New Braunfels officials hold first public hearing on proposal to raise utility rates

New Braunfels Utilities and New Braunfels City Council underwent the first reading of an ordinance to raise utility rates during the Oct. 12 council meeting. (Screen shot courtesy city of New Braunfels)
New Braunfels Utilities and New Braunfels City Council underwent the first reading of an ordinance to raise utility rates during the Oct. 12 council meeting. (Screen shot courtesy city of New Braunfels)

New Braunfels Utilities and New Braunfels City Council underwent the first reading of an ordinance to raise utility rates during the Oct. 12 council meeting. (Screen shot courtesy city of New Braunfels)

New Braunfels Utilities and City Council have undertaken the first steps toward approval of a proposed utility rate hike designed, among other goals, to mitigate the cost of dozens of area projects.

Council's initial approval comes as a result of NBU's proposal of a three-year rate increase to defray the cost of 122 capital improvement projects underway or in design.

NBU CEO Ian Taylor and Chief Financial Officer Dawn Schriewer appeared before City Council on Oct. 12 to present the rate increase plan, which would go into effect Nov. 1 if it is approved after a second reading Oct. 26.

The plan proposes increasing water rates, wastewater rates and electricity rates each year through fiscal year 2022-23.

Water rates would increase by 7% in FY 2020-21, by 8% in FY 2021-22 and by 8% in FY 2022-23, according to information from NBU, and wastewater rates would increase by 16.5% in FY 2020-21, by 13% in FY 2021-22 and by 13% in FY 2022-23.


Electricity rates for delivery and customer charges would increase by 5% in FY 2021-22 and by 10% in FY 2022-23. Customers can expect overall 1.3% and 2.6% increases in their electric bills for FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23, respectively.

In early October, Taylor said the rate increases would help NBU comply with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requirements and construct pipelines and other infrastructure to continue providing safe and reliable water to the community.

Information from NBU states over the next five years, the utility company plans to invest $587 million into over 70 capital improvement projects, including expanding wastewater treatment plants, installing new water storage tanks and repairing aging electric infrastructure.

In addition to increased rates, the water supply fee charged by 1,000 gallons of usage will increase by $1.05 in FY 2020-21, by $2.49 in FY 2021-22 and by $2.79 in FY 2022-23. In an effort to mitigate costs for customers, those who use 7,500 gallons or less of water each month will not have to pay a water supply fee, Taylor said.

The next reading of the ordinance revision will be Oct. 26, and if approved, the effective date of the FY 2020-21 rates would be Nov. 1.

Information from NBU states in March 2021 the company will deploy a communication plan with targeted customer interaction for utility bill management tools.

The effective rates for FY 2021-22 will kick in Aug. 1, 2021, and for FY 2022-23 that date will be Aug. 1, 2022, according to NBU.

Lauren Canterberry contributed to this report.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


MOST RECENT

The establishment bills itself as family-friendly and has several items available for brunch, including the Maple Bacon Donut Mountain. (Courtesy Voodoo Wine and Coffee Bar)
Voodoo Wine and Coffee Bar now open in New Braunfels area

The establishment bills itself as family-friendly and has several items available for brunch, including the Maple Bacon Donut Mountain.

Harini Logan, 10, won the 66th annual Express-News Spelling Bee at the University of Texas at San Antonio downtown campus on March 17, 2019. For 2021, the event is slated to be held in March at the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre in New Braunfels. (Photo by Jerry Lara, courtesy the San Antonio Express News)
New Braunfels to host regional spelling bee and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

Harini Logan, 10, won the 66th annual Express-News Spelling Bee at the University of Texas at San Antonio downtown campus on March 17, 2019. For 2021, the event is slated to be held in March at the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre in New Braunfels. (Photo by Jerry Lara, courtesy the San Antonio Express News)
Still in need of sponsors, New Braunfels venue to host prestigious regional spelling bee in March

The Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre in New Braunfels will host the regional spelling bee March 27. The event will see participation from students in Comal and 17 adjacent counties, according to a press release from the Brauntex Theatre.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

The Jaws Skate Park could soon allow BMX riders to utilize the facilities. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
BMX riders could receive access to Jaws Skate Park in New Braunfels

During the Nov. 23 New Braunfels City Council meeting, city officials approved the first reading of an ordinance to amend skate park rules at the Jaws Skate Park.

In observance of Thanksgiving on Nov. 26, some city of New Braunfels facilities will close or have adjusted hours. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
New Braunfels announces Thanksgiving holiday closures

In observance of Thanksgiving on Nov. 26, some city of New Braunfels facilities will close or have adjusted hours.

Between Nov. 16-23, Comal County reported 265 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and one new death.. (Community Impact staff)
Comal County adds 265 new coronavirus cases since Nov. 16, 401 active

Between Nov. 16-23, Comal County reported 265 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and one new death.

P. Terry’s Burger Stand is expected to open its long-awaited Pflugerville location this January. (Courtesy P. Terry's Burger Stand)
P. Terry's to open in Pflugerville in January and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Stave Beer and Wine House, located at 540 S. Castell Ave., New Braunfels, celebrated its first anniversary Nov. 14. (Courtesy Stave Beer and Wine House)
Surviving the pandemic: Here are five New Braunfels businesses that recently celebrated their first anniversary

Here are five New Braunfels businesses that have recently celebrated one year in business, either outright or at a new location.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Festival attendees will have access to augmented reality artworks throughout the galleria. (Courtesy Bee Cave Arts Foundation)
Inaugural interactive light festival coming soon to Bee Cave and more Central Texas updates

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Schools now have the power to temporarily suspend on-campus instruction if “a significant number of the instructional staff at the campus is impacted due to a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Education Agency authorizes schools to close doors for 14 days due to coronavirus-related staffing concerns

Campuses can now instate a hybrid or fully remote instruction model for up to 14 days if adequate instructional staffing is not possible due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases among employees.