Several changes are being made to the city’s water and wastewater rate structure to ensure that they can meet the needs and demands of the community.
Following a recent vote by the City Council, the current base rate for water and wastewater of $13.28 per month will gradually increase from $13.55 on Dec. 1 to $13.90 by the end of 2018.
“The City Council has been studying the issue of how to best maintain and improve our water and wastewater system for some time — particularly how to accomplish all that must be done while remaining cognizant of the cost to our citizens,” Mayor David Kelly said. “Along with adjustments based on use, phasing out the city subsidy for the first 2,000 gallons of water use — which has been in effect for more than 20 years — and reinvesting that money into our water system so it benefits everyone makes good fiscal sense. It allows us to make the improvements we need with the least impact on citizens.”
City officials say the water and wastewater systems are of vital importance to the community.
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“When it works well, we take it for granted” Mona Gandy, city spokeswoman, said. “When it doesn’t, even a few hours without water can have an impact.”
Since late last year, the City Council has been reviewing and developing plans to ensure the long-term integrity of the system is maintained and that adequate funding is available for upgrades when necessary.
Currently, the city recovers 41 percent of its fixed cost for water/wastewater operations. In addition, over the next 20 years about $55 million in projects have been identified as necessary for the system to keep pace with current and future needs.
To ensure the city’s system will remain viable, changes to the city’s rate structure are necessary, city officials said.
Rate structure changes, recently approved by the City Council, include:
▪ Removing the city’s historical subsidy for the first 2,000 gallons of customer water use — at the rate of 500 gallons a year over a four-year period — from the base rate for water and wastewater so that the base rate gradually increases from $13.55 on Dec. 1 to $13.90 by the end of 2018,
▪ Raising the minimum base rate for water meters that are 11/2 inches or larger, which will not affect most residential customers, but could have an impact on high-use customers, including business and commercial entities.
▪ Increasing the base monthly rate for nonresidential wastewater by $6 — to be phased in with gradual increases over a three-year period from 2016 to 2018.
While the impact on an average monthly residential bill is relatively small, the new revenue that would be available to reinvest in Colleyville’s system is significant, Gandy said.
“It would provide additional revenue that would be dedicated to funding the capital projects identified as necessary to the system over the next 20 years,” she said. “And, even with the changes to the rate structure, Colleyville would still have one of the lowest water/wastewater rates in northeast Tarrant County.”
Future water/wastewater improvement projects include:
▪ Upsizing water lines at various locations.
▪ Renewing and/or replacing sewer manholes.
▪ Adding or replacing pressure-regulating and flow-control valves to facilitate more efficient water flow.
▪ Possible construction of an elevated storage tank in the southeastern section of the city.
▪ Installing new water lines to provide loops for redundancy in the system so that water is still available even in the event of a line break.
Under the approved rates the average monthly residential bill will increase $8.58, based on the use of 20,000 gallons of water and 10,000 gallons of wastewater, during each of the next four years. The increase breaks down as follows:
▪ The city’s base monthly rate for water and wastewater will increase by a combined total of 3 percent, from 2015 to 2019. Its volumetric rate will increase by 8 percent over the same period. Volumetric charges are based on the amount of water used. These will provide funding for the capital projects associated with the system.
Non-city rate changes, based on the projections of the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) and the Trinity River Authority (TRA) related to their services, include:
▪ The purchase of raw water from TRWD and its treatment by the TRA will increase by 29 percent and 23 percent, respectively, from 2015-2019.
▪ TRA wastewater treatment charges will increase by 37 percent during the same period.
Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367