Fulshear looks to adopt new base utility rate, could save residents money

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At its Sept. 16 meeting, Fulshear City Council passed a motion to delay action on adopting a new utility rate structure for FY 2019-20.

City staff will prepare an ordinance with an effective date for the proposed utility rate and public information documents and will use town hall meetings as information sessions before adopting a new utility rate.

In 2016, the city hired McManus & Johnson Consulting Engineers, Inc. to conduct a utility rate study to analyze specific variables associated with Fulshear’s utility system and, ultimately, to establish a rate structure consistent with Fulshear’s desired rate philosophy and provide enough revenue for its operational needs.

There are 3,682 residential water meters sized at 5/8- and 3/4 -inch—the typical sizes—as well as 130 commercial and 296 irrigation water meters, for a total of 4,108 meters in Fulshear, according to meeting documents.

The 5/8- and 3/4-inch meters account for 88% of the meter inventory and over 75% of total water usage.

The existing base rate is $13 per gallon for residential properties, $15 for commercial and $6 for irrigation, Len McManus, principal at McManus & Johnson Consulting Engineers said in a presentation. The proposed base rate would be set at $5.50 across the board for residential, commercial and irrigation land.

The average residential property with a 3/4-inch meter uses an average of 9,250 gallons each month, which comes out to approximately $78.76 per bill cycle, according to McManus. Under the proposed tax rate, that same amount of water usage would average at $66.01.

“We don’t necessarily have to recreate the wheel next year,” Assistant City Manager Brant Gary said. “All we have to do is update our assumptions and look at the budget and go from there so we don’t have to start over.”

The council will schedule the adoption of the new rate schedule and plan a process to inform residents of changes.

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