The Mayors of Plano, Garland, Mesquite and Richardson want water rates that reward and not punish water conservation.
The mayors met for a news conference to let everyone know their cities are asking the Public Utility Commission to conduct a review of their water rates with the North Texas Municipal Water District.
Ask anyone who pays the water bill – The current water rates go up when water use goes down. Remember when the cities asked you to restrict your water use and posted Water Restriction signs all over town in the medians and put notices in the envelope with your water bills. You cut back on watering. Your yard turned brown. And your water bill increased.
Is that fair? The Mayors say, “No.”
Thanks for sharing this on your social media. Ask your friends and family if they are paying too much for water and paying for water they don’t use.
Tom Kula, NTMWD Executive Director Response to News Conference by Four Member Cities on Water Supply Contract and Wholesale Water Rates
Kula stated: “We are disappointed these four Cities announced this action. For the past year, the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) has been holding meetings with its 13 Member Cities to discuss potential alternatives for allocating the regional water system costs. The District’s Board of Directors is made up of appointees from all 13 Cities. We recognize the concerns of the four cities (Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson), but the District must also consider the positions of the other nine (Allen, Farmersville, Forney, Frisco, McKinney, Princeton, Rockwall, Royse City, and Wylie).
“While the 13 Cities have not yet reached agreement on a change, the District hasn’t given up seeking a potential solution. We believe the matter would be best resolved by the District working with the 13 Member Cities,” Kula said.
“We serve some of the fastest-growing communities in the nation and remain focused on our mission of providing the highest quality water in the most cost effective manner,” Kula said. “While water service costs have increased across the U.S., the District’s wholesale cost for treated water delivered to the Cities we serve is one of the lowest in the state at only a quarter of a penny per gallon.”
Why did the water rate rise? Let’s look at the information provided by the water district on its website – See for yourself at https://www.ntmwd.com/water-rates/https://www.ntmwd.com/water-rates/
Rate Increase to Fund Critical Projects
The NTMWD Board approved a wholesale water rate increase of 24 cents (per 1,000 gallons) beginning in Oct. 2016 (FY17) to fund critical projects that will meet future needs. This includes expanding and improving water treatment plants and constructing two new water projects: Trinity River Main Stem Pump Station and the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir. The FY17 Member City wholesale rate is $2.53 (per 1,000 gallons) and Customers pay a wholesale rate of $2.58 (per 1,000 gallons). This is still about a quarter of a penny per gallon of treated water.
New projects require upfront investment – sometimes years before customers experience the benefit. By funding projects with bonds, we can spread those costs over time so that future users share in the costs. Financing this way requires rate adjustments to maintain our financial stability and high credit ratings. This results in lower interest rates for financing construction and maintenance projects, ultimately saving customers money in lower borrowing costs.
As it has worked since the 1950s, the cities and communities we serve share equitably in infrastructure investments that support our region’s ongoing population growth, which is expected to double within the next 50 years.
How Our Costs Compare
Even with planned rate increases, our wholesale water rates are lower or comparable to similar water suppliers in North Texas. Nationally, our costs are lower than average for combined water services.
Customers frequently ask why rates need to go up if they are conserving water. Water rates are not only set by the amount of water used, but for the costs associated with operating, maintaining and expanding our system, as well as to repay debt for existing pipelines and facilities.
Fixed Costs = operations, system maintenance, system expansion, debt service
Variable Costs = chemicals, power, water purchased