City Preps To Fight Houston’s Water Rate Increases

February 23, 2010

West University Place leaders next month will meet with Houston officials to argue that West U. should not be subject to an upcoming 25 percent water rate hike, considering the city’s population has stagnated over the last decade.

The city council on Monday approved a water rate increase of 3.8 percent, which is needed to recover costs since Houston in December 2009 began charging West U. more for surface water. An average West U. family of four now pays $114.29 per month for about 12,000 gallons of water, plus trash service. The rate increase will add about $2.26 to the bill.

Houston also increased charges in April 2009 and West U. passed those costs to customers in Sept. 2009. This month’s rate hike will not be the last.

“On January 1, 2011 we’re going to have another roughly 25 percent increase in the city’s water rates,” said Finance Director Rhonda Daugherty. Houston calculates its increases based on population growth and other factors, she said.

“Didn’t they claim we had a population increase?” said Councilman George Boehme. “We have no growth. We have negative growth according to the census.”

City Manager Michael Ross said lack of population growth is one of the arguments against West U. having to pay so much more for water. He and other staff members plan to meet with city of Houston officials in March to review the findings of a water rate study that justified the increases.

“We’ve asked for a copy of the rate study to review ahead of that meeting. There’s been a little resistance,” Ross said. “Hopefully we will get to review it before the meeting so we can discuss it.”

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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