Boyd eyes water rate increase

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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The city of Boyd could soon implement increased water and sewer rates.
The city council held one public hearing on a proposed 10 percent water rate increase for residential and commercial customers and a 50 percent increase to commercial sewer rates Tuesday night. The council plans to hold a second public hearing and possibly adopt the new rates that would eliminate the water and sewer department’s annual deficit at its May 1 meeting.
“We’ll hold the public hearing in two weeks and try to adopt the slight increase. We’ll implement it as soon as we can,” said Boyd Mayor Rodney Holmes.
The rate increases would raise average residential water bill for a homeowner using 4,500 gallons $4.60 to $51.10. With the average sewer bill, remaining the same at $33.20, the average monthly total residential water/wastewater bill would be $84.30.
The average commercial customer consuming 12,000 gallons of water will see a $14 increase to $153.60. The commercial sewer bill will increase $26 to $78. The average monthly commercial water/wastewater bill would be $217.60.
According to a report by Belcheff and Associates engineer Roman Boitsov, the water/wastewater department had a $43,101 deficit in 2016-17 fiscal year and is projected have a $37,266 shortfall this year. With the increases, the department would have a $33,157 surplus in 2018-19.
“I don’t know how we can keep from doing this,” said Boyd Mayor pro tem Mark Culpepper. “We’ve known this for three years, and our thought was to bump a buck, and bump a buck. We thought residents would complain about bump a buck and they didn’t. If they know the facts, they won’t about $4.60. They are not going to complain about the 21 percent on businesses. It’s got to be done, or we say close the town.
“This has been going on for 20 years. This council became aware of it three years ago, and we’ve been working on a fix and the whys. Now, we know the whys and the fix.”
The city has been pulling money out of the general fund to cover the deficits in the water/wastewater department. The city supplements its water supply by purchasing water from Walnut Creek Special Utility District. The city’s cost for water purchases jumped from $92,347 in 2016 to $189,138 in 2017.
“The reason we’re struggling in discussing 24-hour police coverage is because we’re having to pull money from that budget to pay for water,” Holmes said.
The increases would also allow the city to cover a portion of the increased debt payment with the $5.8 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board for water improvements. A portion of the debt payment would also come from property taxes.
Boistov added to his report the impact of the proposed 600-home development Springhill South with the rate increases. The city could see a surplus of $178,506 in 2020-21 and up to $516,377 in 2022-23.
Holmes said the development would help the finances of the city in regards to the water department.
“Right now, we’re trying to borrow money and get to a point to where everything is going to roll and take care of itself after that. But we have to get phase 1 done of the water improvements to get to that point,” Holmes said. “That’s what we are tying to do.”

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