Major water rate hike postponed - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/5/09

Major water rate hike postponed

NewsChannel 11 has learned a compromise is in works to possibly lower the immediate increase in the water rates. We're told the increase vote will be put on hold this morning and will be presented Monday at noon.

It's time for some big changes according to one Lubbock City Councilman.

Councilman John Leonard said he was angry that city council was on the eve of giving final approval to a water bill hike of more than 40 percent. Leonard told NewsChannel 11 Wednesday it was time for the city to create a water board that would oversee water rates, much the same way the LP&L board oversees electric rates. Council would still retain final control, but the board would have a significant say in the matter.

NewsChannel 11 went out to see what Lubbock citizens thought about the price jump. We wanted the opinions of those who actually foot the bill, and it was no surprise; we did not find anyone who thought the rate jump was a good idea. "That's a tank of gas." Raymond Cortez Jr. said. "That's a couple of groceries, you know. That could even be a night out for the family. So, I'm not happy about it."

Cortez's reaction to a higher water bill was not unusual. His feelings reflected those of many Lubbockites who will soon feel the effects of a water bill rate hike, including Joyce Brown who said she does not have the means to cover the increase. "I don't have a job right now and everything," Jones said. "I'm taking care of my father-in-law and you know. It's sort of rough."

If the city council approves the increase, the vote could leave Lubbock citizens with about a 42 percent jump in water rates. To put things in perspective, for a single family residence using 10,000 gallons that's about a $15 increase per month.

Brown said she doesn't agree with the jump but realizes she has no choice. "I'm gonna have to still pay it," she said. "I mean, you know, whether I want it or not."   

The new rate will affect anyone using Lubbock water beginning April 1st. Cortez said he wishes the increase could have been planned years ago to prevent his pockets from suddenly shrinking. "Maybe a steady increase would be a little easier economically on everybody," he said.

NewsChannel 11 will be at the meeting Thursday to bring you all the new details.

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