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Aubrey council discussion on water rights runs late; proposal approved in 3-2 vote

UPDATE 11:10 a.m. Wednesday: The council voted 3-2 to approve the agreement and transfer water rights for Winn Ridge back to Mustang Special Utility District. In return, the city will also receive an 8 percent franchise fee plus $500 per lot. The city will also be repaid the costs to transfer rights in the first place, and the city gains water rights for the Venable Ranch and Aubrey Estates developments from Mustang.

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AUBREY -- A meeting of the Aubrey City Council went late into the night Tuesday as representatives of the Centurion American Development Group attempted to persuade skeptical council members to approve selling the water and wastewater rights within the incoming Winn Ridge development to the Mustang Special Utility District.

The council did not vote in time for press deadline late Tuesday.

"We don't want to do anything to change our commitment to Aubrey. We want to be a part of your city, and it's important to live by your rules and do right by you," CADG CEO Mehrdad Moayedi said.

Moayedi went on to detail the agreements his company negotiated with Aubrey over the past several years.

Mayor Janet Meyers has insisted Aubrey retain the water rights.

"You left out the part where you promised me the water and sewer," Meyers said to Moayedi. "I'm just saying let's tell the whole story."

"The reason the water and sewer changed is totally out of my control," Moayedi said in response. "We've been a supporter of you and Aubrey all along the way."

Winn Ridge, now under construction, is a development of about 1,300 homes about 8 miles southeast of Aubrey proper. CADG had agreed to be annexed into the city limits and removed Mustang as the water provider for the development at Aubrey's request.

Mustang then took on some federal debt it argues prevents the utility district from releasing any more of its service area. Two other developments, Sandbrock and Regatta, then decided to remain under Mustang and not switch to Aubrey's water system.

Winn Ridge's developers then approached the city and council members directly about the proposed change.

CADG consultant Kirk Wilson said the changes left Winn Ridge as an "island," a piece of Aubrey's water system completely surrounded by Mustang. Mustang already has a water tower 60 feet from the development it is not willing to share. Keeping the water rights would mean Aubrey would have to build another water tower adjacent to Mustang's tower and serve only 1,300 homes.

Aubrey council member Chris Rich has been heavily involved in the discussions to change the plan and supports it. Council member Calvin Tillman also has come out in favor of the change. Meyers and council member Deborah Goin have been the most opposed.

In other action Tuesday, the council approved an interlocal agreement with Providence Village for police services and approved a boundary agreement with Providence Village and Little Elm.

DANIEL BURGESS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @DanielKBurgess.