Roanoke residents will pay 30% more for water and wastewater rates next month as City Council approved a rate hike at the Feb. 13 meeting.

The first year of the rate adjustments will go into effect in the next billing cycle in March, said Kyle Lester, finance director for the city of Roanoke, in an email.

The details

Residents will see their average monthly rates go up over $22, from $74.84 to $97.32, based on a benchmark of 5,000 gallons of water use and 5,000 gallons of wastewater use. For water, the average rate would increase from $30.37 to $36.87, and the average wastewater rate would jump from $44.47 to $60.45.

City officials said in a council agenda memo the rate adjustments are necessary for the city to ensure long-term financial stability for its water and wastewater operations, with particular consideration given to projected rate increases from the Trinity River Authority, which contracts with the city for wastewater services. The city purchases water from the city of Fort Worth.

Zooming in

Chris Ekrut, chief financial officer with NewGen Strategies & Solutions and a consultant to the city, presented information to council and said his information showed that specific to sewer, Trinity River Authority represents 64% of the city’s wastewater budget. The wastewater cost increased 72% year over year from $2.13 million in 2023 to $3.67 million in 2024, Ekrut's presentation showed. Further, Ekrut’s presentation states, while reserves can be used to mitigate increases, “aggressive action” is needed.

“We are in a good financial position right now relative to our reserves,” he told council. “We can use some of those reserves to phase into a rate increase. We have to be cognizant of rate shock. We have to practice rate gradualism, but we have to start climbing this hill, and we need to start climbing this hill as soon as we can.”

Lester said in an email that, as of now, city officials plan to draw down the fund balance by just over $950,000 for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. This draw-down in balance comes from the Water and Sewer Utility Enterprise Fund, not the general fund, and will happen gradually from now until Sept. 30, Lester said.