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Why I am for the 30% increase in Water and Sewer rates and 100% increase in drainage

August 27, 2011

I will need to back this up with some actual numbers, but I would like to get my position out there for people to see and read. Even if they don’t agree with it, at least they’ll know what’s going on.

There has not been an increase in water rates since 2001. (I’ll verify this later, but let’s go with that for now.) There has not been an increase in the drainage rates since 2004. (I’ll verify this, but I’m fairly confident of that.) I’m not for increases for the sake of increasing expenses.

I think it is absolutely deplorable that previous councils have done rate surveys, but then not implemented the recommended rates when they could have been more incremental.

Water rates presently do not even cover the costs of distribution. They do not cover the costs of infrastructure upgrades. They do not cover the costs of the maintenance equipment to maintain them. Even with the rate increases, the rates do not fully cover the costs of infrastructure upgrades or the equipment. All the upgrades do is cover the actual price of water being delivered. There is a little bit of an increase to be able to have a 90-day operating fund so that in the event of problems (such as 25 mains breaking in 17 days in the extreme heat that we’ve been enduring lately) the funds are on hand to immediately fix them instead of leaving them.

The water/sewage/drainage system is set up as what is called an Enterprise fund. (Funny, isn’t it, that a government is calling itself an Enterprise –like a business or something?) Anyway, the fund is supposed to be self-supporting. Let me put it this way. The money collected from the water rates should cover the city’s cost to get the water from North Richland Hills and Fort Worth and distribute it, carry waste water away, and provide for adequate drainage. It should also cover the cost to replace and repair the mains over time and the equipment used to maintain our water infrastructure like dump trucks, backhoes, street sweeper, and other implements used to fix pipes and ensure reliable delivery of water.

This is a tough call. It’s regrettable to me that the situation is where it is. It is only from neglect for so many years that this could be the case. In many cases, the pipes should have been replaced 10-15 years ago. That previous city councils have failed to ensure the stability of the system is disgusting to me. So much so that I have asked an attorney if it would not be possible to sue previous council members for a failure to discharge their fiduciary responsibilities to the city. I have been informed that council members are immune from such suits as long as they were acting in good faith. I tend to wonder if they were, but alas, that is where we are.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Jo Lynn Haussmann permalink
    August 31, 2011 3:39 pm

    Do we have an idea of what the average water/sewer bill is throughout Texas? As I understand, ours is already high as well as our property taxes are one of the highest. This is what I’m “told.” Do you know what the truth is?
    I wonder, where is all the money going the City is saving on not mowing or having to maintain the drainage ditches throughout this summer? I have one circling the back of my house and as far as I am aware, it has only been mowed twice in 6 months. Could this money also not be allotted to help offset the increase? It seems there are many places money could come from right now other than increasing the expense to the citizens at this time.
    I for one am on SS Disability and cannot afford the increase. Our water bills increase, our City taxes increase, TCCC taxes increase. What next? Why can these people not wait until next year when HOPEFULLY the economy will get at least a little better. Food and gas have gotten so expensive these past couple of years til people like myself can’t pay a mortgage payment or rent in just trying to keep our bellies and cars fed and now they want to do all these other increases! Come on!! HELP US!!
    I know there is a desperate need to repair our drainage system but hey, we also need to eat and buy gas! We NEED to pay our mortgage/rents!

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