Houston city council approves water rate increase

April 21, 2010 3:57:12 PM PDT
The Houston City Council Wednesday did as expected and voted to raise water rates. The decision was made Wednesday afternoon in a 12-3 vote. They gave Houston homeowners a bit of a break, but apartment residents and businesses were not as lucky.

Council voted to raise water and sewer rates for single family homes by up to 30 percent beginning next fiscal year, which starts on June 1. Water rates for apartments will go up nearly 24 percent and businesses will see a nearly nine percent hike.

However, single families will have gradual increases over three years until they are paying the full 100 percent cost of use, whereas apartments and business have to start paying that full cost right away.

"It shouldn't matter that you live in an apartment, a home or you run a business, you should pay for the use. We didn't do that. We staggered in, we tiered in one particular group. I think that's wrong as well," said Council Member C.O. Bradford.

Council member Ed Gonzalez said not raising the rates would have put the city at risk of having its debt downgraded.

Mayor Annise Parker has said the rate hike is needed to cover the increased costs of processing water and maintaining infrastructure.


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