Water rates will more than double come April - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/9/09

Water rates will more than double come April

Lubbock, TX (KCBD) - Starting April 1st, the average Lubbock resident's water base rate will increase from $8 to $18. This may come as good news, considering the council reduced the original increase.

"We have to have the water, we have to be able to pay for it and we've got to go forward and do it right," said Lubbock Mayor Tom Martin.

At Monday's special city council meeting in a 6-1 vote, with Linda DeLeon voting against, the water rate increase is a go. "Those on the fixed income are going to save $4.60 on this plan from what it would have been Thursday had it been approved so we were able to shave off a little there," said Lubbock City Councilman John Leonard.

It's a little off of the original proposal, but still a big jump from your current base rate. Your meter rate decides your increase. Those with a three-quarter inch meter have a current base rate of $8.89 but that will jump to $18.00 and so forth.

"The truth of the matter is that people who have an average size house and don't over water their yards should be in fairly decent shape. The rates are higher, but it's certainly not back breaking," said Martin. 

In addition to the base charge, there will also be an increase on usage rates. Low volume users in Block 1 will see a 10% increase and high volume users in Blocks 2 and 3 will see a 41% increase.

Despite an almost unanimous vote agreement, that doesn't necessarily mean the council is pleased with the decision. "Frankly we are in the middle of a budget cycle for most businesses; they didn't budget for this increase. And it's also a shock for our residential customers so we wanted to minimize that impact. We were not able to get there this is a compromise agreement. I'm not happy with it, I'm still angered that we were put in this position but we made lemonade out of lemons in this case," said Leonard. 

But all council members agree this can't happen again. "I have been really genuinely concerned over this issue it has made my hair turn gray and it's made Councilman Floyd's fall out. But I'm delighted that it appears that we are on the verge of some kind of consensus here to provide water for the people at the lowest possible price that we could possibly do it," said Lubbock City Councilman Paul Beane.

"On the dais today (Monday) and behind closed doors we have put in some measures that something like this won't happen again," said Leonard.

Councilman Todd Klein came up with a water rate affordability program to help those who can't afford this increase. To qualify you must make $22,000 a year or less and at least one household resident must be 65 years or older, mentally or physically disabled, or you must have at least one child under the age of 18.

For more information, Lubbock residents can call 311.

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