Since approving the water rate increase suggested by Raftelis Financial Consultants Inc. during the summer months, and based on a Water and Water Reclamation Cost of Service and Rate Design Study, San Angelo City officials are working hard to educate the public and to get feedback about the rates. Therefore, COSA set up a public water forum yesterday evening at the McNease Convention Center to continue that education.
Few San Angelo citizens showed up, however, despite the outpouring of concern and outrage expressed through social media. Overall, more city officials were present at the forum, but the event was broadcast live on Channel 17, COSA’s public information channel through Cox Communications.
“The city contracted with Raftelis Financial Consultants to help us look through this process and develop a financial plan to look at the challenges the utility was facing and figure out how we move forward in the future to meet the requirements of the utility financially—to have a financially stable operation,” Riley told attendees.
After Riley’s introduction and explanation, Rick Giardina, executive vice president with Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. provided attendees with the same, but shortened, version of the presentation provided to City Council both in August and November.
Once Giardina presented the information, the floor opened to public comment.
One man asked about commercial rates, and another had concerns about paying over $100 as a single man with a dog. Officials answered questions as best they could.
Although not many people showed up to the forum, some residents continued to voice concerns on social media.
On his Facebook page, Daniel Cardenas, who announced he will be running as candidate for the Single-Member District 3 seat for City Council in May 2016, said “The City of San Angelo is going up on your water bill once again! Your bill will be about $11 more per month. Your trash bill went up $9 plus a fee for recycling that took affect January the first, providing us with less service, [and] one pickup per week. We get service and pay more! Our taxes are going up again!”
COSA officials stated there will be more public meetings where citizens will be able to address such concerns before the rates go into effect in 2016.