Rate hikes come to Pflugerville's water system

The five-year growth of Pflugerville’s water and wastewater systems could lead to a rate increase for residents and businesses in fiscal year 2018. The proposed increase would take place on Oct. 1.


The City Council will vote on the issue in September, which would mean a 6.6 percent jump to the average total residential bill, with no increase at this time for water use but a 17.5 percent increase in wastewater use.


Without a rate increase, the city would fail to recover on the debt of large capital improvement projects planned to accommodate the city’s growth.


In the coming years, $21 million in capital projects for water and $69 million in capital projects for wastewater are planned. Projections, studied and presented by David Yanke of NewGen Strategies, a management consulting firm, are based on a modest 4 percent growth of residential customers and look back on 3-5 years of usage to “normalize” the figures.


Additional customers to the system will help slow future increases, Yanke said.


The average residential customer uses 7,000 gallons of water per month with 5,000 gallons of wastewater used per month. The cost for that usage stays constant at $42.90 until 2020 and then increases to an average of $44 per customer through the five-year plan.


Wastewater averages will hike from a current average of $25.75 per month to $30.25 and up to $39.50 for the last two years of the projection.


Currently, total bills average $68.65 for combined water and wastewater use. Proposed increases by Yanke were 6.6 percent in 2018 to an average of $73.15 to an average high of $83.50 for the last two years of the five-year plan.


The average levels out to just under a 4 percent increase per year over the five years, Yanke said.


The average commercial customer’s average bill is $296.05 for water and sewer, while the increase will put that average cost at $329.45 for the last two years of the plan.


The expansion of the city’s water system will nearly double the capacity it has now.


“To get all of that served, there will be more interceptors and lift stations to build that can be spread out over time during growth,” Assistant City Manager Tom Word said.

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By Joe Warner

Joe Warner is managing editor of the nine Austin-Central Texas editions of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.


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