City Leaders Suggest Four Percent Increase in Water and Sewer Rates

City Leaders Suggest Four Percent Increase in Water and Sewer Rates

Homeowners in Wichita Falls may soon be hit with a double-pronged increase as city officials are looking at a hike in the property tax rate, and also at hikes in water and sewer rates.
    The budget draft for the City of Wichita Falls' upcoming fiscal year is in and city officials are proposing a four percent increase in both water and sewer rates.
    This would be on top of about a penny increase in the tax rate.
    Jim Dockery, CFO and assistant city manager, says, "This year, we've had some increases in some costs that are facing us.  We've had some additional chemicals that we're required to purchase."
    Mandates from the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency required the city to buy additional E-coli testing chemicals.
    City departments are also purchasing a new utility billing computer system.
    And another big cost increase for the city is the cost of health insurance for employees.
    "The average customer would pay $1.35 more per month for water services, and about 78 cents per month for sewer services," Dockery says.
    Neither water nor sewer rates increased last year.
    Even with the increase, Dockery says Wichita Falls' rates would be comparable to same-sized cities.
    "When you combine both the water and the sewer charges for the City of Wichita Falls to the water and sewer charges of other cities, we're right there in the average," Dockery says.
    He says the money will also build up to go toward future projects to help firm up the city source, like the water reuse project.
    Public hearings are scheduled so you can voice your opinion on the budget proposal.
    Those will be Sept. 4 and 11 at 8:30 a.m.
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