NEWS HEADLINES

Water rates to increase

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Water rates for Paradise residents under age 60 will increase by 7 percent in the next fiscal year.

Beginning Oct. 1, the basic fee for residents under age 60 will go up from $36.11 to $38.64 for the first 1,000 gallons. Thereafter, the fee structure hikes as follows:

  • from $6.91 to $7.39 per thousand gallons for 1,001 to 5,000 gallons;
  • from $7.15 to $7.65 per thousand gallons for 5,001 to 15,000 gallons; and
  • from $7.55 to $7.93 per thousand gallons for more than 15,000 gallons.

Rates increase from $6.72 to $7.19 per thousand gallons for Paradise ISD and from $6.82 to $7.30 for bulk water sales.

A separate base fee for residents over age 60 on a fixed income remains unchanged at $27.50. However, those residents do not get a break if their consumption exceeds 1,000 gallons. If that happens, they will be charged at the new rates.

The council approved the hike during a budget workshop Aug. 22 in anticipation of the changes that could be made by Walnut Creek Special Utility District, the city’s water supplier.

“They don’t do their budget until February or March so we don’t know if they’ll go up on their rates,” City Secretary Teresa Moody said. “We’ve gone up by 7 percent the last few years at the recommendation of a former councilmember, and that’s been pretty accurate.”

Any leftover money would be moved to the contingency fund, which is expected to increase drastically in the next fiscal year due to the opening of a Dollar General store. Officials budgeted for the surplus to increase from $3,500 this year to $34,000.

Other features of the $201,760 financial plan for fiscal year 2014 include:

  • a 4-percent raise and additional paid holidays for Moody, who has served as city secretary for 13 years;
  • doubling the road repair budget from $15,000 to $30,000;
  • a decrease in donation to the fire department from $5,000 to $2,500 – although the city will pay for an increase in the department’s insurance from $7,500 to $9,300. “It’s essentially the same amount of money; we’re just dispersing it in a different way,” Moody said.

The city also budgeted $2,900 in election supplies – down from $4,000 this fiscal year. However, the city will not hold an election as the three incumbents with expiring terms were the only ones who filed – Mayor Sam Starr, Place 4 Terre Ward and Place 5 Roy Steel.

A public hearing on the proposed 33.9-cent tax rate, unchanged from last year, and the budget will be held at the council’s next regular meeting, 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at City Hall.

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