Council member Troxclair seeks to make utility bills more affordable with new resolution

District 8 Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair will not seek a second term.

District 8 Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair will not seek a second term.

Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair, whose district represents a portion of Southwest Austin, is bringing a resolution to the city council this week that will establish affordability standards for Austin’s water and garbage bills.

The city of Austin owns three municipal utilities—Austin Energy, Austin Water and Austin Resource Recovery—and according to the 2017-2018 fiscal year taxpayer impact statement, the annual services of the three combined cost the average Austin resident about $2,475.

“With residents facing [the] rapidly rising cost of living in our city, affordability must be a part of every conversation at city hall,” Troxclair stated in a Jan. 31 press release. “By establishing affordability standards, council will have more complete data when making decisions and customers will have more transparency about their bills, as well as more certainty about what to expect in the future."

The resolution directs city staff to conduct a study of other public and private water and solid waste utilities in Texas, the release stated. Through those study findings, city staff can form recommendations for affordability standards for Austin Water and Austin Resource Recovery.

According to the press release, in 2010, the city of Austin evaluated residential, commercial and industrial electric bills across the state, and was able to use that data to create affordability goals for Austin Energy. The benchmarking processes allowed Austin Energy to set a goal of keeping rates in the lowest 50 percentile of Texas utilities and limit annual rate increases to no more than 2 percent per any customer class per year.

If the resolution is passed on Thursday, recommendations for affordability standards will be brought to council for approval no later than Aug. 10.


MOST RECENT

Photoo of Travis County sign
Austin City Council, Travis County Commissioners Court will hold rare joint session to address 'dire' COVID-19 status

County Judge Andy Brown called the meeting "an opportunity to coordinate responses."

Voters line up during the Dec. 15 runoff election. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legality of ranked-choice voting prompts disagreement between supporters, Austin city attorneys

If a Jan. 11 petition is validated, Austin voters could decide whether to support the implementation a ranked-choice voting system. But is it unconstitutional?

A group of Austin-area school districts is advocating for early distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for school staff members. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin-area school districts advocate for teachers to receive COVID-19 vaccines

Educators in the designated population for early distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in 32 states. Texas was not one of them, according to a Jan. 14 letter signed by 17 Central Texas school districts.

H-E-B is preparing to accept coronavirus vaccine appointments through an online portal. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
H-E-B launches vaccine portal; Whipped Bakery opens in Leander and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Austin Pizza Garden's menu features specialty pies, salads, sandwiches and starters. (Community Impact staff)
Iconic South Austin pizza restaurant to close after 27 years

Austin Pizza Garden will close Jan. 17 after 27 years in the community.

The company plans to invest $2.5 million into renovations for the project. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Tesla planning new South Austin showroom at The Yard

The company plans to invest $2.5 million into renovations for the project.

Dr. Anthony Fauci gave remarks while accepting the Ken Shine Prize in Health Leadership from Dell Medical School. (Screenshot via The University of Texas)
Dr. Anthony Fauci praises UT researcher’s role in vaccine development

Dr. Anthony Fauci's remarks came while accepting the Ken Shine Prize in Health Leadership from Dell Medical School.

Photo of Judge Andy Brown at a press conference
Travis County health leaders say Regional COVID-19 Therapeutic Infusion Center will help unburden hospitals

In its first week, the center offered 120 coronavirus patients an antiviral antibody treatment.

PHoto of a vaccine being administered
Austin Public Health discusses vaccination priorities, registration protocol as regional hub

Local health leaders discouraged people from walking up to vaccine sites without an appointment.