Buda Residents May See Increase in Water Bill

“It’s something that is needed here in the city, but it’s going to cost well over $20 million,” Ellis said.

By: Undria Wilson

Buda residents may start receiving a higher water bill this fall to help offset future debt issues that could arise as the costs increase on projects related to the Alliance Regional Water Authority—formerly known as the Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency—and aquifer storage and recovery.

Findings in the water and wastewater rates from the council meeting show that increased levels of debts service are contributing to added water rate pressure in the future.

Buda Finance Director, June Ellis, and Project Manager at HDR Engineering, Grady Reed, proposed that there would be an increase of residential and commercial water rates by six percent and wastewater by three percent.

According to Reed, the proposed increase could mean that a residential customer using 5,000 gallons per month could see their water and wastewater bill increase $3.05 per month, and for customers using 10,000 gallons per a month, the increase could be $6.10 per a month.

For a commercial customer who uses 5,000 gallons of water and wastewater the total monthly increase would be $4.66 and $7.40 for those who use 10,000 gallons per a month.

Ellis said that the wastewater treatment plant expansion project, projected to start this year, is one of the reasons for the price increase.

“It’s something that is needed here in the city, but it’s going to cost well over $20 million,” Ellis said. “It’s going to be a benefit to city residents, but obviously we have to pay for it, and this [increased water and wastewater rate. structure] is one way of paying for it.”

In long term projections, the increased rates could assist the city with their debts, but Reed advised that the city revenue may not cover the full cost of expenses even with the increase.

“We are trying to do that in such a way that we don’t cause a large rate increase even in five years, but at the same time trying to minimize to the current citizens now,” Reed said.

Reed said the fund balances would be used to cover the deficit, which would eventually bring the fund balance down and control the amount of time it takes for the city to reach a desired financial stability.

For future projections, the city can use a portion of the existing water and wastewater fund balance to help offset future rate increases or to fund capital projects.

City Council will vote on the adoption of new rates in September. If approved by City Council, the new rates will be sent to Buda residents on October 1.


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