MUD, HOA, POA, WBNA – WTH?

If you’ve ever felt this way, this article is for you.  Most of us in Wells Branch (except Brattonwood & Bratton Glen) are a part of the Wells Branch MUD (also referred to as being In-District).  If you live in Wells Branch, and pay your water bill to Wells Branch Municipal Utility District (MUD), you’re in a MUD.  You may also be in an HOA or POA.  And, in addition to these, we’d really like to have you in the WBNA.

Are you confused yet?

Wells Branch MUD – The Wells Branch Municipal Utility District (MUD) is a recognized local government created under Texas State Law providing for these limited authority entities as part of the Water Code.

Wells Branch MUD provides for creation and management of services supporting water, wastewater, drainage, parks, safety, solid waste and other functions. The Wells Branch MUD Board of Directors are elected for four year terms at elections every two years (for 2 or 3 members per election).

Wells Branch MUD was created in 1981 by a group of developers that were expanding neighborhoods around Austin. Wells Branch is NOT a part of the city of Austin, but we are in the ETJ (extra-territorial jurisdiction) of Austin.  For this reason, we are served by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and ESD#2 instead of City of Austin Police or Fire Dept.  We do not pay taxes to the “City”; we pay taxes to the MUD and County for their services.

The mission statement of Wells Branch MUD is as follows:

“The District works in a cost effective and efficient way to support the vision by monitoring, tracking, and ensuring quality of life in the District. Quality of life has been defined as safe water supply, well maintained amenities, recreational opportunities, general safety, and stable and appreciating property values.”

HOA/POA (Home Owners Association/Property Owners Association) – Generally speaking, an HOA/POA is a membership of homeowners that is responsible for the enforcement of the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for the properties in their immediate subdivision.  There are some exceptions for “In-District” vs. “Out-of-District”.  Many of the Associations also maintain the landscaping and fences in the common areas of, once again, their immediate neighborhood.  The goal of an HOA/POA is to enhance the appearance of its neighborhood and maintain property values.  Dues paid to an HOA/POA, go for Covenant or Deed Restriction enforcement and maintenance of the common areas of the subdivision.

The Association retains a property management company to collect dues and maintain the accounting and expenses for the Association.

  • If you are “In-District”, the WB MUD handles your covenant enforcement.  Some HOAs/POAs do Deed Restriction enforcement in addition to the Covenant Restrictions documented by the MUD.
  • “Out-of-District” HOAs/POAs are responsible for enforcement of violations of the Covenants and Deed Restrictions.

The “Architectural Control Committee” is an independent (non-MUD) group that must be contacted for home alterations prior to modifications for “In-District” properties however, all contact with the ACC is routed through Wells Branch MUD.  To contact the ACC, email Suzette Clarkson at sclarkson@wellsbranchmud.com or phone 251-9814.  To contact the ACC, email Suzette Clarkson at sclarkson@wellsbranchmud.com or phone 251-9814.  Forms may be downloaded at the MUD website:  www.wellsbranchmud.com under “Documents” => “Community Resources” => “ACC Request Form”.

“Out-of-District” properties have their own Architectural Control Committees that may be contacted through their property management companies.

There are five HOAs or POAs in Wells Branch.  If you live in Bratton Glen, Brattonwood, Brookside, Stoneridge or The Lake at Wells Branch, you live in an area with an HOA or POA.  There is a link to each of these HOAs/POAs along with property management information on our website: www.wbna.us under “Links”.

If your home is in one of these areas, membership in your designated HOA/POA is not optional and is disclosed during the purchase of your property. You became a member of your HOA/POA at the closing of your home purchase when you signed a “Planned Unit Development Rider” which explains the terms of the HOA/POA and your responsibility for payment of dues.  You could not close on your property without signing this document.

Each HOA/POA has its own specific guidelines as to how many Board of Director positions are elected and the term of these positions although most offices are elected annually at a general meeting of Home/Property Owners.  Board of Directors and Officers serve on a voluntary basis; they donate their time and efforts to the neighborhood.

WBNA – Wells Branch Neighborhood Association  – The Wells Branch Neighborhood Association is a social/civic organization that includes all addresses in Wells Branch whether “In-District” or “Out-of-District”.  We are NOT a governing body and do not collect taxes.  We have no legal right to enforce anything.  Membership dues, $20 per year per household, are optional, but GREATLY appreciated.  The WBNA publishes the “Neighborhood News” six times a year.  Each issue is hand delivered to every house in Wells Branch, all 3,366, by volunteers.  In addition to this, we put on the Easter Egg Hunt each year, hold a Silent Auction fundraiser in the CC during FourthFest, host National Night Out for the neighborhood, and host one of the nights during Luminary Fest in December.  WBNA also hosts several meetings throughout the year with guest speakers on every thing from gardening to safety.   We have a new website up and running, www.wbna.us which posts neighborhood events, news, and just has all kinds of cool stuff on it and we’ve just started a Facebook photo share site for Wells Branch residents.    We rely on dues, donations and advertising to fund our endeavors with the purpose of keeping the residents of Wells Branch informed and facilitating community spirit.  We have a board consisting of six officers who are elected each January by a majority of WBNA members.  We are strictly a volunteer-run organization.

In short:

WB MUD: Most of Wells Branch – Taxing entity with responsibility to provide services to residents.  Provides a safe water supply and maintains an excellent park system that adds to our property values.  Recreational opportunities and events sponsored by the MUD are outstanding!

HOA/POA: Some parts of WB – Collects dues for covenant (Out-of District, only) and deed restriction enforcement and property maintenance.

WBNA: All of Wells Branch – Voluntary membership to fund neighborhood activities and foster a sense of community.

Hopefully, we’ve helped to clear a little confusion.  Bottom line is:  All are separate entities with entirely different purposes, functions and funding.  We can however, communicate with each other and join together for events to create a stronger community.

Together, we all make Wells Branch Great!

Submitted by Debby Thompson, President, WBNA with contributions by Chuck Walters, President, Wells Branch MUD Board of Directors and Dan Ernst, Stoneridge POA Board Member

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