SAN ANGELO, TX — Since 2006, the City of San Angelo Water Utilities Department has been required by City ordinance to discount water bills as a reward for water customers who use 3,000 gallons or less of water per month. Tuesday, Allison Strube, Water Utilities Director, will propose that the City Council ditch this discount, called the “10% Conservation Discount.”
The 2006 ordinance issues a 10 percent discount to low water use customers. It is applied to the sum of the $26.88 base rate plus the volumetric charge. A customer using 1,000 gallons of water, for example, receives a $3 discount, which wipes out almost the entire volumetric charge, and revenue to the City water department, of $3.30. A customer using 3,000 gallons per month receives a $3.81 discount.
City water said that the gross annual cost of the credits has grown from $308,951.71 in 2015 to over $400,000 for 2018 if the current trend continues through December of this year. Water rates increased substantially at the beginning of 2016, enhancing the City’s total cost of giving the discount.
Strube recommends the 10% Conservation Discount be eliminated. Tuesday, Oct. 2, is the first reading of the proposed City ordinance to do so. If council approves the elimination Tuesday, the ordinance is required to have a second reading at a later council meeting before the ordinance is changed and the discount is eliminated.
Strube suggests in the write-up to the agenda item that the discount be replaced with more targeted financial incentives for water conservation, such as a rebate for the installation of water-efficient toilets. The new incentives can be discussed at later council meetings after the 10% Conservation Discount is eliminated, she stated.