The Rollingwood Utility Commission met virtually March 3 to discuss a possible relief program for residents—many of whom either experienced burst pipes or dripped faucets to avoid that very incident.
“I think we were all kind of struggling with what to do because for many of us it was the first time cold weather would cause such a thing,” Chair Johnathan Miller said.
More than half of Rollingwood residents used more water in February than they did the previous month, according to a report from Ashley Wayman, the city’s secretary.
The average bill for the city’s 540 residential customers reflected a usage increased of roughly 9,700 gallons of water, Wayman said. The same report indicated that 23% more water was used in February compared to January.
Traditionally, the city offers bill adjustments for residents who experience a pipe leak that led to high water usage. However, due to a potential increase of this occurrence in February, providing individual bill adjustments for each resident could present an administrative challenge for city staff, according to city administrator Amber Lewis.
Instead, the utility commission favored an alternative adjustment program, which would charge customers based on a lower tier of water usage, per the commission’s discussion.
Each residential and commercial customer is charged a monthly base rate along with an additional charge for water usage, which ranges from Tier 1 and up.
The utility commission voted in favor of charging residents no higher than the Tier 2 pricing for water usage, which reflects a rate of $5 per 1,000 gallons of water.
This suggestion will appear in front of City Council for official action, and the utility commission is scheduled to receive a financial report on this program.