New water rate proposal on the table - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/8/09

New water rate proposal on the table

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Lubbock City Council has called special meeting that will be held Monday at noon to talk about water once again. Last week the Lubbock City Council tabled the vote on a proposed rate increase because they said it was too great a burden on low volume users. The new proposal is expected to save low volume users a little money, but Councilman John Leonard is still not happy with it. "I'm not pleased. I think we could have arrived in a better position," he said. 

Leonard spent much of his weekend working on a new water rate proposal. He was shocked a few weeks ago when city staff presented a plan that raised the average citizen's base rate from about $8 to more than $22. "There were many of us on the council that felt like that really effected the fixed income, low income, elderly folks because before they used a drop of water they were gonna pay an extra $18."

Lubbock residents agree. "Don't put the base so high for those that have problems watering or just water at all. Just make it where the usage, it's more cost on usage than on the base," said Jerry Rose.

City Council worked out a new proposal that puts less of an increase on the base rate, but your base rate will still more than double. Even if you conserve by watering your lawn less, you'll feel the effects. The latest proposal increases the base rate from about $8 to $18. That saves the average Lubbock homeowner a little more than $4 a month on the base rate compared to the original proposal.  "That's still a tremendous rate increase," said Leonard. 

Low volume users in tier 1 will also see a 10% increase on their usage rate. High volume users in tiers 2 and 3 will see about a 41% usage rate increase.

Leonard says city staff is to blame for the mistake that led to the huge increase. "I'm tired of our staff being caught asleep at the wheel," he said. It's a mistake all Lubbock residents will feel in their bill come April 1st.

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