Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain, as he is wont to do, declared Tuesday a great day in Cleburne.

The occasion was the Cleburne City Council’s approval of a $41 million bond issuance to fund expansion of the Cleburne Wastewater Treatment Plant and the West Loop Reuse projects. Cain called it one of the largest projects in Cleburne history.

Both projects, city officials said, are necessary to ensure that Cleburne maintains an ample water supply in the years ahead to meet the demands of the growth projected.

The good news, Hilltop Securities representative Jim Sabonis said, is that the city was able to secure the bonds at an interest rate of .074 percent. 

Better news yet, Cleburne Financial Director Troy Lestina said, is that the city received a principal forgiveness agreement from the Texas Water Development Board to the tune of $1 million on the bond amount. 

“The source of repayment for [the remainder of the bonds] is the increased base rates that were authorized by city council on Sept. 24,” Lestina said. 

Council members also reallocated $5.4 million in unused funds from bond issuances in 2009 and 2013 to be used to pay for the West Loop Reuse projects. Once completed, those projects will enable Cleburne to retain a substantial portion of its water. Those earlier bonds were originally issued to fund the Lake Whitney water supply project. Cleburne holds rights to 9,700 acre feet of water rights in Lake Whitney at a cost of $766,300 per year. Cleburne, however, has no current access to the Whitney water. 

Plans originally called for constructing a pipeline to the Whitney water. Current city officials argue that additional sources of water are now available and question the continued cost of leasing the Whitney water.

Abilene in 2015 approached the city about leasing those Whitney rights from Cleburne. All the council members at that time save Cain and former Council member Dale Sturgeon, voted the request down.

Cleburne should receive the bond funds in November, Sabonis said. Lestina said the city will then draw on the funds as necessary to cover the costs of planning and eventually construction of the wastewater plant. The construction phase will go out for bid, Lestina said, which the council will have to approve before construction moves forward.


Downtown grant awarded

Council members awarded a Downtown Building Rehabilitation Grant to Fernando Rodriguez in the amount of $13,121.

The grants, which include a match up to $25,000 may be used for interior renovations of downtown buildings. Rodriguez owns Apos Boot Outlet at 110 E. Chambers St. Rodriguez plans to install a new HVAC system in the upper floors of his historic building at a cost of $26,242. Council members for the past several years have funded the grant to the tune of $50,000 per year in hopes of encouraging downtown property owners to spruce up their buildings. After Tuesday’s award, $36,879 remains in the fund for this fiscal year, Cleburne Economic Development Manager Grady Easdon said.

Cain and Human Resources Director Debra Powledge presented the Cleburne STARS award to Cleburne sanitation worker Theodore “Doug” Maas for his jovial, efficient demeanor at the Cleburne Transfer Station and his ideas on how to improve the facility.

Council members also appointed Thomas Kavadas to the Cleburne Planning and Zoning Commission and approved the slate of candidates nominated for the 2020-21 Johnson County Central Appraisal District board of directors. 

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