City of San Angelo Public Forum Will Address Proposed Water Rate Structure


On Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m., the City of San Angelo’s Water Utilities will host a public forum to explain a proposed water rate increase, answer questions and gather public input on the plan, said a press release Wednesday.

The forum will be in the north meeting room of the McNease Convention Center, 501 Rio Concho Drive.

According to the release, the proposed increase would occur incrementally over five years, as explained in previous stories. The average customer currently pays $51.17 per month for water and sewer service. If the City Council approves the proposed plan, the rate would increase $5.88 per month in 2016. By 2020, the average residential customer would pay $79.08, which is an increase of $27.91 per month over the current cost.

Raftelis Financial Consultants recommended the rate increase after analyzing San Angelo’s rate structure compared to the water utility’s financial needs. Raftelis concluded the current rates fail to ensure the utility’s financial viability, address its aging infrastructure and develop future water sources.

Additionally, drought restrictions have prevented the water utility from selling enough water to cover its expenses since 2012, the release stated. As a result, the utility has spent money from its fund balance, and that balance has “dwindled to about $300,000.” The city’s water fund should have 75-days minimum of operating expense, which comes out to approximately $3.8 million.

Raftelis also recommended a more aggressive approach to infrastructure improvements, including replacing water mains that are 50-plus years old and exceed their expected lifespan.

The company also stated San Angelo’s water rates insufficiently secure financing for future water supply projects that will complement the city’s portfolio of surface water supplies. COSA is exploring a wastewater reuse project anticipated to cost $136 million. It’s also studying the potential of capturing storm water from the Red Arroyo. In addition, San Angelo is partnering with the cities of Midland and Abilene to identify a possible long-term regional water source that would serve all three communities.

On Nov. 3, City Council members stated they support the water rate proposal, but said they would first educate citizens about the plan and gather public feedback.

The Water Utilities Department hopes to have a new rate structure in place by Jan. 1, and the council is expected to conduct a first reading of an ordinance detailing the rate structure Dec. 1. Final approval could occur later in the month.

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We were told to conserve and when we did, the city was unable to cut expenses. Now you are raising the rates, higher priced water will help to cause more conservation. People will not be as willing to run sprinklers and water. Guess what this will cause the projected revenue to be less. Most of don't care that we are paying less than Town X, Y or Z.
Way to go city government.

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