Two Percent Water Rate Increase Could Jump As High As Twenty Percent Next Year
A likely 2 percent increase in water rates could be just the beginning for West U. residents if the City of Houston raises their rates by as much as 20 percent next year, as West U. staff predicts. West U. Council Monday night approved the first of two readings raising rates by 2 percent, due to a 5 percent increase from the City of Houston for the purchase of treated surface water.
Residents who use 12,000 gallons per month would see their total bill, including solid waste, rise from $113.13 to $114.29. Councilman Steven Segal had issues with some of the math in the report, but approved the first reading with the agreement that Finance Director Rhonda Daugherty would send him more information on the calculations.
West U. is currently required to use 50 percent surface water and 50 percent well water – down from 80 percent surface because of credits recently purchased from another district.
“We have already been somewhat informed that there will bean additional increase from Houston,” said Daugherty. “We anticipate this coming again the 2010 budget year, a 20 percent increase.”
“We may be discussing or bringing to council some suggestions on how we might choose to argue that point with the City of Houston,” said Michael Ross, who said Houston is in the process of performing a study to determine appropriate water rate increases. “We will get out own expert opinion on that.”
Councilman Bob Fry, who met with City of Houston representatives two years ago to discuss a previous large rate hike, doesn’t see much hope in arguing against the increase.
“It was pretty clear that the City of Houston has been asleep at the wheel and not raised rates as they should have for a number of yeas, and were looking at a substantial increase just to catch up,” said Fry. “I don’t see a lot of hope for appeal for this. The data is there.”