December 31, 2013

Arlington water rate increases reach spout Jan. 1

Residents will see a $4.90 month water bill increase on average.

The cost of taking a bath, doing the laundry and watering the lawn is going to be a bit higher starting today.

And it’s not going to be the last time.

The Arlington City Council approved an 8.8 percent rate increase for residential customers, and a 6.2 percent rate increase for commercial users, as part of the 2014 budget in September.

As a result, the average residential water bill will go up $4.90 per month — or $58.80 a year. Business owners could see up to a $24.81 monthly increase — or $297.72 year.

The rate increases are set to continue for the next five years, but won’t be as substantial as this year’s increase and next year’s proposed $5 increase for average residential use, said Darryl Westbrook, assistant director of Arlington Water Utilities.

According to city projections, annual water bills for the average residential user could increase $237.72 by 2018.

After three years the rate increases will start to flatten out, he added.

Westbrook said individual rate increases depend on how much water a consumer uses, which on average is 10,000 gallons of water and 6,000 gallons of wastewater for residents monthly, and 50,000 gallons of water for businesses monthly.

“There’s a huge wide range of uses for commercial, so it’s hard to say that a commercial person is going to see that much of an increase because most probably won’t, and some will see more than that,” he said.

Westbrook said the city will have increased costs of $2.8 million from the Trinity River Authority and $1.5 million from the Tarrant Regional Water District to bring additional water supply to the Metroplex.

Rate increases were originally set to take place Oct. 1, but the city agreed to utilize its Rate Stabilization Fund to delay the increases until Jan. 1, he said.

“They are paying a little less than what they normally would have,” he said.

This report includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

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