NewsChannel 11 Breaks Down Water Bill Increase Proposals - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/18/08

NewsChannel 11 Breaks Down Water Bill Increase Proposals

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Higher water bills could hit the Hub City by March, but just how much higher is still being decided.

Friday morning, Lubbock's water advisory committee did not make a recommendation to city council. Instead, members will review several options provided by the city's finance and water utilities departments.

NewsChannel 11 is taking a closer look at each proposal.

Bottom line, this year folks could see their bill go up nearly 37% starting March 1st.  That's on the high end of the proposals.  The low end increases your bill by only 15% this year.

Let's look at your water bill first, because it has the highest proposed increase.

The city has three options to pay for a new pipeline to Lake Alan Henry, and the projects associated with that connection.  They're looking at paying off that debt in 20-years, 25-years, or 30-years.

For each one of those terms, the city has come up with two ways to pay off their debt in that amount of time.

The first, called break even, would raise your water bill by nearly 29% this year.  Folks would not see an increase in 2009, but the city projects further increases in 2010 and 2011.

The second, called four-year-smoothed, would increase your bill at the same rate over four years. That would raise your bill by 15% to 16% this year.  Those increases would run through 2011.

The city wants to have water running from Lake Alan Henry by 2012. So, that means folks are looking at a total water bill increase of between 60% to nearly 77% over the next four years.

Sewer bill increases are a little lower. The city has three options to pay for upgrading the sewer treatment plant.

The first, called break even, would not raise your sewer bill this year. It would increase by nearly 17% next year, with more increases in 2010 and 2013, for a total increase of nearly 53%.

The second, called three-year-smoothed, would raise your bill by the same amount over three years. Folks wouldn't see an increase this year. They would see a 15% increase the following three years. That's a total increase of 45%.

The third option is called six-year-smoothed, raising your bill by the same amount over six years. With this option, folks would see an 8% increase this year. That increase would continue through 2013, for a total increase of 48%.

The city council is only voting on increases for this year. The rest of the numbers are only projections by the city, and they can change and not necessarily for the worst. Lower interest rates could save the city and you some money.

Staff hopes to present the options and recommendations to council by February. Again, rates could change starting March 1st.

The water committee is expected to make their recommendation next Friday.  

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