Take or Pay – or is it really?

Title One:  Someone must pay


Title Two: It’s really complicated

I couldn’t figure out a great title for this note – Is it a tale of two cities (one that is growing and one that is not), or is it “It’s really complicated” or “someone has to pay.” I could just go with “My Head Really Hurts.”

By now, you have seen the press conference that Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson held recently stating their case of why they have asked the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to intervene in how much they pay for water. Here is a link to the DMN article: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/environment/2016/12/14/garland-mesquite-plano-richardson-want-state-help-lower-rising-water-rates

Obviously, there is much more detail to the issue than what was presented. The information that Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson presented is accurate and truthful for their situation. However, it does not address the needs and situation of the other nine cities or the history of the agreements.

First things first; what is North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD)? According to NTMWD, they sell water to more than 1.6 million people in 90 communities. Out of those 90 communities, there are 13 member cities who each appoint two board members to the governing body of NTMWD. The 13 member cities are:

  1. Allen
  2. Farmersville
  3. Forney
  4. Frisco
  5. Garland
  6. McKinney
  7. Mesquite
  8. Plano
  9. Princeton
  10. Richardson
  11. Rockwall
  12. Royse City
  13. Wylie

-You can learn more about the water district at www.ntmwd.com.

Take or Pay

You hear the term “Take or Pay” often, so what does it really mean? The short version is that a member of NTMWD is obligated, through contract, to pay for a set amount of water each year, whether the member uses it or not. That “minimum” amount is set as the greatest single year of use. To use Plano as an example, Plano used approximately 26 billion gallons of water in the year 2001. Since 2001, Plano has not used that much water, yet it is contractually obligated to pay for 26 billion gallons of water annually whether it uses it or not. This is the structure of NTMWD and what every city that is a member agreed to when they became a member.

Why is Take or Pay even in place? NTMWD is obligated to build the infrastructure to serve the water needs of communities. This includes water lines, pump stations, reservoirs, treatment facilities and manpower. Thus, if a city, such as Plano, used 26 billion gallons of water in 2001, NTMWD had to build the needed capacity to serve that amount of usage. In other words, NTMWD sold debt and spent large amounts of money to meet that need as well as obligated NTMWD to maintaining that infrastructure. If Plano reduces its usage, someone must pay for that debt as that infrastructure cannot be given back and still must be maintained.

The narrative being used in the press conference is some cities are paying for water their customers are not using and that it is unfair. That, in my opinion, is not an accurate description of what is taking place.  A more accurate narrative is those cities are paying for infrastructure they needed and used. Now that those cities are not fully using infrastructure that was built and has to be maintained, those cities feel that someone else should pay for the debt that was partially accumulated to meet their needs. I know that is blunt, but that is exactly what would happen if the contractual obligations are nullified.

The four cities asking the PUC to intervene were the favorable recipients of the NTMWD model during their rapid growth phases and now that the model is no longer favorable, those same cities are proposing to change the rules that they signed on to and place additional burdens on the other member cities.  This is a critical point: Nothing has changed. All the member cities signed very detailed contracts agreeing to NTMWD funding model and member city obligations. Those cities benefited from this system as they were growing. A stable water supply actually helped those cities grow and succeed just as it does for us. I spend much of my time explaining to our residents that we won’t run out of water, but the real question is how much would our taxpayers be willing to pay for that water? In other words, if our residents use excess water today, Frisco and NTMWD must build the infrastructure to pay for the water and the local taxpayer, as well as future taxpayers, will continue to pay for the infrastucture.

Frisco believes in local control and if our residents choose to waste water today, tax dollars will be used to pay for the water. We hope we have stressed the need to conserve to our residents and are always working on innovative ways to communicate the importance of doing all we can today to protect our future. All the cities in the NTMWD service area know exactly what their obligations are now and well into the future. The control and cost really belong in those communities, where it should be.

What can we agree on?

Let’s start with the things that we can all agree on:

  • The current system does not facilitate conservation of this valuable resource. You are paying for the water whether you use it or not. If a city does not encourage residents to use (waste?) water, it will not receive the needed revenue from selling the water that it purchased. Clearly, there is no incentive for those cities to conserve water.
  • Growing cities, such as Frisco, do not want to absorb the cost of the infrastructure and debt that was built to serve some of those cities now paying for unused water.
  • Even fast growth cities, such as Frisco, will one day be in the same situation. As a community builds out and, hopefully, continues to find ways to conserve this resource, a community may find that is paying for water it’s not using. Again, using the narrative above, it will continue to pay for and maintain the infrastructure that was built to handle its needs during peak growth. Frisco has already been in situations where it paid for water that it did not use. We will continue to encourage our residents to conserve water because it saves a valuable resource AND impacts their pocketbook.
  • NTMWD calculates its annual rate to all members based on the minimums in place. In other words, it is a stable revenue stream and the rates for all member cities are based on the annual revenue NTMWD receives. If that revenue in reduced in one area, it will be increased in another. If it is reduced for one costumer, it must be increased for another (or all).
  • Bond ratings are based on the ability of NTMWD to pay the debt. The model currently in place gives NTMWD strong bond ratings and allows NTMWD to continue to build infrastructure for many customers while getting us the best interest rates. Without a model in place that assures the agencies of the financial strength of NTMWD, then costs go up for all the communities.
  • Water needs will continue to increase in North Texas and additional water sources will need to be identified and added. A typical reservoir in Texas will take approximately 30-40 years to put in place. Significant investment will continue to take place.
  • Water rates for all members and customers of NTMWD have increased significantly over the last few years and they are anticipated to continue increasing.
  • Cities that must pay for water that they do not use are refunded the costs associated with treating and pumping the water that is not used by those cities.
  • 60% of the current population in NTMWD resides in those four cities (Plano, Richardson, Garland and Mesquite). Thus, those four cities have a majority of the population that NTMWD serves. While that will change over time, a majority of the system was built due to their growth and population.

So, what is the solution or is there a solution that is even needed?

Let me be clear, if I was the Mayor of one of the cities currently paying for water it was not using, I would use everything in my power to resolve that issue and lower the costs. There is no blame here – we all want to be efficient with our taxpayer dollars and keep costs down to our residents. Frisco wants to be at the table as we work on better ways our region can function. As the Mayor of one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., I will also do everything in my power to make sure residents are protected from unfair rate hikes or unreasonable solutions addressing the needs of those of other communities at the expense of our taxpayers.

Frisco has been the leader in water conservation. We have implemented innovative new approaches to water conservation that have paid off and that are used as a model by numerous communities around the state and country. For example, every new home built in Frisco must have an evapotranspiration controller (also known as an ET or Smart Controller.) Frisco also operates our own weather station and weekly updates are sent to our residents. Even NTMWD has adopted parts of this model. We also offer free irrigation checkups and promote “water wise” habits. I have spoken at several water conferences discussing our innovative methods of conservation. I am also a Governor appointee on the Red River Boundary Commission that was formed to negotiated border issues with Oklahoma in direct relationship to NTMWD supply at lake Texoma. I understand the need for a stable water supply for North Texas and have worked directly with the EPA to help facilitate expansion of our system.

With the region in mind as well as working with our neighboring cities to help address their needs, Frisco has been willing to be at the table to explore modifications that help those four cities.

While there is no direct benefit to Frisco from changing the current model, our City Manager came up with a very creative financial model that would help those communities that were paying for water there customers were not using. The model involved using the growth in new cities (thus additional water needs) to reduce the minimums of those cities not meeting them. Unfortunately, this did involve a slight increase to the fast-growth cities such as Frisco due to NTMWD having projected revenue based on the combined minimums.

To easier explain the challenge: NTMWD was basically using the anticipated revenue from all the cities to set its rates. If revenue is lowered from projections by NTMWD, which our proposal would do, then rates would go up for all the communities.  Even with the increase in rates to our community, in our effort to reach a compromise, Frisco suggested this change. However, we could not get all 13 members of the NTMWD to agree to this change. Some of the fast growth cities felt that they should not be required to burden their rate-payer by subsidizing those cities that are not meeting their minimum while some of the cities not meeting their minimums want to completely get rid of their agreed to costs which would most likely mean having the other cities take on those expenses.

While a solution has not yet been found that is fair to all, I believe it is in the best interest of all the customers of NTMWD to continue working towards that goal. It will take some time, but I do believe a solution can be found. Involving the PUC in this internal contractual issue is, in my opinion, a mistake. It creates a situation of us against them. In this case, four cities that are not growing as rapidly wanting to change the rules that everyone agreed on and that will negatively impact nine other cities. With that said, I believe there are ways to address the concerns of the four cities while protected the rates of the other nine cities. The solution will involve compromise and a sincere desire to work together. No, it won’t be easy and the answer is not asking a state agency to intervene. Frankly, it is embarrassing to all involved that we have not resolved this and goes against our unified message that local control is always in the best interest of our residents.

All these communities are very successful and have created an atmosphere of amazing growth, job creation, quality of life and a great place to raise a family. After all, the innovation in our communities has been a model that entities have looked at from around the world.  TOGETHER, we must continue to work on conservation and making North Texas the best place to do business.

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Concerned about people knocking on your door?

The City of Frisco is reviewing the Solicitation Ordinance, in light of recent court cases.  During this review, the City is temporarily suspending the requirement of individuals soliciting funds or distributing any commercial handbills to obtain a permit issued by the City of Frisco. However, an individual is still required to have the following:

  • A copy of the valid state sales tax certificate, if applicable.
  • A valid driver’s license or other valid, official photo identification.

All other portions of the City of Frisco Solicitation City Ordinance remain in effect. Please remember that an individual may not solicit funds or distribute commercial or noncommercial handbills at a place of residence during the following hours unless invited to do so by the occupant or owner of the residence:

  • Monday – Friday: Before 9:00 a.m. and after the earlier of dusk or 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Before 10:00
    no solicitation

    Frisco No Solicitation Sign

    a.m. and after the earlier of dusk or 9:00 p.m.For purposes of this section, dusk means thirty (30) minutes after sunset.

You can obtain the “No Soliciting” sign  from the Frisco Police Department between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday.

A resident may use their own “No Soliciting” sign if it meets the following requirements:

  • “The sign shall be exhibited in a conspicuous place upon or near the main entrance to the premises (including but not limited to entrances to: an apartment unit, building or complex; a single- or multi-family residential structure; private sidewalks; a development with private streets; or areas maintained by a property owner’s association) a weatherproof card, not less than three inches by four inches in size bearing the words, “no advertisements”, “no solicitation”, or “no handbills”, to indicate that the occupants of such premises do not desire to be molested or to have their right of privacy disturbed, or to have a handbill of any type left upon the premises. The letters on such cards shall be not less than two-thirds (2/3) of an inch in height.”
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Now is the Time – Please Vote!

By now, you have seen numerous campaign messages from candidates and from the proponents and opponents of the Alcohol Proposition. It now comes to your Vote.  Election day is TODAY and I am asking you to vote AGAINST!

I have served as your Mayor since 2008 and I hope I have met and exceeded your expectations of what you want in your elected official. It has been truly an honor and privilege to serve.

Many of you know it is a non-paid position that receives a small stipend. I’m essentially a volunteer and my term ends in 2017. The only thing I get out of your vote AGAINST is that Frisco continues the path towards sustainability, a safe community and a great place to raise a family and create good jobs.

It is not often that I ask our citizens for help, but I need your help on this one!

Specifically, I need your help to counter the paid consultants who have the goal to get this measure passed for their client. Please take a moment and help me protect our planned growth and quality of life by voting AGAINST on Saturday, May 7th.

On one side, you have:

• One establishment that wants to bypass all checks and balances that regulate how much alcohol they can sell and where they can sell it.

• Paid consultants who are rewarded financially for getting this measure to pass by confusing our voters how valuable it is to the city. Let’s be clear: It is valuable to them and to this establishment, not to our taxpayers, schools and businesses already in Frisco. It is not valuable to the thousands of volunteer hours our residents have put in to create a master plan for the City of Frisco, or the taxpayer investment in planned growth and public safety. It does not help us create more revenue and it does NOT help us keep your taxes low.

• Paid Poll Workers who will be at the polls telling how great this is for Frisco.
On the Other Side, you have the AGAINST vote and community leaders who have invested thousands of hours to make sure Frisco is sustainable, has great public safety, a top-notch education system and great quality of life:

Your elected officials that you trusted to protect our community all are AGAINST including:

• The Mayor

• All 6 sitting Council Members individually

• All candidates running for City Council

• All the candidates running for school board

• Three Past Frisco Mayors

• All the Frisco ISD Board members individually

• Various community and youth organizations

• The Frisco Chamber of Commerce

• Hundreds of volunteers who are Frisco residents who have taken the time to campaign against this, sit at polling location and give presentation to other groups.

• Many of our local restaurants and regional & international companies that operate restaurants including CRO Management, owners of Cantina Laredo, Silver Fox Steakhouse, El Chico, III Forks and other metroplex concepts, Louie Villasaliu, owner of Eddie’s Napolis Ristaurante Italiano, Stan’s Main Street, Manny’s Tex Mex Grill, Texadelphia Frisco, Celebrity Café’ & Bakery Frisco, Twisted Tortilla and Bonnie Ruth’s Café Trottoir Et Patisseria at The Shops of Starwood.

I think it is pretty clear that this proposition is not good for Frisco. Please join me and all the others by making it crystal clear: Vote AGAINST today from 7AM to 7PM.

Please share this message. Please let your family and friends know and please VOTE.  SHARE THIS MESSAGE PLEASE.


interview last night: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Frisco-Voters-to-Decide-on-Controversial-Liquor-Petition-378491455.html



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The Frisco Chamber of Commerce issued this press release regarding the election on Saturday May 7, from 7AM to 7PM.  I hope you join them in voting AGAINST the alcohol proposition. Please Vote!

Governmental Affairs


Tuesday May 3rd – Last day to EARLY vote

Today, Tuesday, May 3rd, is the last day for early voting.  The polls are open until 7PM tonight. Please make your voice heard, vote for new Council Members & vote AGAINST the alcohol proposition. Information on polling locations can be found HERE.  In short, if you live in Collin County, you can vote at any Collin County polling location. If you live in Denton County portion of Frisco, you can vote at ANY Denton County polling location.

I am asking for your help and support in voting AGAINST the alcohol proposition.  You have received countless social media ads, phone calls and mailers by the paid consultants and workers that are pushing to pass this issue.  This ballot item is about one bar in Frisco that is not meeting the TABC requirements and that is trying to change the rules.  The messages you have received attempt to confuse the issue. They make it sound like Frisco is losing millions – we are not.  They make it sound like if you do not support this item, things will change in Frisco. They will not.  In short:

  • If you vote against: Nothing Changes.  You can still buy bear and wine in Frisco. You can still have a bar, with approval, in Frisco. You can still have a drink with dinner in Frisco.  If you vote for, then bars can locate anywhere in the city that has retail zoning without city control. We (YOU) can’t say no.  You can have liquor stores anywhere in the city that has retail zoning.  We (YOU) can’t say no.
  • Every current and past Mayor is voting AGAINST.  Every Council Member is voting AGAINST. They understand he issue and all feel the same way: THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR FRISCO AND OUR SUSTAINABILITY.  Will you support us – volunteers that have given thousands of hours to make Frisco successful or will you support special interest groups, ONE BAR that wants to make more money  and paid consultants who tell you how good this is for you?  Please help us stay on track by joining me and voting AGAINST.
  • They say we will lose Millions.  They are right.  Frisco is a very successful community. One of the lowest crime rates in the Country.  One of the lowest, if not lowest, tax rate of any city over 100,000 in North Texas. We have great balance, great school, low taxes, great quality of life. What will it cost us if we lose that balance? You are making a choice of how we develop by this vote.  Do we stay on plan?   To repeat: FRISCO HAS LOWER PROPERTY TAXES THAN ANY OF THE CITIES MENTIONED in their WITHOUT ALCOHOL SALES.
  • They say that restaurants will not stay open until 2AM without this vote and that they will go to Plano. Did you know Plano has the SAME EXACT rules that we do when it comes to bars? They cannot locate in Plano without a special use permit. The same thing we have now in Frisco. What this vote will do is allow BARS to locate anywhere there is retail zoning in Frisco WITHOUT city council (your elected officials) control.  Do you really want that?

I enjoy serving our community. I receive a small stipend every month to cover minor expenses. I volunteer my time to make Frisco the best and safest city in the country. I will not profit if you vote AGAINST. I have nothing to gain except keeping your taxes low and quality of life high if you vote AGAINST.  I am asking for your HELP – you can make a difference. Please join me in voting AGAINST today until 7PM or this Saturday from 7AM – 7PM.

Thank You!

Mayor Maher Maso


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Please Vote

Early Voting has Started! You will be going to the polls to elect two Frisco Council members and to vote on an alcohol proposition being presented by a local establishment. Also, depending on where you live in Frisco – you will be voting on ISD Trustees.

In the context of all the marketing being done by the pro-alcohol consultants and paid help, I created this post where I will attempt to add a new part to it every day during early Voting. My version of the top-10 list! Remember, the wording on the ballot is what THIS BUSINESS THAT BEGAN THIS EFFORT WANTED TO BE. It is not clear what you are voting on. The simplest way to explain it:  If you vote AGAINST – nothing will change. You can still purchase mixed drinks in restaurants, buy beer and wine in stores and visit private clubs in Frisco that can sell more than 50% of sales in alcohol.  If you vote for it, one of the outcomes will be that BARS can locate anywhere that retail zoning exists without further approvals by the City Council. This may include the empty lot near your home. The City Council cannot RESTRICT THEM if this passes.

Why vote AGAINST – My Daily Reasons?

DAY 3, 4 & 5 early voting reasons to vote AGAINST: 


On one side, slick newspaper-like advertisements, high-paid consultants and a highly respected economist. All of us have seen the myriad of reasons why we should vote to open up Frisco more than almost any other community in North Texas with bars and alcohols sales and at the top of the list is how much money we are losing to other cities!

On the other side is every single council member in the City of Frisco. Every single candidate running for city council. Every single school board trustee. The Frisco Chamber of Commerce, PTA’s and homeowner associations, past mayors, past council members and numerous other leaders.  In almost every case, volunteers who live in Frisco, who spend thousands of hours trying to make Frisco the best possible place to live.  Who truly care about our community.  They are involved. They know the facts.

There is a big difference between hired professionals paid to get this across the finish line and volunteers in our community trying to make Frisco a better place.  There is a big difference between one bar in Frisco that is trying to maximize their profits and community volunteers who are not making a profit out of this – they are only in it for a better community.  The alcohol paid consultants and bar are telling you why this is good for you. It’s not good for you. It is good for them and only them.

I know the consultants. They know what they are doing. They are good at what they are doing.  I have respect for them as a company, they are the best at what they do. But, the citizens of Frisco have to recognize that it is their job to convince you of their message.  In most cases – they will have a contingency fee – a large amount of dollars they will get if this passes.  Their pay is directly tied to their success.  They are so good at it, I am answering a lot of questions about this “lost revenue”. Their message has worked on some.

Yet we have volunteers know that the revenue comes with real costs, including lost opportunities and other expenses that they fail to mention  I am one of those volunteers. The only gain I receive is ensuring the quality of life in Frisco, the long-term sustainability of Frisco and the low taxes in Frisco. I do not make any money if this passes or fails.  My contingency when you vote AGAINST is that Frisco will stick to plan. My contingency fee, along with the other leaders, is quality of life, sustainability of our community and the jobs created here by having the right demographics for companies.

The consultants talk about lost revenue to nearby cities.  I will let you in on a little secret:  Frisco has a lower property tax rate than every one of them.  Our quality of life, low crime AND focused planning is keeping our property taxes low, not the fact that we don’t have alcohol sales.  This entire election is about one bar that, in my opinion, verges on the edge of being a sexually oriented business, wanting to sell more alcohol.  The consultants do a great job of trying to confuse the issue.

The consultants mention that many of our restaurants or “clubs” do not open until 2am and that Plano gets all of those clubs and that we need this to pass so that more clubs can open until 2AM.  Did you know that Plano regulates clubs the same way we currently do – they must get a special use permit from the city to sell more than 50%?  WE ARE IDENTICAL TO PLANO IN NOT ALLOWING BARS with going to the city for approval as a private club.

The paid consultants continue to push the lost revenue from not allowing bars to come up on every corner (yes, that is what can happen if this passes – the city will not have any control).  I have a question for you which is what the title of this post is – Is this about money?   If it is and our residents want us to  create more revenue and not worry about sustainability and planned growth, the city council can approve many things that will generate even more money. Do you really want us to?  Do you really want some of those high-impact uses in our city?  Do you want uses near your neighborhood that will lower your quality of life to just make more money?  I promised, when I ran for Mayor, to keep taxes low, to create jobs, to help build a sustainable city and keep a high QUALITY OF LIFE.  I didn’t promise to bring new revenue to the city at all costs. I promised to bring the RIGHT kind of growth.

Please join me in voting AGAINST and encourage your friends, family and neighbors to do the same thing. Let’s keep Frisco First – not the paid consultants and one bar that is pushing for this to pad their bottom line.


Day 2 early voting reason to vote AGAINST: The bar that is trying to push this proposition through to increase their bottom line and profits at Frisco’s expense is promising you a free beer if you vote.

I can’t promise you a free beer – I can only promise you to continue to do everything in my power to represent Frisco to the best of my ability, to always work my hardest to protect our community and to represent us to the world as the best place to do business and raise a family. Will you help me by voting AGAINST?

Day 1 early voting reason to vote AGAINST: I sent out a note asking for your support in helping me represent and protect Frisco. I need our citizens to be involved on this issue. Please Join me!   (posted from facebook):

Please join me in voting AGAINST the alcohol proposition on the ballot. It is there because SPECIAL INTEREST, PAID LOBBYIST and CONSULTANTS are trying to change the rules for a business that is not meeting the 50% alcohol requirements. I do not ask our community for much – but I’m asking for your support to just say NO (AGAINST) to others trying to bring a free-for-all in our community.

Leave control of how BARS get to operate in our city in the control of the City Council, not special interests. Please tell your friends as the consultants hired by this bar are spending and have spent a large amount of money on convincing our residents this is good for our city. IT IS ONLY GOOD FOR THEM – NOT OUR CITY.

Please go to the polls starting today and vote.


How can you help?

  1. Vote AGAINST!
  2. Call, Talk or E-mail all your friends and family to Vote!
  3. Share this link with all your social media sites and groups. The power of one can become many. Frisco First!
  4. Remind your family and friends to vote (again)!  We are all busy with life – but we can’t take this issue for granted. It can change the face and success of Frisco and send us in the wrong direction.
  5. To learn more about why you should vote AGAINST, visit:  http://keepingfriscofirst.com/
  6. Election Information can be found here:  http://friscotexas.gov/1143/May-2016-Elections
  7. Remember:  VOTE AGAINST
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