Average Houstonian's water bill may increase by nearly $6

April 6, 2010 3:54:10 PM PDT
Jacqueline Beckham already keeps a tight budget on just about everything. But it's a budget she's prepared to stretch if the city's proposed water rate hike becomes a reality. "I don't like it. Who does?" said Beckham."But then you got to have water, and you gotta pay for it. What can I do?"

City officials say it's simply costing more to run the city's massive water and sewer system. And over the past few years, homeowners are actually using less water, putting less money in the city's coffers.

"We have a significant financial gap that we have to close in the water system," said Houston Public Works Director Mike Marcotte.

The average homeowner uses 6,000 gallon of water a month and pays around $47. If the proposed increase passes, that bill would jump by almost $6 a month, or a 12.5 percent increase.

Council members today raised concerns over the proposed increases, but most agreed that some increase was necessary.

"We got to do something because our system is really, really old," Councilwoman Jolanda Jones said. "We do need to make sure we provide water that's not gonna kill people when they drink it."

It will be up to council members to determine what the final rate increase will be, but it seems certain that Beckham's bill is going up.

"Everything is going up, up, up, up, up, and I don't like it at all" she said. "But then, what do you do? You got to have water."

The entire city council is expected to vote on this proposal in about two weeks.

In the meantime, they're working on some concerns about the rate for multi-family residents, or residents who live at an apartment complex. Their rates might jump as high as 47 percent, but that would be billed to apartment complex.

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