NEWS

City Council committee proposes water/sewer rate increase

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Aledo City Council's Water, Sewer and Storm Sewer Committee on Wednesday (Aug. 5) recommended increasing rates, on average, by 10.68 percent. City Administrator Robert Mahrt said the average customer's bill will increase from $69 to $77 monthly.

The City Council will consider the recommendation on first reading on Monday. It will come before the council for second reading and a vote Sept. 8.

"We really want to be transparent," Mahrt said, adding there will be ample time for citizen comment.

In a memo to the committee from Mahrt, he pointed out a reserve balance of about $300,000 "should be considered by the City Council as a safeguard for unforeseen expenses."

Projects are expected to leave the unrestricted reserve balance through fiscal year 2016 barely more than half of that, $185,000.

The memo went on to say the City Council over the past several years has taken a "proactive" approach to continued investment and maintenance of the water and sewer systems.

The most recent water and sewer rate adjustment was in 2011, which decreased the minimum water fee by 7.5 percent, the basic water user rate by 44 percent and the sewer basic user rate by 36 percent. That adjustment did increase the minimum sewer fee by 150 percent.

Mahrt said an important reason for the transparency is because of a rate adjustment in 2010. That move increased the minimum water fee by 211 percent, the basic user rate, 88 percent, the minimum sewer fee by 22 percent and the sewer basic user rate by 253 percent.

"And the town went crazy," Mahrt said. "The (rate adjustment in 2010) was very controversial."