Conversion of Woodbine Water Supply Corp. into Woodbine Special Utility District is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, after voters approved it during the 2019 constitutional amendment election on Tuesday.
Woodbine’s Proposition A to convert the corporation into a public utility district was approved 464-157 in Cooke County according to preliminary election results provided late Nov. 5. Totals are unofficial until canvassing.
Two votes were also cast in the Grayson County portion of the water service area, out of 55 registered voters there, according to General Manager Rickey D. Kemp. Grayson County unofficial results show both were in favor of the conversion.
“We’re tentatively set to convert on Jan. 1,” Kemp said Wednesday, Nov. 6. “We’ll still be operating as the water supply corporation until that time.”
Votes will be canvassed at the water corporation’s Nov. 14 meeting, he said. Members of the new special utility district board will also take their oaths of office and be sworn in then. The new board’s officers will be elected at that meeting, too.
All the board members of the existing Woodbine Water Supply Corp. were elected to the board of the new special utility district Tuesday. The length of their initial terms was based on when their terms on the water corporation’s board would have ended, Kemp said.
Wray Westbrook received 427 votes, preliminary totals show. Richard Hicks received 379 and Vernon Dugger received 376 votes. All three will serve a shortened term of a single year before being up for reelection to the utility district board again.
Kenny Wilson garnered 464 votes while Bob Smith received 405. They’ll serve two-year terms.
Mike Compton got 468 votes with Mike Hines receiving 413. Their terms will last the full three years before they are up for election again.
Conversion to a special utility district will save the utility money on purchasing and allow it to offer better employee benefits, according to Kemp, as well as open up state funding sources should the district pursue a large infrastructure project in the future. Kemp said there isn’t a project planned right now that would require the utility to borrow any money.
The savings on employee health insurance and on the utility’s hazard insurance, in particular, is expected to amount to $20,000 to $30,000 the first year, Kemp said — roughly equivalent to the cost of much of the conversion process.
“We’ll recover our investment real quick,” Kemp said. “It’s going to be a better deal all the way around for everybody.”
The utility has about 2,325 customers, according to the water utility’s website.