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Calallen growth highlights infrastructure fund trouble

A map of a 256-acre commercial and residential development planned for Calallen. Courtesy image

Corpus Christi wastewater infrastructure fund now broke

Growth in the Calallen area of Corpus Christi includes a new Hobby Lobby with shopping center, an apartment complex, and 136 single-family homes. The Corpus Christi City Council approved the expenditure from the Sanitary Sewer Trunk System Trust Fund but not before acknowledging that the wastewater funding system the city uses desperately needs to be changed.

“We are the only city that has this type of trust fund system,” City Manager Peter Zanoni told the council. “That’s why the impact fee study approved by the City Council recently is one of the most significant actions taken by this council.”

The council agreed to reimburse Mostaghasi Investment Trust about $2 million to construct a wastewater life station and a gravity and force main line to serve 256 acres of land west of U.S. 69 on County Road 52 in Calallen.

The Hobby Lobby, the second in the Calallen area, will be part of a 26-acre shopping center planned for the north side of CR 52. River Ridge Unit 4, a 136-unit single-family subdivision, is planned for 38 acres nearby. The multi-family units will cover 16 acres on the county side of the road. That portion will need to be annexed into the city.

The $2 million encumbered for the project cleaned out the trust fund, which has been rebuilding at less than $1 million a year over the 40 years it has been in operation. The impact fee study, which just recently got underway, will take 18-24 months to complete, Zanoni said.

“Most cities use an impact fee to fund this type of infrastructure,” Zanoni said. “The city and community determine where they want growth and how to pay for the infrastructure. Fees are based on the new development.”

Councilor Greg Smith said that, although he supported the Calallen development, he did not like leaving the fund empty or having to wait two years for a solution.

“The system is broke, the trust fund is broke,” he said. “I hope we can come up with a remedy in less than 24 months.”

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