Your water bills are about to go up--a lot.
News Radio 1200 WOAI reports City Council today gave final approval to a two-year rate increase, which will jack up the average San Antonio Water System customer's bills by about 5.8% per month in 2018.
SAWS says the additional revenue is needed to expand its water line network, but the major expense will be a major upgrade of the city's antiquated sewer system, an upgrade that is mandated by the EPA.
"No one likes paying higher rates, and neither do I," said northwest side Councilman Manny Pelaez,, who voted for the higher rates.. "But we all like what the rates will pay for, dependable, clean water."
But that feeling was not universal.
"I don't think SAWS has proven the need to burden rate payers with additional rate increases on their water bills, before reducing their internal costs first," said Councilman Clayton Perry, who voted no.
Perry said he is sick and tired of governmental agencies saying their rate increase will 'only cost taxpayers another $3 to $5 a month.'
"In the last ten years,our neighbors have seen increases in their stormwater fees, solid waste fees, parks environmental fees, CPS rates and their property taxes," Perry said.. "Our neighbors need relief from the constant barrage of governmental rate and fee increases, and we owe it to them to look inward and be better fiscal stewards of their hard-earned dollars."
Perry said he anticipates that this rate hike will set the groundwork for a budget surplus at SAWS.
Perry was joined by Council members John Courage and Greg Brockhouse in voting against the rate increase.