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Rate increases proposed for water and sewer

By Brian Cuaron
June 22, 2011 at 1:22 a.m.
Updated June 23, 2011 at 1:23 a.m.

building inspector requestedJohn Kaminski, director of development services, may get his wish early.

He had requested the city reinstate a $44,000 building inspector position that hasn't been filled since November 2009.

However, City Manager Charmelle Garrett asked the city council to consider adding the position during the current fiscal year. She said that she would bring a budget amendment to the July 5th council meeting.

Garrett explained that the city can then recruit for the position in July and have someone hired by August.

The next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

A city official is proposing monthly rate increases for water and sewer services.

Lynn Short, director of publics works, told the Victoria City Council on Wednesday that the rate increases would help pay for the construction of a wastewater treatment facility.

He proposed a 47-cent monthly increase for water services and a 58-cent monthly increase for sewer services. The proposed increases were based on residents with a -inch water meter and amounted to $1.05 total.

Residents with a -inch water meter currently pay a monthly base charge of $17.49 for water. They pay $21.85 per month for sewer services.

Residents are allowed up to 2,000 gallons of water per month with their monthly base fee. They pay extra once they go over that amount.

The rate hike would pay for the bond the city would take out for the facility's construction, Short said. So it would continue even after the construction was completed.

He added that the wastewater treatment facility must be operating by 2015 for the city to meet EPA guidelines.

Councilman Paul Polasek said that with ongoing development and growth, the city may have to get the facility up and running even earlier.

"One thing I'd like the public to understand, building a new sewer plant is not optional," Councilman Tom Halepaska said.

The rate increases are partially why the department's revenue from its water and wastewater services would rise $813,228 from the current fiscal year.

The public works department's proposed budget for its general fund is $8.19 million, $876,179 less than last year's budget.

The general fund includes the department's streets, traffic control and engineering divisions.

The department's budget for its water and wastewater services was $24.48 million. That was $67,597 more than last year's budget.

The department was slated to take in $23.57 million in water and wastewater services.



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