Fulshear City Council OKs new rates for irrigation meters

Fulshear City Council discusses water rates. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)
Fulshear City Council discusses water rates. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)

Fulshear City Council discusses water rates. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)

Fulshear City Council voted to amend an ordinance after hearing several resident concerns about the water rates in the city at its Jan. 21 meeting.

The amendment will have irrigation meter users billed $0 if consumption is shown to be less than 1,000 gallons by the meter readings.

"City Council approved new water rates based on false information," resident Jocelyn Ryan said at the Jan. 21 meeting. "City Council should revisit the voted-upon ordinance to ensure they were actually lowering residents high water rates, as intended."

Before this amendment, council passed new water rates in October to allow Fulshear to decrease the base rate on both the water and the wastewater by $7.50 each, decreasing rates from $13 to $5.50 for a usage of 0-5,000 gallons, according to city documents. The residential irrigation water rates were set at $0 for zero consumption and $6 for a usage of 1-1,000 gallons, charging an additional $1.75 for each additional thousand gallons, but the new ordinance changed the irrigation meter base rate to $5.50, according to city documents.

Water meters exclusively meter water used for outdoor watering and irrigation, which refers to the supply of water to land or crops to help growth usually through channels.


Residents typically install irrigation meters to save money, Fulshear City Manager Jack Harper said. Irrigation meters are not connected to the sewer, allowing residents to irrigate without skyrocketing their sewer fees.

"I put in my irrigation meter to conserve water," Fulshear resident CJ McDaniel said at the Jan. 21 council meeting. "I put it in to save money ... but if you're going to charge me $5.50 for water I'm not using, I'm going to pump 5,000 gallons out on the ground because I'm paying for it. ... I encourage you to look at this as a consumption-based program, and charge for what people use."

A total of three residents spoke during citizens' comments to address their concerns over the water rates in the city.

Resident Jeniffer Hickman said she had an irrigation meter installed for $605, expecting to save money, but she said she has yet to make up for what she paid for the installment.

"This $5.50 that the city or whoever wants to charge for the zero usage is just more added on to [the cost to install the irrigation meter] if we are not using it,” Hickman said. “It's $5.50 for the irrigation meter and then $5.50 for residential, where we're already paying a base rate. So we are really paying an $11 base rate for water whereas all the other households [without irrigation meters] are paying $5.50."

Mayor Aaron Groff addressed citizen comments before beginning the discussion eventually leading to the amendment.

"We're elected officials to represent the people, and we are also elected officials charged with doing what is best for the city," Groff said. "The majority of the time, I believe those things line up exactly, but unfortunately in this case, they may be juxtaposed."
By Nola Valente
A native Texan, Nola serves as reporter for the Katy edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She studied print journalism at the University of Houston and French at the University of Paris-Sorbonne in France. Nola was previously a foreign correspondent in Jerusalem, Israel covering Middle East news through an internship with an American news outlet.


MOST RECENT

Hope Impacts has expanded its services to the Richmond and Rosenberg areas and is operating from an open space in their parking lot in order to follow CDC guidelines. (Courtesy Hope Impacts)
Katy-area homeless population still suffering effects of COVID-19, recession

Serving the Katy-area homeless population has become more difficult in the time of the coronavirus, according to Tina Hatcher, founder and executive director of Hope Impacts, a local NGO serving the homeless population in the area.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

The Houston Food Bank is looking for more volunteers as it handles increased food distribution during COVID-19. (Courtesy Houston Food Bank)
Houston Food Bank: COVID-19 pandemic amplifies already-high food insecurity rates across region

Before COVID-19, the Houston Food Bank distributed about 400,000 pounds of food daily. That number has since increased to about 1 million pounds a day.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sept. 17 that data from Texas' 22 hospital regions will dictate when certain businesses can reopen at 75% capacity. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, gyms can reopen at 75% capacity as early as Sept. 21

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will also be allowed to reopen for visitation as early as Sept. 24.

Vehicles drive alongside the Tomball Tollway in Harris County. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Newly formed corporation could divert Harris County toll road revenue to non-mobility projects

A new limited government corporation formed by Harris County Sept. 15 could result in surplus revenue from the Harris County Toll Road Authority going to other county needs outside of the realm of transportation and mobility.

(Courtesy Curry Masala)
Curry Masala opens in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from Greater Houston.

One in five children and adults have a learning disability, according to statistics from the National Center for Learning Disabilities. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: National Center for Learning Disabilities expert discusses challenges of special education, remote learning during pandemic

The NCLD's director of policy and advocacy spoke about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on special education students and their development in and out of the classroom.

2020 Nutcracker Market
Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market 2020 moves fall event fully online

Last year's event drew over 100,000 shoppers.

Harris County has been at the highest possible COVID-19 threat level since late June, but the data related to the number of new cases per day, hospitalizations and testing positivity mean the threat level could be downgraded in the near future, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Sept. 15. (Community Impact staff)
Hidalgo: Harris County trending toward COVID-19 threat level downgrade

Harris County has been at the highest possible COVID-19 threat level since late June, but the data related to the number of new cases per day, hospitalizations and testing positivity mean the threat level could be downgraded in the near future, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Sept. 15.

Jim Cossette plans to open a 1000 Degrees Pizza, Salad, Wings location in mid-November in the Katy area. (Courtesy 1000 Degrees Pizza Salad Wings)
1000 Degrees Pizza, Salad, Wings coming to Greenhouse Road in the Katy area in November

Jim Cossette plans to open a 1000 Degrees Pizza, Salad, Wings location in mid-November in the Katy area.

Public officials, law enforcement officers and members of the Sikh community mourn the loss of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal on Oct. 2, 2019. (Courtesy Harris County Sheriff's Office)
Name change proposed for Houston post office to honor fallen Harris County sheriff’s deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal

Nearly one year after Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was fatally shot while conducting a traffic stop in the Cy-Fair area, a resolution to rename a post office after him unanimously passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.