Five year increase lowered from 50 to 46%; first year impact is 11.5 percent starting in 2016

Jim Sánchez/ Conexión San Ángelo

SAN ANGELO – San Angelo water customers are facing a possible water rate increase of 11.49 percent starting January 2016, pending community feedback and a couple of town hall meetings to be held next week.

Tuesday morning, city officials discussed the measure during the City Council regular meeting, aiming to fund the Water Utilities Department operating costs.

In August a rate increase of 20 percent was proposed for 2016 by Raftelis Financial Group, and from there on “watered down” increases of 7.5 percent per year through 2020 for a total of 50 percent.

The new proposal of 11.49 percent would incrementally go up on a yearly basis until it peaks out at 45.68 percent in 2020. The average cost of the domestic bill would increase from $51.17 to $57.05 in 2016. These increments were presented by Water Utilities Director, Bill Riley.

SMD 6 Charlotte Farmer however suggested that the charts and graphs be placed in the Sunday news-papers, plus on the website for people to see, so they can have time to digest what the Council has been looking at for months. 

“That way people won’t think, why this is the first time we’ve heard about it,” Farmer said. 

SMD5 Elizabeth Grindstaff chimed in saying she didn’t want any action taken until there is public input in a separate venue.

SMD1 Rodney Fleming concurred with Farmer, “I would love to have the charts comparing our rates to the (rates in) other cities because I believe we are lower than other cities,” he said. 

The City Council supported unanimously a plan for the water rate increase before going into effect. But first, the council will receive feedback from the community with two scheduled town hall meetings. The first one is scheduled on Nov. 9 at the San Angelo Realtors Association, 1902 Pecos St. The second one on Nov. 10 will be at Southland Baptist Church, 4300 Meadow Creek Trail; both will start at 6 p.m.