City Council votes to lower wastewater rates on first reading
The Round Rock City Council unanimously voted Jan. 13 to move forward with a plan to lower wastewater rates and maintain current water rates for residential customers over the next three years.
Wastewater volume rates, which are charged for usage above the base rate, will decrease by 8.8%. For residential customers using 10,000 gallons of water and 8,000 gallons of wastewater per month, the change will create $2.40 in savings per month.
The City conducts periodic reviews of the rates charged to customers to ensure the City is recovering costs needed to fund capital improvement programs, increasing system demands and operating pressures. The City aims to limit the use of long-term debt and utilizes impact fees to ensure that growth helps pay for growth.
The plan also includes adjustments to water and wastewater rates for wholesale customers, which are primarily local Municipal Utility Districts. These customers will have their water rates adjusted based on cost-of-service demands, ranging from a reduction of 3.8% to an increase of 7.6%, and wastewater volume rates will be reduced by 8.8%.
The City took the following steps to realize cost decreases since the last study:
- Refinanced existing debt at a lower interest rate using City’s AAA bond rating
- Executed a lower fixed-rate electric contract
- Implemented operational changes to save electric power and chemical usage costs
- Cross-trained Utility employees to minimize need for additional personnel
- Realized cost savings by taking over operations of Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, along with $10 million decrease in project cost share for previously anticipated expansion and improvements at the plant
At the same time, the City expects to make importance investments in its utilities in the upcoming year, including $73.1 million in the Phase 2 Deep Water Intake and Transmission Tunnel for the Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority Regional Water System and $4.5 million in the City’s next Water Treatment Plant expansion project, which will add an additional 10 million gallons per day of capacity to the plant. The City has also continued to replace aging water lines throughout its system.
“We’re always making sure we’re putting infrastructure in the ground so we’re ahead of the game,” said Utilities and Environmental Services Director Thane.
The rate ordinance amendment will require a second reading and vote, scheduled for the Jan. 27 City Council meeting. If approved on final reading, the rate changes will go into effect starting Feb. 1, 2022.
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Source: City of Round Rock