The City of Dayton has reached an agreement with Gulf Inland Logistics Park for the creation of a Municipal Utility District (MUD) that will allow Gulf Inland to capture property taxes within its boundaries to provide water, sewer, drainage and other utility-related services. These utilities will be integrated into the City’s system with the City being paid for service by the utility customers within Gulf Inland.
For the City and Gulf Inland Logistics Park, a 1,200-acre property on the southwest side of US 90 past the Union Pacific rail lines, the MUD is a win-win scenario, said City Manager Theo Melancon.
“They will be responsible for expanding the water and wastewater needs of the businesses within the MUD. They also are going to donate two acres of land to the City and contribute up to $1 million to build a fire substation and industrial training facility for firefighters,” he said. “This is one of the things we have wanted as a City. We already had an ISO class of 2 for our fire department, which is extremely rare, but this will position us to be within striking distance of a 1 rating.”
The MUD will be a tax entity only within the Gulf Inland Logistics Park. Residents and businesses outside of the park will not be impacted at all except through the creation of high-paying jobs.
“People and businesses to whom Gulf Inland leases or sells space will be paying the MUD taxes. No one else. Any type of expansion of that district would have to be approved by the adjacent property owners and city council,” he said. “There also is a $1 per $100 valuation cap on the MUD district. The revenue they receive will help pay for the infrastructure. All of it will still have to meet city codes, and the City of Dayton will take over operations and maintenance of the systems.”
Melancon said the City’s goal is to have growth pay for growth.
“We don’t want our City’s growth to be funded on the backs of our residents. This will keep us from having to raise tax rates to support Gulf Inland. They will go out for bonds themselves if there is any construction necessary,” he said.
The agreement was approved by Dayton City Council at the Jan. 25 regular council meeting at the Council’s new chambers inside the Dayton Community Center, 801 S. Cleveland St., Dayton.
In other business that evening, Council also approved a contract for $600,000 with Goodman Corporation for engineering, design and bidding of an extension of Lovers Lane from Cleveland Street to SH 146 and Cleveland Street from Lovers Lane to Brown Road, and the reconstruction and widening of FM 1409 to SH 146.
“Traffic is these areas has picked up considerably with having Kimmie Brown Elementary nearby,” Melancon said. “It will take a year to do preliminary design and engineering. We want to be shovel ready. The project will depend on future funding being available. We are weighing the benefits of funding it as a city or having federal and state partners.”
The City Council also approved extending the City’s high-speed fiber Internet project, which is currently under construction, to include Gulf Inland Logistics Park, previously mentioned, and the Interchange Industrial Park, which is located at the far south border of the city along SH 146.
“Because of our very favorable bid for the fiber project, we added several miles of fiber. This approval was just for the engineering and design. In the bid we previously approved for construction, funding for this project was included. This will help us put two major employment centers within reach of our fiber,” Melancon said.
The fiber extension may also allow the City of Dayton to work on a redundancy program with the City of Mont Belvieu in the event that one city’s fiber Internet goes down, the other could help out while it is restored. Both cities used the same contractor for the fiber projects.
Council also approved extending the relief package and employee benefits for employees who either contract COVID-19 or miss work as a result of contact tracing and approved an ordinance brought before them by the Dayton Youth Advisory Committee that was formed last year. The Committee asked for an ordinance to restrict vaping (electronic cigarettes) in community facilities and parks. There is already a smoking ban in place for these areas.
“It was great seeing the kids work on something for a year, taking it from an idea to an ordinance. They got to see the full life cycle of creating an ordinance,” Melancon said.