FORNEY, Texas — Pending a vote by its members and approval from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Markout Water Supply Corporation (WSC) will merge with the City of Mesquite and the Grayhawk subdivision will be separated and merged into the City of Forney's service area.

The future of Markout WSC and several previously proposed mergers have been hotly debated over the last several years. The Markout WSC board and staff members say today's announcement is the best future for its members.

"For the past several years, the Markout Board of Directors has been seeking ways to reduce water costs, staffing, and operational costs. We are excited to tell you that the City of Mesquite (Mesquite), working with the City of Forney (Forney), has agreed to acquire Markout Water Supply’s (Markout) service area," read a statement from Markout WSC.

With approval of Markout WSC members via a vote, the City of Mesquite will petition to obtain approval of the merger from PUC. Upon that approval, the Markout WSC will be dissolved and its members will become City of Mesquite water customers.

The corporation says the City of Mesquite and the City of Forney have agreed to physically separate the Grayhawk subdivision from Markout WSC's current infrastructure and place its service area into the City of Forney's certificate of necessity and convenience (CCN) — an area in which the certificate holder has exclusive rights to provide water and/or sewer utility services within its boundaries.

"Most of Markout’s geographic area is within Mesquite’s city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction, so it makes sense for Mesquite to acquire the entire area and then split off what lies in Forney’s city limits and for Forney to serve its own citizens," continued the statement from the corporation.

"By removing Markout’s costs from the delivery of water, the costs will be more manageable for all customers," stated the corporation. "Markout Water was needed and filled a great purpose when it was established in 1965 because there were no cities nearby to provide water to those living in the rural area. Today, the cities are literally within our service area and it no longer makes sense for Markout to exist"

Three public information meetings will be held at the corporation's office located at 10371 Walnut Lane in Forney. The first will be during the corporation's annual meeting this Thursday, September 17, 2020, at 6 p.m.

The second and third meetings will be held on Monday, September 28 at 6 p.m. and Monday, October 12 at 6 p.m.

Representatives from the Markout Board of Directors and the City of Mesquite will be present to answer questions on this proposed merger.

Because Markout WSC is a member-owned water supply corporation, the proposed merger and completion of the acquisition requires the vote of the Markout WSC's members. Ballots will be mailed to Markout WSC members and due no later than end-of-day on Sunday, October 18, 2020.

"The Board and Staff of Markout strongly believe this is the best future for Markout’s members," read the statement.

The City of Forney has not released or confirmed completion of a feasibility study approved and sought by the Forney City Council in 2016.

Tonight, during a regularly-scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m., the Forney City Council will consider a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Mesquite to outline future steps for the transfer of the Grayhawk subdivision to the City of Forney's CCN; to provide consent for the assignment of Markout WSC's current wholesale water contract to the City of Mesquite; and provide termination of the wholesale water contract to give way for a transportation agreement to continue to provide water to the Markout service area until the City of Mesquite's facilities are constructed and extended to connect to Markout WSC's current system.