After seven straight years of static or decreased utility rates, The Colony residents and businesses experienced a 3-percent increase in October 2013.
It was the first of five annual increases of the same percentage scheduled between 2013 and 2017 in order for the city to meet the increased demands for service amid an aging infrastructure. The next increase will take effect Oct. 1, 2017.
With a wastewater treatment plant nearing legally accepted capacity alongside aging water towers and transmission lines, the current cost estimates of needed improvements to the water and wastewater system is more than $55 million.
The bulk of the funding (about $37 million) is needed for expanding the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant to 6.1 million gallons per day by 2019. Many of the water system’s lift and pump stations, water towers, and well sites also require repairs and/or expansion.
The city has always striven to deliver the best water and wastewater service to its residents and businesses while at the same time doing its best to manage the costs of providing those services. However, the city has reached a pivotal point in its growth and development, and it can no longer delay rate increases vital to fund the repairs and upgrades needed for the water and wastewater systems.
Understanding the impact a rate increase can have on a home or business budget, the rate increases have been phased-in beginning with the first increase in 2013, and each subsequent year for five years. This equates to an increase of approximately $2.30 per month to a customer’s bill each year.
The City Council and city staff will continue monitoring utility rates and revenues going forward in the hopes an opportunity arises to lower the rates back down.