upgraded water system will help cut water loss while improving the system’s “reliability and efficiency,” the water board stated in a press release.

During the last year, the city lost about 8.7 percent of its water supply as a result of factors including leaks in the system and evaporation, Garcia said.

For more than two years, officials worked to land the grant and low-interest loan to upgrade the city’s water system.

During that period, officials documented factors such as annual water loss along with financial data such as water and sewer rates and property tax rates, Garcia said.

Garcia said the water board reviewed the data to determine the city’s financial stability along with its ability to pay back the loan.

On Wednesday, Gonzales said a construction timetable was not available.

fdelvalle@valleystar.com